Automation experts call for greater coalition to enhance digitalisation

Delegates at SPS Automation Middle East conference said digitalisation must be a management-led initiative.

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Digitalisation is transforming the way companies operate across the globe, and industry decision makers must work closely with automation providers and their employees to ensure a smooth transition to digital systems, according to industry experts at the SPS Automation Middle East Conference 2019.

Running on the sidelines of SPS Automation Middle East 2019, the second edition of the Middle East’s dedicated industrial automation event, the two-day conference concluded on Wednesday with a series of future-focused discussions including a panel on the potential of digitalisation across the sector.

Addressing the session titled ‘The growth and economics of digitalisation of industries’, Hatem ElMohandes, Regional Senior Leader for GE Digital, said organisations that collaborate with digitalisation experts will stay ahead of the curve in an industry era dominated by automated systems.

“There is a need for better coalition between companies and industry experts. Both sides provide knowledge in different forms and no one knows a company better than the company itself,” said ElMohandes.

“However, experts in digitalisation are needed to show what adaptations can be made to further improve all stages of production in ways that internal management may not be aware of. Strategies and plans are required to make sure that adaptation and improvements run as smoothly as possible.”

Fellow panelist, Tulika Saxena, Associate Vice President, Business Advisory at Aranca believes change within organisation must be managed from the top down.

“The whole process starts with management, as soon as they get onboard with adaption, the process then becomes seamless,” said Saxena.

“Change first comes from the acceptance of companies to want to adapt and change their systems. Adapting machinery impacts individuals at all levels in the company and usually is welcomed with caution from workers. Once these internal hurdles are resolved, companies will benefit from improvements in productivity and improved quality control.”

Following the panel discussion, ElMohandes delivered a keynote presentation on the benefits of Industry Internet of Things (IIoT) and the impact automated services can have across business processes such as building, operating, maintaining and servicing.

He said companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, Terreal and Johnson Controls have implemented processes to increase line efficiency and production quality, reporting a four-fold increase in product quality, a 15 percent boost in production efficiency and a 30 percent saving on inventory costs.

Similarly, he said, organisations such as Pirelli, Exxon Mobile and Air France KLM had reduced energy use by 80 percent, maintenance costs by 30 percent, and recorded an estimated USD3.9 million savings in inspection costs.

The SPS Automation Middle East Conference, which took place on the show floor, hosted 28 sessions delivered by more than 30 experts.

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