On a grey and stormy morning in Sheffield; Oracle and Hitachi Consulting brought some light and vibrancy to the delegates of the Future of Manufacturing event hosted at the AMRC's Factory 2050.

Delegates came from near and far across the UK with representatives from various sectors including the lifesciences, A&D, construction, engineering, industrial manufacturers as well as Sheffield university and the Manufacturing Technologies Association.

Beginning with a tour around the factory, it gave delegates a chance to see some of the ground-breaking innovation which is currently being developed by the AMRC and its partners such as Augmented Reality for maintenance and factory floor cell reconfiguration with minimal impact to output. The key aspect of the factory 2050 vision is the annual roadmap update to ensure tangible action is taken today.

Having completed the tour and getting everyone thinking about serving the modern customers leveraging future factories, Nick Kamen and Vikram Singla talked about the heritage of Hitachi and Oracle respectively especially in terms of sector domain experience of over 100+ and 40+ years

Nick and Vikram continued by looking at the key trends that are driving meaningful action on the ground.

These included:

A rapidly changing landscape

- Shift to becoming a data company to provide a more personalised, but profitable customer experience (mass customisation)

- A move towards the Experience Economy as companies look to achieve competitive differentiation but also protect margins

CSR Impacting Top Line and not just being the latest fashion statement

Energy Management and CSR were discussed and there was a recognition that the Manufacturing industry is now taking this area very seriously as Energy costs make up nearly 50% of total operating costs so the focus has to be to deliver solutions to release hidden value which will directly contribute to EBITDA.

Connecting Business Processes

Simon Nicholson from Oracle then followed this session by discussing the importance of having clearly defined and identified business outcomes, with CxO sponsorship, for projects using innovative technologies to transform Supply Chain processes. Furthermore, transformation depends on live and active monitoring and analysis of data, to power the Digital Thread of the enterprise and broader business network. For Example detecting and using the presence of anomalies, trends and predictions as they occur, to trigger actions within the enterprise processes and applications.

Delegates were also treated to a talk by Dr. Graham Herries who discussed some of the challenges, research and new technologies being implemented by Laing O'Rourke, including their Design for Manufacture and Assembly approach. This involves taking construction into a controlled factory environment and transporting components of buildings to site for assembly allowing for greater accuracy, less resource on site, shorter construction times and increased safety for site workers. The key aspect of the talk was the generational shift that the construction sector is going through to move towards the principles that the manufacturing sector has adopted for years along with the deployment of Industry 4.0 technologies within this environment.

The last part of the half-day roundtable focused on challenges facing delegates and their companies and consisted of three discussion topics: Predictive Maintenance, Connected Products & Services, and Energy Management & Sustainability. Perhaps the most insightful of the sessions it allowed Oracle and Hitachi Consulting to discuss business issues and priorities with the attendees in a highly interactive forum and highlight opportunities to leverage Digital strategies to retain and build competitive advantage whilst focusing on process operational optimisation and cost management. Although much of the detailed outcomes from this cannot be shared it was a great exercise in allowing delegates to understand that they all have similar challenges and concerns about the future of their respective industries. The key highlight was the consensus around the case for change around connected products/services.

Helpfully we have provided the slides for you below so please feel free to browse these and let us know if you have any questions.

If you would like to learn more about this event or would like to attend our next Industrials roundtable please email us at learnmore@hitachiconsulting.com.