Digital transformation as a backbone for holistic product development of transformers
Digital transformation has become a buzz word in the industry. Technology as such is interesting but facing a big challenge in implementation when attempting to reap the benefits of digitisation. There is no universal standard formula that applies to every industry. The transformer manufacturing industry is different in its own way. The degree of technology maturity and applicability varies from product to product like “of the shelf transformers”, “made to stock”, some “engineer to order” with high flexibility in engineering. Digital transformation poses high-level challenges in meeting each criterion. Most companies are already working on the digitalisation of their operations, and many of them are frustrated with the speed, scale and acceptance at engineers’ level to deliver results according to the management’s expectations. Nobody has the patience to wait for years to reap the benefit of technology. Some management with high motivation may start to push for implementation but will soon lose steam because of inherent implementation problems and lack of a deeper understanding. It depends on one’s level of conviction in the digital operations opportunity. One approach could be the ‘factory-of–the-future strategy’. This is more appropriate when you are in exploratory mode. It basically entails taking one physical location and designating it as your ‘factory of the future.’ This becomes a testing ground against which you can deploy different use cases, and test the results, see what the impact is, see the possibilities and resultant benefits.
However, if you are certain of the opportunity and you want to go faster, there is another model you can adopt. In this, you start with narrowing down the technologies, use cases, and pain-points in your operation. What are the highest-priority pain-points to be addressed? Is it the offer process? Engineering change management? Does it cost management? Or what are the use cases against these pain-points? Prioritise 8 to 10 areas that will drive 80 % of the value. Then line up projects against each of those areas with a target to achieve the results you expect.