“Embracing digital transformation is no longer optional; it is imperative,” says Urbano.
“As modern industrialists, it is time to take bold action.
“Why? Because we will not succeed by simply making existing processes and equipment more efficient and sticking to outdated business practices.”
But digital transformation is not just about using digital tools to improve the way we currently work, says Urbano. It involves a fundamental change in the way companies operate, affecting all facets of an organization. A holistic digital transformation positions companies to thrive among the industries of the future.
Leaders in digital transformation have realized impressive results. Research conducted by LNS found that these managers were 72 percent more likely to experience revenue growth of more than 10 percent and 57 percent more likely to reduce their cost of goods sold (COGS) by more than 10 percent.
Information is the new currency
Schneider Electric defines Industry 4.0 as the point of convergence where digital technology, data analytics, automation and the physical world of industrial operations intersect to drive transformation and innovation in manufacturing and other industries.
It represents the fourth industrial revolution, characterized by the integration of digital technologies in various aspects of industrial processes, from supply chain management to production, and even the way products and services are delivered to customers.
In an era of Industry 4.0, data has emerged as the currency of global companies, says Urbano.
With the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), industries are generating massive amounts of data, but this raw data becomes valuable when contextualized and combined with human insight. Information derived from data now fuels business decisions and innovation.
“Data in its raw form is not inherently useful. It is only when data is viewed in both historical and structural contexts that it becomes beneficial information,” says Urbano.
“And when it’s processed into actionable insights and put into the hands of decision makers, it can trigger real insights to improve how industries operate.”
Digital transformation, driven by software applications powered by artificial intelligence (AI), is already making waves in industries such as manufacturing, utilities and logistics, he says.
“Software makes the invisible visible, allowing companies to quickly adapt to dynamic market conditions. With the increasing power of industrial software, companies can adapt products and practices with changing customer and ecosystem demands.”
Data as a key opportunity for sustainability
Data is also one of the most critical tools for decarbonisation. A sustainability angle comes into play, as 78 percent of the respondents in Schneiders Sustainability index agree that digital plays a decisive role in achieving the sustainability goals.
Yet many companies still rely on rudimentary methods of energy data collection, which hinders innovation and management, says Urbano.
“Digitalization, through software, automates data collection and provides insight into process performance, cost drivers and risk factors,” says Urbano.
“Sustainability and decarbonisation efforts are becoming more efficient and cheaper as data-driven digitization takes hold. A sustainable world is inherently digital, where software increases safety, reduces operating costs and improves sustainability.”
Choosing the right software partner
Not all software is created equal, especially in the industrial sector where deep domain expertise is essential.
“When choosing a software partner, companies should look for reliable domain knowledge, scalable solutions, seamless data flow, federated data, an integrated user experience, AI capabilities, digital twins, augmented reality, smart analytics and a collaborative ecosystem,” says Urbano.
“Having the right software partner will help companies make faster and more informed decisions to improve operational efficiency.”
Schneider Electric, in partnership with leading industrial software solutions provider AVEVA, is leading the way in helping companies complete this transformative journey.
The duo offers a comprehensive solution through EcoStruxure, an IoT-enabled, open architecture platform that combines Schneider Electric’s software portfolio with AVEVA’s expertise, enabling software-centric automation.
According to Alexey Lebedev, Vice President Pacific at AVEVA, digital solutions are the catalyst for accelerating transformation and sustainability ambitions.
“The needs of the industrial world are becoming increasingly complex,” says Lebedev.
“As businesses continue to respond, digital solutions will be the catalyst to accelerate transformation and sustainability ambitions.
“Smart companies will place their digitization strategies at the core of their business and ensure they are ideally positioned for a sustainable future by leveraging data and resources across their entire ecosystem.”
Development in a new era
Schneider’s Urbano says companies should not only focus on making existing processes more efficient. Instead, they should consider holistic digital transformation that positions them as leaders in the industries of the future.
Data has become the cornerstone of modern industries. As Urbano says, “Data-led operations have created new opportunities for growth in the manufacturing and industrial sectors.”
With the advent of technologies such as artificial intelligence and digital twins, data-driven insights have become critical to operational efficiency.
One of the most compelling technologies, according to Urbano, is the digital twin, which not only increases operational efficiency but also accelerates progress towards net-zero emissions.
“Advanced technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality or mixed reality allow users to ‘see’ the information needed to optimize the operation and maintenance of a plant – easily and safely,” says Urbano.
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