Round table: How technology can be the leveraging aspect for the next-Gen IT/OT Convergence in manufacturing

06 Jun 2022 | Sujatha Vishnuraj

Event report on the roundtable, Leveraging Technology for Manufacturing Excellence, organised by Hitachi Vantara and supported by Manufacturing Today.

Many companies respond to an increasingly technologically aligned environment by adding roles with a technology focus or changing traditional roles to have a technology/digital orientation. Despite the proliferation of technology/digital roles and responsibilities, most executives recognise that their companies are not adequately preparing for the industry disruptions.

Companies have realized the benefits of information technology for many years. And with the arrival of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology, a new revolution of digitization of production is underway. But as both these technologies continue to mature, IT/OT convergence is becoming a reality and promises to deliver a more significant combined benefit for IIoT adoption than either could alone. Hitachi Vantara has come out with a consulting led approach.

Round table, organised by Hitachi Vantara and supported by Manufacturing Today at Westin Pune, was designed as an exclusive peer-to-peer support and networking group of CEOs, Plant Heads, Digital Heads, and Functional Heads who could share insights and discuss how technology can be the leveraging aspect for the next-Gen IT/OT Convergence in manufacturing.

Aditi Sharma, Chief Quality Officer (Group Head), Vedanta; Ajit Deshpande, Country Head – IT INDIA & ASEAN, Faurecia; Amol Chavan, Assistant Manager Maintenance, Seco Tools India (P) Ltd; Anoop Sharma, Head of Operational Excellence & Manufacturing Digitalization (Vice President), Varroc Engineering Limited; Bishwaroop Halder, VP Group IT, RSB; Chandrakant Dange, Senior President, ZF Steering Gear India Ltd; Lokendra Singh, MD, Ross Process; M.P. Raajha, Regional Director, CLO (Asia) Brake Business Unit, Hitachi Astemo Brake Systems India Pvt. Ltd; Madhusudan Moudgal, Senior Director – Global Account Management, Consumer Devices Group, Flextronics Technologies (India) Private Limited; Mohan Satpute, General Manager Factory Maintenance and Country Energy Coordinator, SKF; Rajiv Jha, GM Technology, Sandvik Asia; S Nagasubramanian, Consultant, RSB; Sandhya Pande, Director and Site Leader-Connected Care Business Cluster HIC, Philips; Santosh, Potghan, Assistant Manager Maintenance, Seco Tools India (P) Ltd; Shrikant Mapari, Assistant Plant Head, Hitachi Astemo FIE Pvt Ltd; Vishwajit Singh, Plant Manager, Bridgestone; were part of the panel along with Gopikrishna Balijepally, India Leader and Mentor for Startups, Dynamixe Digital; Dev K Ramchandani, Senior Director and Sunil Hardikar, Digital Transformation from Hitachi Vantara.

In his opening address, Gopikrishna Balijepally, gave the background of Hitachi Vantara and what it stands for. “We want to be a data solutions company, and we want to provide end-to-end IT & OT solutions.” He accentuated and set the tone of the discussion by mentioning how Hitachi Vantara can perform the most significant role in this revolution—that of acting as a bridge for the convergence of IT/OT for an end-to-end digital transformation.

Before handing over the platform to Dev K Ramchandani, Senior Director, Hitachi Vantara, Gopi clarified the question about the difference between an automated factory and a digital factory-raised by Chandrakant Dange, Senior President, ZF Steering Gear India Ltd.

Technology for the digital leap
Dev Ramchandani, took over the reins to further explain how we look at digital transformation and how it is relevant for India. Digital factories are no longer fiction but a reality. Concepts such as digitalisation, Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing have gained traction in India to increase effectiveness and efficiency. The Industrial IoT is an integral component of a broader digital transformation. There are many motivations for the convergence of IT /OT – from accelerating market penetration and global competitiveness, to enhancing operational efficiency, organisational effectiveness and profitability.

Dev spoke about the Global Lighhouse factory initiative being driven by the World Economic Forum. Global Lighthouse Network, a community consisting of world-leading manufacturers that use Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to enable growth. The Lighthouses demonstrate what is possible by embracing robust working modes to scale across their production network and value chains. India currently has 5 of its factories listed in the global 103 factories and would have to continue on this path if it were to achieve its aim of having a GPD contribution of 25% through manufacturing.   

Dev further called upon AjithKumar Nandakumar, Vice President – Strategic Initiatives, Hitachi Vantara, to explain how technology can be driven based on the relevant business objectives. Ajith elaborated on how servitization specifically in the context of OEMs, its capabilities, potential pitfalls and discussed how best organisations can adapt for its deployment.

Thematic discussion
The roundtable focused on themes—quality, production, maintenance and supply chain management. The moderator, Sunil Hardikar, Lead Digital Transformation from Hitachi Vantara introduced the panel members to the themes. The discussion fashioned in the round-robin format, saw panel members sharing their experiences of digital transformation in their organization and how leveraging technologies created value for various stakeholders. Few panel members shared their experiences of how smart integration of digital technologies, processes and competencies adopted by one organization resulted in end-to-end optimization and operational flexibility, while the other which is in the business of manufacturing safety products for the automotive industry shared how digital transformation helped them resolve a major issue which could have led to a major disaster. Another panel member mentioned how they have implemented supply chain traceability, starting from raw material to problem analysis in the field. While mentioning digital transformation in the supply chain, one participant mentioned the visualization of data and how to represent the data.

Sunil engaged the panel members in an interactive discussion over various themes and the panel members shared their journey toward digital transformations. The session brought out the need to treat data as an asset and use it to have a competitive advantage.

The Hitachi Vantara team also introduced an innovative feedback system to the panellists, which made the discussion more interesting. The result of the round table emphasised how data can, in many ways enhance creativity and productivity to limitless opportunities.

The discussions extended informally over dinner and networking.

- END -


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