smart manufacturing unified ecosystem - Dassault Systèmes

Smart Manufacturing: A Unified Ecosystem for the Next Normal

Mitigate disruptions and adapt to changing demands. Charge ahead in the post-pandemic future with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) powered by the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform.

Recent disruptions that affected the global economy, such as shortages of raw materials and parts, have made manufacturers realize the cost of deferring the adoption of digital transformation and smart manufacturing.

We spoke with Prashanth Mysore, strategic business development director at Dassault Systèmes, to get the answers to how digital transformation prepares manufacturers for disruptions and enables them to thrive in a post-pandemic future.

Prashanth MYSORE Strategic Business Development Director Dassault Systèmes

Prashanth works in business development, focusing on the value creation and application strategy of Dassault Systèmes solutions for manufacturing.

He brings his expertise to three industry verticals: Energy and materials, construction, cities and territories, as well as marine and offshore.

Prashanth has been involved in the manufacturing sector for almost 24 years, 20 of them with Dassault Systèmes.

COVID-19 disruption and ongoing US-China trade tensions

What has the recent COVID-19 disruption and ongoing US-China trade tensions taught us about the shortcomings of manufacturing operations, the supply chain and value network?

The biggest revelation is the supply chain’s over-reliance on one particular country or setup. The unprecedented health crisis left manufacturers from all industries scrambling to find alternate suppliers to keep their factories running.

Looking back to other far-reaching disruptions like Brexit, climate-related disasters, the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, most manufacturers agree that their decades-long reliance on low-cost supplies and minimal inventory can no longer work in today’s dynamic and turbulent world. Also, concerns over worker health and safety have exposed the shortcomings of manual processes.

Manufacturers need to rethink their operations and supply chains; even those that implement Lean manufacturing need to calibrate it for agility.

Those that managed to pivot their operations during the pandemic to work around constraints and meet changing demand are the ones that have deployed digital transformation across their operations and value network.

In response to disruptions, manufacturers need to modernize, optimize and automate to reduce reliance on manual and labor-intensive operations that are difficult to redeploy when disruptions hit. This will also help them achieve optimal health, safety and environment (HSE) for their workers and operations.

Is it possible that recent disruptions have highlighted a positive potential for manufacturers? 

Yes, I think manufacturers now have a golden opportunity to reorient their operations and supply chains. It has also pushed companies to adopt smart manufacturing and accelerate their digital journey.

The recent pandemic has driven leading organizations to assess their ability to pivot quickly in response to disruptions or new opportunities, re-assess their manufacturing strategies and supply chain performance as well as look into increasing resiliency. Some organizations are intently looking at relocating operations nearer to the end-customers to protect themselves against disruptions and comply with regulatory mandates.

The Virtual Twin Experience can play a significant role in these scenarios. Companies can utilize virtual models to understand what is possible in the virtual world before they take action in the real world.

That includes ensuring worker safety, which is now under increased scrutiny due to the pandemic’s impact. Companies also have the ability to fully simulate the end-to-end factory flow, which covers processes, workers, materials and machines. This helps them drive new flexibility and productivity into their physical operations on a continuous basis, which increases their business resilience.

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform transforms the manufacturing experience in four ways: 

  • Collaborate
    Engage all parties on an integrated business platform to ensure business continuity.
  • Model
    Use virtual twin experience to model manufacturing assets, facilities, products and processes to address current and future challenges. 
  • Optimize
    Optimize supply chain planning to enhance transparency and efficiency.
  • Perform
    Leverage the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to deliver the right data, at the right time, at the right place with a higher level of visibility and safety.

What can manufacturers do to face future disruptions and thrive when “business as usual” stems from practices that have been ossified for decades?

They need to look at the complete ecosystem of manufacturing processes, operations and supply chain. The focus has to shift from low-cost inventory and manufacturing to agility, adaptability and resilience to disruptions.

Manufacturers can achieve this by making data actionable. We know that data insights are crucial for flexible and resilient supply chains that can move rapidly to meet shifts in market demands and customer requirements. But aggregating and making sense of the data requires the right digital solution. I’ve touched on it in the previous point, but here are some specifics on how they can perform.

First, manufacturers can model a virtual twin of the factory on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to design the production shop floor for resilience and model scenarios and test out potential responses to disruptions.

Second, they can optimize planning and scheduling as well as adopt Lean manufacturing, automation and robotics to raise efficiency and create leaner, more resilient operations.

Third, stakeholders can collaborate with our integrated business platform and build a flexible ecosystem of suppliers and partners to handle shortfalls in raw materials and parts. Flexible networks will help companies foresee what will happen and pivot rapidly to changing market demand. From our experience, flexible supply chains and optimization can expand output capacity by 15 to 20 percent.

How have our manufacturing customers pivoted their production to respond to supply chain disruptions and changing customer demand?

The Australian company B&R enclosures designs and produces electrical enclosures. It utilized Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform to keep its business running during COVID-19 by enabling remote collaboration between teams.

On the other hand, Inali, an Indian startup, used the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to collaborate with designers, healthcare professionals and engineering mentors from the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab OPEN COVID-19 online community to fast-track ventilators development.

Cloud-based digital applications enabled the Inali team to design a 3D model of the smart ventilator and then engineer, simulate, manufacture and validate its prototype.

Together, they took just eight days to develop a safe and affordable “smart ventilator” that could be quickly manufactured locally with readily available and lower-cost parts.

What is the journey ahead for manufacturers using digital tools to predict future disruptions and help with contingency planning?

The IIoT will play a central role in the factories of the future. We will see the growing utilization of virtual twins amongst manufacturers, with expanding use of IIoT sensors and devices as well as artificial intelligence (AI) in manufacturing plants.

These technology tools will help manufacturers to analyze internal and external data, better optimize existing processes, model risk scenarios, deploy early warning technologies and develop pre-programmed responses. The Virtual Twin Experience will become even more valuable in increasing operational efficiency and flexibility.

Digital collaboration and real-time visibility is an important step to achieving flexibility. Cloud-based digital collaboration enhances information sharing, improving the quality and speed of decision-making within the organization and across the supply chain network. These cloud-based capabilities are an integral part of our 3DEXPERIENCE solution.  

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