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The IT Pro Podcast: Building a smart factory

How the power of technology can help improve manufacturing efficiency

The IT Pro Podcast: Building a smart factory

Technologies like IoT, AI and big data analytics have been forecast to have enormous impacts across a variety of sectors, and one industry that's particularly ripe for transformation is the manufacturing sector. With a huge amount of operational and IT complexity to manage, factories and supply chains can benefit from digitisation in a number of ways.

The process of transforming a factory through digital technology is a complex one, with many moving parts, but the combination of modern cloud platforms and data-driven methodologies has enormous potential to enhance business efficiency. One organisation pursuing this efficiency is Apollo Tyres, and this week, we’re joined by Apollo’s chief digital officer Hizmy Hassen to discuss the company’s efforts, as well as the early results that it’s seen from the project.

Highlights

“In a manufacturing process, there's a lot of idle time that happens: waiting for components, waiting for an operator to come and press a button or make setting changes. So we're starting to identify that, what we call non-productive time. And we're then coming up with solutions either through automation or through workflow changes, or through labour allocation changes, to minimise that non-productive time.”

“So we've got highly automated machines that are used in the manufacturing process. And quite modern. So most of these machines have got sensors, there's a lot of data that we're collecting through PLCs. So what that has done is enabled us to really start to look at using data to take this manufacturing to the next level. So automation will provide certain levels of efficiency and productivity, we're very confident that data is the next frontier in terms of taking our levels of manufacturing efficiency, output, customer service, and even quality consistency using data.”

“The biggest challenge is more the human angle, the change management, and I'm sure you've heard this before. The technology piece is very straightforward. It's relatively easy. And a lot of these IoT technologies have actually matured quite well now. So we've been able to get our cloud setup, the IoT technologies in place, data streaming within a handful of months.”

Read the full transcript here. 

Footnotes

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