- Improving the competitiveness of the Siemens Group’s production facilities and its customers
- Standardizing communication protocols between the product and its environment
- Safeguarding the security of digital data
- Changing the focus of thousands of operators to value-added activities that require creativity, experience and analytical thinking
Antoine Garibal, Director of Development and Strategy, Siemens France
For our teams, we've switched to high added-value tasks requiring creativity, experience, adaptation and analysis for making the right decisions. The human is and will remain at the heart of the factory of the future, to plan and drive this industry revolution.
Interview with Antoine Garibal, Director of Development and Strategy, Siemens France
What does the digital transformation of factories mean for Siemens?
Digital transformation, first of all, means applying best market practices within our production sites. For example, the seamless transfer of data from engineering to industrialization and then to production. Among other things, this avoids the long and costly process of re-entering data.
This transformation also helps us to reduce the time to market* of our automation solutions and software. This is a major market demand, and we must address it. Lastly, with regard to how we run our factories, digital transformation should give us greater production flexibility and greater capacity to handle increasingly varied products, with savings in terms of materials and energy.
What have you done to make your digital transformation a success?
Although the industry 4.0 concept is a recent one, our digital transformation started some 20 years ago in our R&D centers. They were advocating integrated solutions to create a data continuum and so avoid disruptions to our own factories and those of our customers. This transformation now dictates new factory practices, based on new principles of communication between the product being made and the environment that shapes it. We have, therefore, made investments to increase the productivity of our sites through the automation and digitization of our manufacturing processes, such as in Amberg in Germany, our factory of the future showcase site. Furthermore, a digital model helps us anticipate, schedule and monitor the life cycle of each product component throughout its production.
Naturally, our teams in France, specifically at Vélizy and in the Lyon region, are stakeholders in this transformation. Their tasks have been refocused on those with the highest added value and require creativity, operational feedback and the analytical capacity for making the right decisions. The digital transformation should therefore bring greater fulfillment and competitiveness to our teams’ working environment.
What financial return are you seeing?
These major investments are yielding a very positive financial return. Specifically with the reduction in time to market, we are seeing greater production flexibility and improved efficiency of our production sites, with the optimization of their resources and their energy equation.
What do you expect from a provider such as Orange Business Services?
Implementation of the factory of the future, for Siemens and for our customers, first and foremost requires reliable and affordable industrial-grade networks. This is one of the key skills of Orange Business Services. As a solution supplier, we need integration partners. Indeed, the integration of production cycle data and the standardization of communication protocols between the product and its production environment are significant challenges in digital transformation. We also require interoperability and standards convergence to reassure our customers about the longevity of our solutions and provide them with the visibility to invest with confidence. Orange Business Services can certainly help us with this standardization. Lastly, we must address the challenge of cybersecurity together.
The challenge of the digital factory comes down to the integration of data from the various software programs and components that make up the industrial cycle. We need to have integration partners to support us in implementing Siemens hardware and software to meet both our own requirements and those of our customers.
* Time between the decision to design a new product and its market launch