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What it takes to realise smart manufacturing and logistics

Nurdianah Md Nur | June 30, 2016
Speakers at the Computerworld Singapore Manufacturing and Logistics Forum 2016 provided tips on digital transformation specific to those two industries.

As for blockchain, it has "the potential to radically transform multi-party business networks, enabling significant cost, risk reduction and innovative new business models," she asserted. This is because blockchain is a shared replicated ledger that can only be updated with the consent of the majority of the participants and the information can never be erased. It can thus be used as a secure and transparent way to digitally track the ownership of assets. For instance, an organisation can use blockchain to enable an open, trusted supply chain. This not only allows the organisations to provide the information needed by regulators, but also meets consumers' demand to know where and how the products are made, Ang exemplified.

Challenges of digital transformation
In the panel discussion, the panelists unanimously agreed that people -- in terms of lack of skills and resistance to changes -- was the biggest challenge to their digital transformation journeys. "Out of the three keys for transformation (ie. people, process and technology), people is the toughest to change and manage but they are important as they greatly impact processes and technology," Priti Jauhari, IT Director of Johnsons and Johnsons, Singapore, explained.

To counter the 'people challenge', organisations "need to be adaptable to enable its employees to explore different technologies, as well as recruit younger employees [to tap into their ideas and technological know hows]," said Clara Lee, Group Information Solution, Business Partner, DSM Engineering Plastic.   

Security was also cited as another challenge to digital transformation. However, Ohlsson said that security challenges are manageable. "The most dangerous threat is users not managing security. To counter that, we assess user behaviours such as identifying anomaly behaviours when employees are accessing sensitive data on mobile devices," he explained.

Meanwhile, Lee believes in "constantly educating" the employees about security. "Organisations need to teach employees what threats to look out for and how to react. Besides that, they should test their employees to reinforce those learnings," she said.

Digital transformation done right: Harley Davidson, Tetra Pak, and ST Logistics
Delegates also heard from three companies on how they have used technology to successfully transform their business in a bid to futureproof themselves.  

The first company was Harley Davidson Motor Company, which faced global governance issues and connectivity challenges in its plant in Bawal, India, as not all parts of India provides stable connections. By modernising its IT infrastructure, the company managed to automate its pre delivery inspection process and reduce regulatory risk, thus improving its dealer process quality assurance process in the Bawal plant.

In addition, following the acquisition of New Castalloy in Adelaide, Harley Davidson needed to ensure that the former's independent domain was connected to its network. To do so, it rolled out Office 365 across its global network to achieve seamless email integration of all its plants, and improved collaboration and communication in its workforce by leveraging Lync/Skype for Business.


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