Written by:  

Bram Erven

How to truly change operations with digital steps

Put on those working boots!

Changes do not start behind your laptop. That is why we follow the credo “put on your working boots” and regularly visit the shop floor to engage with engineers and operators, observe the process and equipment, gain a practical understanding of the challenges, and get to work. This will give the best understanding of where to improve and how to actually get things done.

Check out Bram’s lecture to see how he works his boots to bring digital solutions to life!


Don’t wait, just do it

As you can see in the video - this is what it all comes down to: just do it! 
Many people have ideas and dreams, but the key is to start. 

Think about challenges you encounter, envision where you want to go. And then begin with something small. Knowing you'll only reach your goals through trial and error.
So be persistent, take one step at a time, and don't stop until you see real changes happening on the factory floor. It's not enough to have a technical solution. You need to have it work in real life.

Keep going until you see improvements in productivity and efficiency because of the changes you've made. And then take the next step. And the next. 

Just do it: a digital twin of the supply chain

Together with one of our other customers, we’ve created a digital model of their supply chain to simulate scenarios, predict bottlenecks, and make improvement plans. Let’s call it the digital twin of the supply chain. This may sound easy, but unfortunately cannot be created with a simple press of the button – it requires hard work. The only way to build such a model is to put on your working boots, talk to all stakeholders, experiment, test, and iterate.

A supply chain is a highly complex model, and each ‘station’ in this model affects other stations. While a lot of logic can be extracted from ERP systems, other factors will always be affecting the chain. By starting small, adding more and more stations, and constantly validating, you’ll eventually end up with a sophisticated and complete digital twin. 

Just do it: invent a way to prevent cheese waste

At our customer AMF, a manufacturer of large industrial baking production lines, we spotted a perfect opportunity for improvement. With our boots on, visiting the production lines, talking to operators and experiencing their daily problems, we found that a lot of value can be gained in the process of pizza production. Cheese is the most expensive ingredient of a pizza, and a little extra cheese per pizza results in large additional expenses. And maybe as important: using more cheese than required means being less sustainable – since each gram of cheese represents an equivalence of CO2 for its production.

So, we put on our working boots and started working on a solution. By means of an R&D setup at our office, we kept experimenting with multiple technologies until we could accurately determine the cheese ratio on a pizza. The final solution: measure the cheese ratio using a camera and ML model, and leave the operators in charge. The operators simply adapt the speed of the belt in order to restore the perfect cheese ratio, based on the data they are provided with. The outcome: large savings, less manual work, and no waste.

While digital tools are widely used in supply chain and manufacturing, it still is challenging to make changes in factory operations using digital solutions.

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