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4 Steps to Consider for Your Industrial Technology and Investment Plan

Innovation is on the rise, and everything seems to be going digital. Most things can be done or ordered with the click of a button. The world has gone digital, including manufacturing. Industrial technology is advancing quickly, and if your factory has not yet begun the transition to Industry 4.0 or smart manufacturing in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, you are falling behind. Fusion for Industry wants to ensure you are equipped for the future of manufacturing with our Industrial Technology Plan.

Industrial Technology Plan

Hitachi understands the underscored importance of smart manufacturing and has since its early roots in 1910. With a true trailblazing spirit that has continually put them far ahead of the curve, Hitachi has had one ultimate goal: to create seamless, connected solutions by linking ordering, supply chain, and shipping into one. Otherwise deemed Connective Industry, this model connects the shop floor and top floor with data and digital technology, bringing everything under one roof. Their Fusion for Industry family of companies is equipped with advanced operations and technology to take your business to the next level of production.

Industry 4.0 Chart

What Your Manufacturing Competitors Are Doing in the Digital Space

Investing in technology and digital solutions is crucial to the success of manufacturing. This has never been clearer than it is now, in such a tumultuous economic era ladened with ongoing supply chain issues, staffing shortages, and increased customer demand.

Companies in various industries are looking to expand their digital footprint in 2022, with executives planning on allocating 5.8% of their revenues to digital compared with 3.5% in a 2020 survey. While at first glance that does not appear to be a significant increase, if you consider a company that generates several billion dollars in revenue, the increased budget could mean millions of dollars.

Manufacturing Technology

The pressure for digitizing manufacturing is on, with many companies outlining plans to adopt digital processes in the near future.

Nearly three-quarters of executives (72% of those surveyed) say they will “radically transform their operations in the next two years to compete effectively in their industry” source: EY

This is partly due to the manufacturing changes and pressures that the pandemic brought to the industry and the resolution that companies must be nimble and willing to shift course based on real-time situations.

So how exactly does a company begin the process of digital transformation when it is both so crucial to the success of the operation and also such an undertaking and an investment to start the process?

Improvement Plan for Your Manufacturing Technology

Successful businesses always have a strategic plan and goals. Every company should also adopt a plan for technology improvements and how they can advance production and profit by using technology. Here are a few steps to take to look into your manufacturing technologies and build your business for the future.

Manufacturing Investment Plan

STEP 1: Automate to Streamline Processes

Factories, warehouses, and distributors should start by looking at all their processes and equipment to determine what can be improved for the next age of manufacturing and supply chain demand.

Once your operation has identified the areas of opportunity that can be improved, you can look into which can be automated. Automation is continually a more innovative, effective, and efficient way to operate. Utilizing automation correctly, coupled with AI and the integration of machine-learning assets, can increase production, minimize manual labor required, and collect valuable decision-making data.

Warehouse Workers
Automated Warehouse
 

Hitachi’s Fusion for Industry family has capitalized on the automation concept to create seamless solutions across industries, especially with none other than JR Automation, a robotic SI and automation company. It is complemented by Hitachi’s newest industry-leading solution provider, Flexware Innovation, a manufacturing Systems Integrator providing smart technologies to companies worldwide. Together, JR Automation and Flexware Innovation help progressive manufacturers integrate their business and production systems to augment their assets through their streamlined automation processes.

STEP 2: Connecting Everything with IIoT and Data

The next task is to integrate a data-driven platform into your processes. Data is the ultimate driver in measuring success and can build resilience to adapt or recover from adverse situations. Additionally, with the spread of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the implementation of many digital technologies, the data we have at our fingertips is rich, comprehensive, and expansive. But the numbers and figures mean nothing if they’re not able to be interpreted, and that is where Hitachi’s Lumada comes into play.

How Data Impacts Digital

Lumada harnesses the wealth of experience and industry know-how that Hitachi has gained over the years and also tracks the proven digital solutions for creating new value through co-creation with customers. These solutions and knowledge banks are collected and stored in Lumada as modelized customer cases, allowing them to be quickly applied in a wide range of fields. Lumada collects this customer information and builds data-driven ecosystems and webs of information that can be rapidly leveraged to provide solutions, allowing customers to have turnkey answers to some of their most challenging questions.

However, with the extensive depth of data in the digital space, the safety and security of protecting the information is of utmost importance. Flexware Innovation has solutions in place to protect the security and integrity of the data. These solutions consist of both proprietary safeguarded IT systems as well as partnerships with third party technology companies.

 

STEP 3: Invest in Technology and Equipment that will Last

Whispers of recession are on the rise, and the last thing businesses want to do is spend money. There is never a “good time” to spend money to improve your company. Still, all companies should set improvement budgets aside to continue to upgrade technologies to the latest advancements. One example of this is finding the right air compressor for your manufacturing needs. Is an oil-free air compressor right for you, or will a traditional air compressor do the job? Investing in the right piece of equipment will reduce error, uphold product integrity, and result in long-term ROI.  

Popular Manufacturing Technology on the Rise

  • Robotic process automation
  • Systems Integrator for smart technologies
  • Data analytics software for simplifying processes
  • State-of-the-art sensors for manufacturing equipment

Many companies are looking to invest in the next level of manufacturing using equipment with state-of-the-art sensors, which has been said to be the future of manufacturing. Sensors can tell us many things about our equipment, especially things that might not be visible or easily trackable. They can provide analytics to your maintenance team about the equipment, such as heat monitoring, vibrations, and when machinery might be experiencing more downtime than usual. Sensors can provide data that give insight into the machine’s health and can also spotlight what is happening within a hard-to-reach piece of equipment.

Manufacturing Sensors

At JR Automation, industry-leading sensors have been woven into their integrated industrial options, such as their laser and assembly automation applications. Investing in sensors now will save you both time and money in the long run.

Not sure if you will see a return on your investment? A recent study showed that 41% of executives are measuring RODI (return on digital investment), and out of the 41%, 7.6% are expecting a return on digital investments. All in all, the common phrase goes: you need to spend money to make money.

STEP 4: Upgrade Timeline

Your business doesn’t have to completely shut down to improve your operations. Upgrading your technologies takes time and money.

  • Determine the order of technological upgrades you need.
  • Rank your improvements based on importance.
  • Budget and schedule when you want to upgrade.
  • Figure the best times during the year with the least productivity to not interrupt operations.
Production Planning

How Will Your Company Stack Up in the Future?

Will your company be around for future generations, or will it get left behind? The necessity to go digital will keep you in the running with your competitors.

The manufacturing landscape is evolving quicker than ever before, and if recent history has proved anything, it’s that you have no idea what is around the corner. Hitachi’s portfolio of industry-leading companies is here to be your partner in innovation, helping you fuse technology with your factory to ensure you remain ahead of the curve and the competition.

Interested in learning more about Hitachi’s expansive portfolio of connective industry companies and how they can help you advance your manufacturing technology? Click “Learn More” to speak with an expert.

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