The automobile industry has already advanced other sectors in the adoption of the smart factory and in the next three years it plans to increase the investment destined to the deployment of these centers. Specifically, in the last 18-24 months, 30% of the factories in the sector have become intelligent, exceeding 24% that managers had set as targets in 2017/18. According to a new study prepared by the Capgemini Research Institute, almost half (48%) of managers also consider that “they are getting a good or better progress than expected” in their plans to implement the smart factory, compared to 38 % who gave the same answer when asked about the progress 18 months ago.
Therefore, for the next five years, the automobile sector expects to convert 44% of its factories into smart centers. It is thus placed, as the first industrial segment to have plants of this type, followed by that of discrete manufacturing, with 42%; of the manufacture of continuous processes, with 41%; of the energy and utilities sector, with 40%; and consumer products, with 37%.
The report, called “How automotive organizations can maximize the smart factory potential”, tracks the process of adoption of the smart factory during 2019 by vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers, comparing the results obtained with those of an equivalent report made in 2017/18. According to the current study, both the planned investment and productivity improvements attributable to the smart factory are significant, but only a minority of car companies are fully prepared to take advantage of the benefits of their full adoption at scale levels.
Capgemini’s analysis classifies 72% of the companies in the sector as “beginners”, compared to only 10% that would constitute the “advanced”, a group that is already prepared to take advantage of the potential of smart factories to its full extent (18 % of manufacturers would be advanced, compared to 8% of suppliers).
“There are three main reasons why we decided to take the smart factory initiative,” says Dr. Seshu Bhagavatula, president of New Technologies and Business Initiatives at Ashok Leyland, one of the largest heavy vehicle manufacturers in India. «The first is to improve the productivity of our old factories by modernizing and digitizing their operations. The second, to improve the process of ensuring quality in those aspects more difficult for the human being. And the third, incorporate the ability to manufacture on demand or mass customization. These three objectives were part of a broader internal strategic program called Modular Business Program ».
The study estimates that by 2023 smart factories will achieve a productivity improvement of between about 135,000 million dollars (medium scenario) to 167,000 million dollars (optimistic scenario): an annual productivity improvement of 2.8% -4 , 4% and a total increase of 15.1% -24.1% for the sector as a whole by 2023. The potential of these gains is already demonstrated by companies such as Mercedes-Benz, which has managed to reduce to a quarter the rejection rate of some key components thanks to the use of advanced data analytics to create production systems with self-learning and self-optimization.
“The companies in the automobile sector have made significant progress in their smart factory initiatives over the past two years and clearly plan to increase the pace of adoption from now on. Today, manufacturers and suppliers in the sector are committing to make a significant investment and by 2023 we can see the results of these efforts, with annual productivity gains of between 2.8% and 4.4%, ”says Markus Winkler, Global director of the Automobile Sector of Capgemini.
«However, to reach that point, automobile companies must resolve the deficiencies in terms of knowledge and skills of the staff, the technological strategy and the commitment of the organization of general implementation, as well as take advantage of all the advantages offered by factories smart. It is true that intelligent factories constitute a decisive element of the Intelligent Industry, but manufacturers and suppliers must also dedicate their efforts to intelligent operations, such as intelligent asset management, intelligent supply chain and service management, to materialize in its full potential of various technologies ». .