In this series of articles, we present the 7 essential areas of transformation that play a role in the “Factory of the Future” process charted by Agoria and Sirris. We continue with Digital factory and we focus on the importance of creating a digital culture within the company.


Digitisation must be integrated into the overall business strategy

Based on a survey of 400 industrial SMEs, we have found 3 crucial domains that need development for a digital transformation to be successful:

– Digitizing processes
– Digital innovation
– Digital culture

When most established enterprises consider digital transformation, it usually originates from an ambition to automate and improve their processes. And in fact, 80% of Belgian industrial SMEs have already initiated some kind of digitilization of their processes, but usually not in an integrated way. But even when you do fully transform your operations, it has to be done within an overall business strategy to harvest the full digital business potential.

 

Manufacturing enterprises are facing deep challenges today. In the midst of a global slowdown, they now also have to deal with the Corona pandemic. More than ever, digital transformation is required to face future challenges and stay relevant in a digital ecosystem. Agoria recently launched the DigiCoach program to support Belgian enterprises with their digital ambitions.

This is where digital innovation enters the picture. With digital innovation we mean introduction of digital products or services, digital business models and investment in new technologies such as AI, cybersecurity and 5G. Eventually, the offers and business models through which they are provided are what your customers will experience.

“Customers are not interested in buying products or services per se. They have problems they want to solve and goals they want to achieve. These are jobs they want to do”said Clayton Christensen in his 2003 book The Innovator’s Solution.

The importance to understand the customer challenges, and even their customer’s challenges, and experiment with how this translates to the solutions you will offer and to the ways you will offer them therefore cannot be under-estimated.

Although our survey was mainly focusing on processes and innovation we did probe into the corporate culture to understand how digital maturity reflects on digital culture.

We found that the most important success factor boiled down to having the responsibility for the digital transformation program clearly assigned within the organisation. That person, having acquired all necessary knowledge, has to continuously bridge the gap between all levels and departments of the organization. In the end, that person is also responsible to incorporate the digitalization program into the strategy implementation level. All levels of employees should be involved when gathering requirements and performing the necessary coaching. Finally, working with digital solution providers can support and/or speed up the transformation.

In 2019, Agoria started the DigiCoach program to bridge the gap between digital transformers and digital solution providers. A new Agoria digital platform now already consists of three online tools for all kind of enterprises. Also on the platform, over 30 Belgian digital transformation use cases illustrate the relevance of digital transformation in our own markets.

Tool nr. 1 : The DigiScan

It allows for companies to benchmark themselves online in terms of digital process, innovation and culture maturity to the top 20 digital performers of our Belgian industrial SMEs. As several co-workers from the same company can fill out the survey, interesting insights already emerged. In one case for example, it appeared that several co-workers came to similar conclusions with respect to maturity of process and innovation, but a broader spectrum of responses was observed when it came to digital culture. This knowledge served as the basis for a deeper analysis into the reasons behind these different views.

Tool nr. 2 : DigiConnect

An online tool which serves to connect digital solution providers with their potential clients. It adds value through providing a curated segmentation to allow the digital service providers to be easily found by companies that want to digitalize further. The tool already hosts 230 enterprises and combines entries from the various Agoria focus domains, covering processes, specific manufacturing service providers, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and – last but not least – providers that offer solutions specifically addressing Corona related challenges.

Tool nr. 3 : DigiSkills

An online tool to assess your individual digital skills portfolio, now and in the future, and also for different job roles. You will obtain a personal digital passport that will allow you to map out your growth trajectory for your current function or for an aspired future job role.

In order to demonstrate that digitalization is really happening for Belgian industrial enterprises we are publishing Belgian use cases, written from a customer perspective. Here are some examples:

  • Teksam produces telescopic masts and has accelerated production by adopting the Trivest Ridder iQ ERP, fully customized to Teksam’s needs.

  • Machine builder Merco Machines realized 25% time savings by centralizing its data by working with their IT-partner Savaco, a perfect example of IT/OT integration.

  • Entrematic Dynaco is boosting sales through implementing a product configurator provided by Hive CPQ .

You can find more information on how Agoria supports you with your digital transformation ambitions on the DigiCoach website at https://www.agoria.be/fr/digicoach

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Do you want to know where your company stands in the transformation process for the factory of the future?
Complete the FoF Scan  questionnaire of ADMA (European ADvanced MAnufacturing Support Centre of which Agoria and Sirris are partners).