Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Mr. Kiyoshi Matsumoto, Director Cloud And Managed Services, NTT Singapore Pte Ltd on his views on the future of manufacturing technologies in Asia and its impact on supply chains.
1.Could you provide us with an overview of the latest technologies shaping manufacturing in Asia?
We see an increase in manufacturers collecting vast troves of data and analysing them to reveal important insights for better decision-making. Data is driving a massive transformation in the manufacturing industry, with many companies already incorporating technologies such as field sensors and edge computing. Field sensors, for example, collect and communicate information (temperature, pressure etc.) to manufacturers, while edge computing helps manufacturers convert data sets generated by machines into insightful and actionable items. Manufacturers have realized the importance of tapping on Business Intelligence (BI) technologies to transform raw data from multiple sources into valuable information.
2. What do you think are the main challenges when it comes to the manufacturing processes in Asia?
While more and more manufacturers are collecting data from sensors and leveraging edge computing, many still lack the resources to use the data intelligently. The challenge is to invest in systems and resources that enable the most efficient collection and use of data. Moving data to the cloud is an effective way to improve the automation of decisions and optimise industrial output.
That said, many manufacturers still view information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) as separate departments when they are two sides of the same coin. Early IT systems were under the purview of the CIO and included desktops, laptops and connectivity for propriety data. On the other hand, OT consisted of turnkey systems such as machines on the factory floor and transportation vehicles, which had very little involvement from IT.
Today, OT refers to the control and automation supporting operations. A simple example is connected manufacturing equipment retrofitted with industrial IoT sensors. With the more pervasive use of IT technologies at an operational level, the boundaries between the successful use of IT and OT have begun to blur. For manufacturers to succeed in the digital era, they need to close the IT/OT gap or risk decline.
3. How do you think these challenges can be overcome?
If manufacturers possess the right technological infrastructure and guidance, they will be able to leapfrog ahead of their competition in terms of efficiency and productivity.
We recently launched the Smart Factory Package in Singapore, powered by AVEVA’s Wonderware and NTT Com cloud computing platform ‘Enterprise Cloud’, which offers a highly-effective and cost-efficient approach for manufacturers to kick-start their digital journey to streamline and simplify operations.
The Smart Factory Package takes advantage of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and combines pervasive network sensors, a scalable cloud platform and advanced analytics capabilities to unlock the value of industrial data. Manufacturers can then leverage the industrial data for better decision-making, resulting in greater intelligence, efficiency and opportunity.
4. With the digitalisation of manufacturing, how will supply chains evolve to keep up?
The supply chain will no longer be linear in nature, from producers to consumers.
To keep pace, supply chains now need to integrate leading-edge technologies to combine cross-functional data from different sources, implement control and automation and forecast demand and performance with advanced data analytics. For example, a retailer might be better able to assess inventory performance by digitising their stock. This allows planning to be more precise and managers can also anticipate problems before they happen and act on them.
5. In your opinion, what are the trends that will shape the industry for the next 5 to 10 years?
Digital transformation will eventually affect every industry. For the manufacturing industry, we will see the convergence of IT and OT. Digitalisation will become ubiquitous and companies who fail to keep up will decline.
Disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence and IoT will play a major role in shaping manufacturing trends. Put together, the “smart factory” will feature systems capable of autonomously exchanging information and trigger a set of actions independently. This promises increased productivity, lowered costs and better customer satisfaction.
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