The significance of digital transformation for a business that wants to remain pertinent in its forte can't be overlooked. However, if people do not have the right mindset to change while adapting to it, then the transformation only tends to magnify existing blemishes in organisational practices. Keeping this in mind, Rockwell Automation recently held a conference on ‘Digital Transformation Driving Business Outcome’ in Hyderabad, which gave a close view on what digitalisation is really all about, bringing about digital transformation in companies, and how the right mindset is needed to adopt it.
The first session of the day was by Rajkumar Paira, Senior Analyst – ARC Advisory Group, who gave an in-depth view on the ‘dynamics of digital transformation and its impact on Indian manufacturing from a consultant’s perspective’. He explained how digital transformation requires comprehensive planning and disciplined management to achieve various benefits, like higher customer satisfaction, optimised operations, safer working environment and more.
Smart & connected
Next, Madan Kumar, End User Business Leader – South, Rockwell Automation, took over to speak about ‘How one can accelerate high performance operations through the connected enterprise’. This was followed by a session on ‘smart devices for smart manufacturing’ by Rajendran Menon, Product Manager - Smart Devices, Rockwell Automation. He spoke about the various business drivers and challenges, smart devices in connected enterprises and various aspects of what makes devices smart.
Moving on, Shibasis Patro, Manager – Equipments, Signode India, hosted a session on ‘Enabling digital transformation through smart machines & equipment’, discussing various aspects of technology, like smart technology machines & equipment, integrated safety solutions, OEE solutions, and realtime diagnostics. Next, T D Dhanu, Technical Consultant – South, Rockwell Automation, presented a session on ‘How one can improve their operational efficiency through advanced analytics’. This session majorly discussed industry trends, an overview of analytics offered, and the walk through and story behind the development of Rockwell Automation Global Energy Drink (RAGE).
Digital transformation driving business outcome
The event further delved into the panel discussion, which was on the topic ‘Digital transformation driving business outcome’. Moderated by Shekhar Jitkar, Chief Editor, A&D India, the discussion was aimed at the business outcome and future trends of digitalisation, and how other advanced technologies, like AI, AM or cloud computing can be utilised in a successful digital transformation journey. The panellists were Sandeep Redkar, Business Manager, Process Solution, Rockwell Automation; Subba Rao, Director, Aztec Consulting; Ramprasad Nori, Associate Vice President, Greenco Energy; Ravi Maknikar, National Head, Zenith Technologies; and Avinash Tote, Executive Director, Logicon Techno solutions. Considering digitalisation not needing any in-depth introduction, Jitkar started off by the question on technological adoption levels for digitalisation in the Indian industry and how close Indian factories are to adopt advanced technology concept.
Sharing his views on this, Redkar responded, “We have been associated with our customers in this journey for almost five years now. Some organisations, especially the global manufacturing conglomerates, have been the first ones to make advancements in the applications of the technologies in their own plants operating in India. What’s more interesting is that the public sector and the government-owned units are showing an extremely aggressive trend of adoption.”
Throwing light on the pharma side of it, Maknikar asserted that, today, the buzzword is data integrity. “Companies cannot achieve data integrity without the necessary digital transformation,” he explained and continued, “So, to achieve data integrity, various pharma companies are implementing MES, which is proving to be an effective solution. There is willingness, but there is also a certain lag in the supporting infrastructure, which needs to be addressed first.” Giving his opinion in this context as well, Rao said that the meaning of data integrity is very different to a small and mid-scale pharma company, compared to a largescale pharma company. For a small and mid-scale company, digitalisation is majorly about improvement in quality, while for large scale companies, it is majorly about data integrity and ROI.
According to Nori, firstly, it is important to have commitment from the management. Secondly, people who are going to implement digitalisation, need to have the required mindset and should adapt to the change of technology. “In India, the new generation has that kind of a mindset, thanks to the kind of exposure they are getting,” he implied and continued, “For any business, if the survival becomes the question, they would go for the solution immediately. As for our company, we have almost all our assets digitally connected. We are reaping benefits of digitalisation now. Today, data is the oxygen for business and analytics is the food.”
Being from a solution providing company, Tote gave a brief insight on the challenges faced during digitisation. “When we started off with a digitalisation project in 2011, we faced a lot of challenges during the period, as the hardware and network infrastructure weren’t well developed back in 2011 and also because there was less resistance from operators because of the fear of getting exposed. This made us re-design the solutions with the help of our customer and gave us a great learning, making our job easy today.”
The discussion then turned to security of data, which has been a question of importance even in top global companies. Maknikar shared his views, where he cited that a lot of work is going on into providing adequate cyber security to the booming digitalisation. “We are trying to conduct trainings on cyber security in India for awareness generation,” he informed and continued, “Everyone is concerned by cyber-attacks, from solution providers to end-users. And, I believe that we should talk about it as an important topic while going about in the journey of digital development.”
Speaking on the criteria and parameters while approaching a solution provider and the expectations from solution providers and systems integrators, Nori asserted, “Eighty per cent of failures are predominantly because requirements have not been specified properly. Even major companies are not able to articulate, understand and convert what a customer is expecting into a solution, making the result zero. Everybody has to be equally updated as solutions are not readily available because they are all customised.”
Redkar further added, “As providers of technology and solution, we have tried to come up with solutions in our own way. What we have noticed is that currently there are three aspects in which the investments are happening by customers. First is improving productivity, second is consistent quality, and third is to reduce maintenance. The solution to these will vary based on what your company focus is and what industry you belong to. We create a kind of document that becomes our guiding document for the rest of the implementation as well as the first implementation that we may want to take up. Obviously, there is an awareness gap that exists, but we can’t wait for that gap to be filled by somebody else. So, we make our own attempt in terms of filling it up.”
Going further on digitalisation
Post the panel discussion, Redkar took over and gave a presentation on ‘What to Expect from a Modern DCS in Digital era’, which focused on the benefits of enabling IoT for better connected enterprises and customer outcomes, how digital technologies enabled by Rockwell Automation can help manufacturing organisations, life of an IIoT project, and DCS of today and tomorrow benefitting the industry.
It is important for an industrialist to understand the security trends and its implementation in the industry to attain complete data protection. Ankur Pancholi, Product Manager- Large Controllers & Networks, in his session ‘Secure Network Architecture for The Digital Plant’ spoke about the industrial security trends that are being followed, series of standards that define procedures for implementing electronically secure (IACS), security design for all Rockwell Automation products, guidelines to achieve a secure network infrastructure and procedures for its configuration to meet personal system requirement, and user access control and authorisation.
The event came to an end with the final presentation of the day by T Venugopal, Power Control Manager-South, Rockwell Automation India on ‘Rethinking Motor Control in A Digital Age’. The session highlighted various motor control technologies, like across-the-line starters, soft starters, servo drivers and more. Venugopal also divulged into evolution of communication and the two layers of digital communication. He further went on to speak about the intelligent motor controls from single network and its benefits, the value delivered, implementations and benefits of premier integration and Allen Bradley PowerFlex portfolio.
Creating a clear roadmap
Rockwell Automation created a platform for technology enablers to get insights about the best practices for manufacturers keen to implement change across their organisation. The conference culminated to be a journey that would create long-term benefits, guiding dynamic manufacturing professionals for the staged approach with a clear roadmap.