Although manufacturing companies invest heavily in technology like big data and robotics, many struggle to implement and scale these resources. Joachim Breidenthal, a partner with Bain's Advanced Manufacturing & Services practice, discusses blind spots that hinder implementation and what companies can do to get it right.
Read the Bain Brief: Industrial Analytics: Maintenance Gains without Adoption Pains
Read the transcript below.
JOACHIM BREIDENTHAL: In this era where technology can solve pretty much anything, why are so many manufacturing facilities still so unreliable? Certainly not for a lack of spending. Companies are spending millions on hardware sensor and robotics, as well as data, analytics, and dashboards. But they're still not seeing the scale benefits. The reality is that these new technology solutions can both be part of the problem as well as the solution. And companies typically face a few blind spots when they try to implement.
The first one is that companies get blinded by the new technologies that vendors are pushing them and don't pay enough attention to the business basics, so they don't get the profound benefit that technology can give them. The second blind spot is that whilst a lot of resources, financial and human, are put on proving a concept, not an equal amount of resources are put on scaling the solution. A pilot doesn't become a transformation.
The ones that have gotten it right do a few things. They identify high-impact business problems, and they understand the root cause of those issues. They pick technology or develop technology that is unique and address the root cause of the business problem. They manage vendor risks while taking care to keep their own data safe whilst also making sure that they can find new solutions when they arrive.
They design and deploy solutions in close collaboration between operators that pose the right questions and data scientists that can use data to answer them. They think about scaling from day one, taking care to resource up to make sure that they understand the fundamental requirements from IT, data and people.
But no company should feel bad if it's not done yet, because this wasn't even possible five years ago. But in 5 to 10 years, this is going to be table stakes. But there's a lot of cause for optimism because despite the teething problems, you don't have to tear up your plan or your systems to make this happen. The best way to get ahead is to get started.