Across the manufacturing sector, there have been changes in how businesses approach automation, as the universal shift towards digitalisation becomes a greater reality.
Automation in manufacturing has historically focused on a hardware-centric model. This has been ingrained across the supply chain from OEMs and resellers through to their end-user customers. Under this model, it’s common for there to be minimal interaction between the OEM and the manufacturer post-point of sale, except for planned maintenance periods. In such circumstances, the end customer has the competencies it takes to specify its own requirements through the value chain.
Digitalisation, on the other hand, requires a different approach. It is inherently outcome-based and requires the ability to unite many diverse strands, such as data, cybersecurity, and 3D modelling into a cohesive, continuous model and solution. The competencies and capabilities that were sufficient to deliver on hardware or automation goals are now insufficient to deal with the demands of the modern, increasingly software- and cyber-centric manufacturing environment, starting with the end user, let alone all machine manufacturers.
To excel in this new paradigm, manufacturing companies need to channel their focus towards the outcomes that will have the highest business impact and develop a supporting ecosystem that can help to embed digital capabilities into the foundation of their production environment. And in doing so, find the right vendor partners who can help them highlight their most promising areas of productivity gains, and define solutions and technologies around them.