Siemens has urged manufacturers in Northern Ireland to ‘strategise’ the digitalisation of their factories, using a ‘top down, bottom up’ approach.
The call came from Joan Mulvihill, Siemens Ireland digitalisation lead (www.siemens.com
), speaking at the 2020 ‘Anchor High’ leadership summit in Fermanagh earlier this month. “With Industry 4.0 a buzzword in manufacturing, everyone is engaged in a race to digitalise their factories.
However, it is important that companies adopt digital technologies sensibly and that there is no ‘digital waste’. For a successful return on investment in digitalisation, a measurable functionality and productivity should be achieved.”
Ms Mulvihill cited the example of Siemens’ Congleton factory, which faced a huge challenge with zero room for expansion.
After intensive evaluation of its vital processes, physical assets, human capital and existing technology, the factory was digitalised in 2018, retaining its 400 employees while more than doubling its production capacity.
The factory had produced 50,000 variable-speed drives and controls annually from 1990.
It now produces one million with the same number of employees, and it introduced a new variable-speed drive for the HVAC and waste-water sectors in 2019.
Ms Mulvihill said: “At Siemens, we have always placed people, culture and attitude at the core of digital technology adoption.”
She also stressed that trust in management and the right attitude to change and learning new skills by employees are key to the success of digitalisation.