Conversations on Connected Factory Collaborations
Connected factory and related transformation initiatives are highly complex undertakings when they occur at an enterprise level, and organizations using this technology usually have many end users. When organizations and implementation experts respond to large scale and highly complex needs, rapid problem solving is also required. It is wise to bring different expertise and competencies to the table by entering into partnerships that enable connected factory initiatives to go more smoothly and the outcomes to be more relevant and innovative. Here are some contributing factors that impact connected factory outcomes:
By working together, partners can provide a seamless team that works well together and brings a breadth of knowledge that can engage the enterprise toward a full, scalable digital transformation.
Collaborating parties can extend resources globally without the risk of needing to hire resources in areas where some of the partners do not operate. For example, one partner could have a strong presence in Shanghai, while another might have a strong presence in North America. This type of arrangement allows teams to share knowledge across the globe with little risk. Organizations can take on global projects with confidence, knowing that the partnership can be leveraged in almost all corners of the world, while keeping the core team local.
With connected factory initiatives being highly complex, it is tough for any single organization or consultant—no matter how large or how specialized—to have all the industry experience to successfully execute and help an organization reach its goals. Partnering allows parties to work together while expanding the team’s experience, and lessons learned can elevate innovation for the organization as well as the broader industry. In connected factory initiatives, partners often come to the table with specific domain expertise that may differ from the industry experts of other partners on the project. With the common goal of transferring knowledge, the combined expertise can result in effective solutions for even the most niche industry needs. Further, a lot of organizations span multiple industries. When parties leverage partners to extend the overall capabilities of the project team, it allows the organization to tap into a “one-stop shop” team—meaning there is no need to look anywhere else to make sure the connected factory goals are brought to completion.
Relationships are crucial for conducting business effectively, and building a strong network with trusted partners brings new business opportunities that might otherwise be closed to parties involved. For example, clients may need guidance determining whether certain equipment has the proper function and connectivity, and if certain equipment is not currently feasible to use, the organization will need to understand the method and cost required to connect to the factory. When large, global organizations are looking to deploy logical technology into their shop floors and connect their factories by streamlining their processes – speed, agility, and hands-on integration is paramount. A lot of work arises when strong relationships are already formed with global partners, so when partners choose to share a workload or pass a desirable job off to another partner, doing so creates a network of trust and work sharing. Together, more can be accomplished when compared to working as individual entities. For example, partner activities can range from verifying equipment function and connectivity (or related costs for getting things working), to providing PLC programming, and rolling out or modifying edge/cloud architecture. By working together, partners can provide a seamless team that works well together and brings a breadth of knowledge that can engage the enterprise for a full digital transformation with scale. Once partnerships are formed, the ongoing relationships and trust that exists can help strengthen ongoing efforts that helps prioritize and ensure the likely success of future initiatives, whether it is the integration of hardware and software modifications, project management, or further ideation.
Learn more from a related industry panel discussion; a video or recap of this discussion may be made available on the conference archive site in the coming weeks: