Digitalisation in the industrial sector

Digitalisierung in der Industrie

Companies in industry looking to achieve full-scale digitalisation have to get past one major obstacle along the way: the Innovation Orchestration Gap.  It denotes the challenge of turning an aim into a reality. Put another way, it’s the gap between the idea and its successful execution.

Where does the Innovation Orchestration Gap occur and why?

Innovation in business is the determining factor for surviving in the market. The Innovation Orchestration Gap (IOG) leads to projects being delayed or abandoned, drags down return on investment and prevents industrial companies from reaping real value from their outlay on innovation.

The reason? The interconnection of technology, development and process expertise is just not there. The world’s most successful industrial companies have figured it out: this interconnection, and its knock-on effects right the way along the industrial value chain, are fundamental to fully exploiting the potential of digitalisation in industry. They are key to creating market-ready products, processes and solutions – and to making innovation happen.

Product Innovation  

New, innovative products as part of digitalisation in industry require your product developers to master a whole new skill set in digital and agile product development.

Successful product innovation involves much more than just bringing a squad of programmers on board to work with existing processes and structures. It takes interconnection and change in the company, instilled across the board.

How to implement this, and what potential it offers for new products, is the subject of our blog post “Product Innovation means business transformation”.

Digitale Product Innovation in der Industrie
Identify the problems

Pairing software expertise with proven hardware development processes opens the door to a new, multidisciplinary approach to industrial digitalisation. This cornerstone for product innovation is tailor-made for modern, digital ecosystems.

When it comes to digitalisation, each company learns its own individual lessons. But to ensure success when it comes to product innovation, there’s no getting around tackling the challenges below:

  • Knowledge Gap: new skills for tackling the more complex tasks along the entire product life cycle are in short supply.
  • Value Assessment: you need fresh understanding to accurately benchmark your new product in a shifting, innovative world.
  • Change of culture: you need to reorganise the company so you can set up cross-department software-based processes.
Unlock the benefits

Close the Innovation Orchestration Gap and reap the benefits in your product development:                                       

  • Align innovative product ideas with business, performance and revenue goals and your customer needs.
  • Adopt efficient and reliable development and maintenance processes that link your hardware, electronics and software development throughout the entire product lifecycle.
  • Develop secure, stable, compatible and intuitive digital platforms, and integrate them into existing product development processes.
  • Empower departments (e.g. sales, marketing, IT, controlling) to adapt to new product requirements and new data access and business models.

The gain: new, customer-centric products and an all-round understanding of how digitalised product innovation impacts your business areas.

You can read more about new directions in product development in our blog post “Turn innovation frustration to joy with value engineering!”.

Radical Innovation Study

Production Innovation

Embarking on a systematic and consistent digitalisation path in the company yields maximum productivity through innovation. And waiting at the end of this path is a networked, intelligent production ecosystem that undergoes continuous improvement.

Start small on the journey towards networked production. Design a uniform data platform step by step that gives you vital insights for all processes and plant areas.

What pitfalls await you and how do you negotiate them? Find out in our blog post “Production innovation: the digitalisation obstacles hurting innovation outcomes”.

Production Innovation in der Industrie
Idnentify the problems

Understanding networked manufacturing or networked production is what real innovation is based on. This allows you to spot the root causes of problems and unlock the innovation potentials that will really pay off. Whatever set-up you go for – comprehensive interconnection, line integration, using an MES (manufacturing execution system) or not – you gradually create integrated, automated and intelligent end-to-end processes in your company.

Each company experiences digitalisation in its own way. But it’s still important to be aware of the following challenges when it comes to production innovation:

  • Organisational challenges: innovation is there, but it’s hived off in separate silos.
  • Absence of data science expertise: there’s a lack of appropriate data, and no awareness or ability to accurately evaluate the efficiency of entire plants.
  • Technical obstacles: archaic systems, machines or automation solutions that are also not integrated into the network.
  • Structural barriers: having separate IT and OT departments limits the benefits gained through digitalisation to just the individual department.
Unlock the benefits

Close the Innovation Orchestration Gap and reap these benefits of digitalising your production:

  • Transparency: by continuously monitoring the status of machines, orders and materials you make the best decisions in real time.
  • Consistency: going digital also gives you fresh insights that you can use straight away to improve your business processes.
  • Data insights: people and machines now get correct and full information, while there are no unresolved issues or media discontinuities. This accelerates the speed of processes.
  • Integration and standardisation: promoting human-machine collaboration by giving them the same information to work with.

The gain: perfected manufacturing or production innovation spanning physical, digital and human processes.

Innovation in production actually has the potential to change your entire business. But how? Andreas Pfleger shows you in his blog post “Maximising equipment effectiveness through production innovation”.

Business Innovation  

Innovation and digitalisation in industry isn’t just about making more successful products and enhancing manufacturing or production efficiency.

Innovation within a company actually means cannibalising and entirely restructuring its own business processes. Digital solutions need new structures and have to help create and sell innovative products plus digital

Business Innovation in der Industrie
Identify the problems

This involves every single area of the company: from how teams work together, to data flows in the company through to specific operational processes in functional teams such as controlling, sales or support.

While each company experiences digitalisation in its own way, mastering these challenges is crucial to achieving successful business innovation:

  • Legacy systems: software solutions that don’t share data with each other.
  • Silos at all levels: isolated teams and processes that prevent innovation.
  • Outdated guidelines: fear of regulation and a love of paper slow down processes.
Unlock the benefits

Close the Innovation Orchestration Gap and reap these benefits in the Business Innovation action area:

  • Align the required process changes to transform innovative R&D ideas into real offerings.
  • Unlock agile innovation processes that add value to the business much faster.
  • Support cross-team collaboration and the information flow needed to shape your innovation to fit your growth drivers.
  • Focus the whole company on a consistent innovation strategy and create a sense of being one team.
  • Increase customer satisfaction by providing a continuous customer journey.

The gain: the corporate culture and operational infrastructure that your teams use to establish business innovation itself as a core competency within the company. You’ll find more on this in our blog post “Business innovation: discover the three dimensions to successful industrial innovation”.

Innovation Orchestration Gap: clearing obstacles to make innovation happen

Product innovation, production innovation and business innovation – each of these three action areas comes with their own challenges and pitfalls along the entire industrial value chain.

But the good news is: once you’ve tackled these issues and moved beyond them, the Innovation Orchestration Gap closes and all areas of your company, plus the company as a whole, can reap the benefit.

Have we piqued your interest?

Arrange to meet us right away.

Jens von der Brelie
Contact person for Germany

Jens von der Brelie

Head of Market Unit Industrial and Consumer Products

Jens von der Brelie has extensive experience in product development, product management and sales in the industrial sector. He has over 30 years experience in plant engineering, automation technology, building technologies, and the consumer goods industry. He joined Zuhlke in 2011, and currently leads our Industrial and Consumer Products division. He has a degree in electrical engineering from the Technical University of Braunschweig where he specialised in data technology.

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Andreas Pfleger
Contact person for Austria

Andreas Pfleger

Head of Market Unit Industry & Consumer Products

Andreas Pfleger combines his knowledge of industry and IT to ensure solution-oriented business development in the manufacturing and machinery sectors. He is Zühlke Austria’s Head of Industry and Consumer Products. Motivated by a passion for industrial digital transformation, he focuses his efforts on driving the potential of Austrian industry forward. As a senior project manager, he has managed national and international onsite, nearshore, and offshore software development projects in various sectors.

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Contact person for Switzerland

Mario Schmuziger

Regional Managing Director ICP, EMEA & Partner
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