2020 CEO Insights: Mauro DelleMonache
What key trends will have an impact on the growth of your industry in 2020?
Industrial automation market players are facing increasing challenges — from economic and geopolitical uncertainties to tightening regulations, ageing workforces and rapid changes in technology.
In addition, things like cloud, IIoT, big data analytics and cybersecurity are all changing trends that many companies say they don’t know how to keep up with. We know from our own experience that a digital transformation can help to alleviate some of these challenges, by making businesses more agile and able to better respond to these types of changing environments.
Digitising machines and processes is the first step towards digital transformation. Known as Industrial Transformation (IX), this is the process of leveraging digital technologies to improve industrial operations.
What strategies are being implemented by your industry to improve resource recovery?
Schneider Electric is committed to supporting a circular economy. Many of our products are designed to be upgraded and refurbished, rather than simply put into landfill. For example, our global Industrial Repair Service Business Unit repairs motors, drives and control system components. Repairing, instead of scrapping, usable equipment conserves resources, which clearly supports a circular economy. Repairing existing equipment is also extremely helpful for our customers as they manage the staging of equipment upgrades and replacement.
Having this type of cyclical interaction also helps us to build long-term relationships with our customers. Contractors and electricians are choosing wisely for long-term serviceability, which, in turn, means they return to us for upgrades and servicing for many years.
How is your industry preparing for artificial intelligence developments?
Artificial intelligence is already a large part of many of our software solutions. At its basic level, we have invested in developing predictive analytics and condition management tools to enable customers to predict failure long before downtime actually happens. This is the case at Wilmar Sugar, where our upgrade of their control system has led to a robust and reliable solution for the site's boilers, bringing all control systems into one interface for a more efficient and productive solution. By bringing everything together we have been able to set alerts and offer predictive maintenance to ensure the likelihood of a costly emergency shutdown is minimised.
At the more complex end of the scale, AI brings a new approach to decision making that humans are not able to achieve. We can use clever technology to analyse and extract usable actions from hundreds of data points and inputs. We have demonstrated this with one of our transport infrastructure customers. The Eastlink freeway in Melbourne features twin 1.6 km tunnels which protect the environmentally sensitive Mullum Mullum Valley above. With Eastlink we were able to develop an efficient and self-regulating ventilation system that uses automation, connectivity and software for real-time control and visibility. In addition to the upgrade of the tunnel ventilation system we helped to introduced partial tunnel portal emission during the day, using a purpose-built algorithm to ensure the portal pressure was 1.5 m/s over a 1-hour rolling average. This was particularly relevant to the sensitive environmental location.
What impact will technological developments have on your supply chain management in 2020?
In 2019 we successfully completed the digital transformation of our flagship Pacific SMART distribution centre (DC) in Ingleburn, NSW. The centre is the largest in the Pacific region, operating 24 hours a day, 5 days a week, and servicing 3500 customers. In undertaking the digital transformation, we used Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure technology, which drives end-to-end efficiency for the industrial environment. The centre also houses our industry leading Control Tower, which is an innovative leap ahead for supply chain management.
The technology at the SMART DC allows our teams to improve decision making, reduce downtime and improve safety, energy efficiency and reliability. Our supply chain visibility is improved and we can detect and mitigate supply chain issues and interruptions to significantly improve predictability and reliability for customers.
Bringing together logistics, customer care and personnel representing all our international and domestic transport carriers in one site means that information from global tracking dashboards can be openly and easily shared and discussed to quickly resolve queries and issues. The Control Tower approach has demonstrated a strong return on investment with a 65% reduction in time taken to resolve complaints.
These new technologies are already proving their worth, and we will continue to see improvements in this area through 2020.
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