Navigating the Next Industrial Revolution, Together

Oct. 16, 2018
The fourth annual Smart Industry Conference offered digital collaboration across industry lines

“You are not alone,” said Brian Irwin, automotive and industrial lead for Accenture, as he addressed common concerns surrounding digitalization to a mixed audience from different sectors of manufacturing.

More often than not, digitalization challenges run across industry lines. And it would follow that if the challenges are similar, perhaps the solutions are as well.

During his plenary session at Putman Media’s recent Smart Industry Conference, Irwin provided tips for leveraging new, digital business models for growth. Sharing Accenture’s model for digitalizing business, Irwin sketched out practical ways for taking the next step towards a fully digitalized business.

Irwin was just one of many Smart Industry speakers across the industrial landscape who discussed how companies can use digital manufacturing technologies to improve operations, build new business models, exceed customer satisfaction, and create new revenue streams.

Additionally, this year’s event featured the conference’s first pharmaceutical industry speaker. Rendela Wenzel, global maintenance and reliability leader at Eli Lilly, outlined the next-generation maintenance approach that Eli Lilly used to transition from time-based preventative maintenance to a machine learning proactive maintenance strategy. Wenzel, who was also recently named an Influential Woman in Manufacturing by Putman Media, designs and implements reliability programs for Eli Lilly’s 21 manufacturing sites in 13 different countries (read more about Wenzel and other iWIM winners in our October print issue).

With technological innovation rising and the cost of technology dropping, we now have the ability to connect almost anything to a network. Technology is no longer holding back digital progress, instead, it’s our ability to use it. According to Smart Industry’s 2018 State of Initiative report, four of the five most significant obstacles have to do not with technology, but with our ability to grasp and apply it.

For the countless companies that are finding themselves “stuck” in initial implementation stages of digital transformation, events like these provide actionable examples of wide-scale implementation, as well as foster a sense of comradery. From tours of local facilities capitalizing on digital capabilities to roundtable sessions promoting an exchange of ideas on issues such as product-data management, predictive analytics, and connecting legacy machines, Smart Industry fostered a new level of industrial collaboration.

The unifying message of this year’s conference? We will overcome digital challenges and reap the rewards with more speed, grace and confidence if we’re working together.

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