Driving Digital Transformation in Industry and Cities Conference Insights Part 2

I recently attended the 23rd ARC Industry Forum on Driving Digital Transformation in Industry and Cities. At this conference, industry leaders gathered to discuss navigating a digital transformation journey and successfully incorporating disruptive technologies into the business ecosystem.  This proved to be a forum where businesses shared and gathered learnings about the need to drive and manage change in processes, people, and technologies. Some key questions this conference addressed were:

  • How will disruptive technologies change existing products, plants, and cities?
  • Can cybersecurity threats be overcome?
  • How will machine learning, artificial intelligence, and open source solutions transform operations?
  • How will a digitally-enhanced workforce stem the loss of tribal knowledge?
  • How do connected products create opportunities in aftermarket services?
  • What steps can organizations take to foster innovative thinking?

I was fortunate enough to attend as both a speaker and student.  There were several great presentations which included panelists from global organizations such as United Technologies, Halliburton, Eastman Chemical, and L&T Technology Services.  I highlight a few of my observations and learnings below.

Benchmarking Your Digital Enterprise included several interactive polls for which I will provide the results. The top three factors driving digital transformation (DT) were: Customer demand, management directive, and innovation. The number one challenge was identifying the right problem to solve. The top three outcomes from digital transformation were efficiency, asset management, and cost savings.  One of the panelists observed that ‘half our time is spent tracking orders – placement, make, and delivery” and another commented that ‘our data is scattered everywhere.”

In another session on Digital Transformation Overview: Innovation and Exponential Progress the need for a “unified data platform that bridges between company functions’ was identified by a panelist in the custom packaging industry. Another panelist from a large global chemical company stated he is looking for ‘disruptive change in supply chain digitization’ and that their key focus areas are delivering a good ‘customer experience’ and ‘employee experience’. Once they gain a customer they want to keep the customer.

A key learning for me was that many of the business problems being posed by these companies have solutions that fall under various Elemica product umbrellas. While Elemica does not solve some of the shop floor manufacturing problems discussed by panelists, our supply chain and visibility solutions do address the majority of the problems these companies have.

I look forward to attending a future ARC Advisory Group Forum. It’s important to reflect, as an industry, on the challenges and highlight solutions that can create positive change.