High expectation is common when talking about any initiative to implement automation and robots, based on experience to champion automation in supply chain . We expect a game-changer solution, not only delivering high ROI, but also being to handle operation as flexible as human with as-is ways of working. Big-scale investment always comes with high risks and expectation for high-return; small-scale investment is facing limitations from multiple dimensions to deliver valuable results. Such high expectation may hold us back to implement new technologist.
I have the opportunity to visit Mckinsey Digital Capability Centre Singapore recently and it’s really an eye-opening and inspiring journey for me.
Launched for clients in April 2017, the Digital Capability Center (DCC) Singapore is an innovative capability building facility created by McKinsey & Company and the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Center (ARTC). DCC Singapore will serve as a key hub in South-East Asia for delivering capability building in a real-life demonstration and learning environment, as well as a test base for piloting and scaling up new digital solutions. (from link here)
My tour included 4 digital show cases for Industry 4.0, followed by sharing about future supply chain. What I particularly like: 1) the whole session is focused on small-to-mid-scale investment; 2) it talks about ROI; 3) and it shares actual use-cases.
Maintenance 4.0 is a showcase of predictive maintenance leverage on sensor technologies, analytics tool and augmented reality.
Brownfield Industry 4.0 Assembly Line is a showcase combining RFID and AGV for smart replenish and inventory management.
Additive Manufacturing Lab is about 3D printing; it’s interesting to physically feel the weight difference for parts manufactured in subtractive manufacturing (traditional way)and additive manufacturing (3D printer).
Virtual Manufacturing Lab is a showcase of virtual reality for manufacturing line and control tower. The former could be used for training and the latter could be used for real-time supply chain dashboard.
My take-away from the visit:
Lower down the expectation
Automation is a journey; it should be started from somewhere, and it has a deep-learning curve for the solution experts as well as operation team to deliver. Mind-set, operation processes, and automation use-cases will also evolve along the journey.
Leverage on off-the-shelf technologies
No need to re-invent the wheels. The problems faced here probably have been solved somewhere else, in another country or another industry. Collaboration with start-ups and research institutes could be a good option.
Speed up implementation and actively monitor the progress
Set aside “play fund” for pilot and actively monitor the progress. If it fails, it fails quickly; if it succeeds, it’s big gain.