Lighthouse factories – Origin, Progress, best practices and road ahead

What are Lighthouses? 

During The World Economic Forum’s 13th Annual Meeting, added ten new factories to the Lighthouse Network, a WEF initiative launched in 2018 in collaboration with McKinsey to identify and highlight manufacturers at the forefront of implementing technologies enabling the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The term “lighthouse” refers to the fact that these factories can serve as beacons for the many thousands of others worldwide that are still attempting to implement technologies such as artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing, and advanced analytics, as well as overcome challenges associated with upgrading existing production systems.

There are currently 90 ‘Lighthouses,’ the world’s most sophisticated enterprises that are paving the way for the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s acceptance.

Lighthouse Progress with Industry 4.0

Manufacturing has endured a decade of stagnant productivity and fragmented demand; hence, innovation is long overdue. Where Fourth Industrial Revolution innovations have been scaled beyond the pilot stage, remarkable efficiency gains have occurred with little job displacement.

However, the majority of businesses seem to be trapped in “pilot purgatory.”

These lighthouse factories illustrate how forward-thinking technology engagement may result in a better, cleaner world via increased production efficiency. Similarly, they demonstrate how Fourth Industrial Technology used at scale has the potential to revolutionize the nature of work through upskilling and engaging human employees while minimizing displacement.

Three technology megatrends – connectivity, intelligence, and adaptable automation—are driving a Fourth Industrial Revolution paradigm change in manufacturing:

  1. Connectivity: establishes connections between isolated network nodes, boosting visibility 
  2. Intelligence: automatically recognises and interprets events for decision-making
  3. Flexible automation: Incorporates reaction mechanisms, automation, and remote mobility

Adoption of technology at a large scale may have a profound effect on companies. A closer examination of one of these three megatrends demonstrates how potent this influence may be.

Lighthouse Best Practices

  1. Scalability is a possibility. 

The use of 4IR technologies at a large scale is essential for long-term development. But, what exactly is the key to growing success? The vast majority of businesses are stuck in pilot purgatory, unable to go forward because of antiquated working methods or a lack of innovation.

What strategies have lighthouses used to effectively navigate the Fourth Industrial Revolution? The solution is twofold: agility and the development of the workforce.

First and foremost, these organizations have adopted agile methods of working. As a result, they have been able to deploy 4IR technologies throughout their production networks and value chains quite fast. Because lighthouses have transformed their operations to optimize flexibility and adaptation, they have created an environment that encourages new thinking and dynamic methods. This allows for greater sensitivity to variations in supply, demand, and consumer expectations, among other things.

Second, lighthouses take the advancement of their employees seriously. Workers are more prepared and more productive in a 4IR environment when they get training, reskilling, and upskilling—which includes teaching new skills for future occupations. With a focus on inclusive development, lighthouses ensure that people remain at the core of their 4IR transitions, ensuring that operators have the chance to reach their full potential in order to construct the inventive, creative future at the heart of redesigned industry. Effective employee involvement is critical to effective scaling, and scaling is crucial for 4IR technologies to achieve rapid development and expansion.

2. Agility is Critical

The agile technique is seeing a rebirth in manufacturing. This is particularly true for lighthouses. While agile may be applied in a number of ways, the lighthouses’ view of agile is characterized by a focus on cross-functional cooperation and rapid, continuous iteration.

The agile approach was implemented across that impacted various dimensions 

Systems for managing business processes

  • Individual systems
  • Internet of Things/Data Systems

Each lighthouse incorporates at least twenty digital technology use cases. Each of these use cases originated as a small-scale pilot or a single building component and matured only via extensive testing and iteration.

]Investment in Human Capital must be made in conjunction with investment in technology

Lighthouses engage in employee transformation. Various human-centric techniques were employed:

  • Empowering frontline employees with the ability to innovate via the use of technology and data
  • Proactively developing technical and soft competencies, as well as managing talent development
  • Restructuring the organization to facilitate Industry 4.0 transition
  • Adopting new modes of operation, such as agile, and increasing transparency
  • Automating and technologically enhancing routine assembly and operating duties
  • Enhancing frontline problem-solving and teamwork

Lighthouses that invested extensively in their employees had increased employee engagement and project success

3. Sustainable (Green) Manufacturing 

Three of the Lighthouses are named Sustainability Lighthouses, which will recognize factories and value chains that have achieved advances in sustainability and productivity.

Incorporating cutting-edge technologies such as robots and artificial intelligence, more than half of all the network’s factories are making a difference in the future of manufacturing and environmental sustainability by transforming their operations.

For example, a consumer healthcare firm is combining sophisticated controls with green technology to deploy a sensor-fed automated system to reduce energy usage, resulting in a 25 percent decrease in energy consumption and an 18 percent reduction in CO2 emissions, according to the company.

However, profitability and sustainability do not have to be mutually exclusive. As sustainability becomes an increasingly relevant problem in manufacturing, it’s critical to recognize that these measures are often beneficial to the company.

4.IoT architecture designed for scalability—

The lighthouses have an IoT architecture that is designed for scalability and interoperability. All data is centralized in a single data lake, and application interfaces are standardized.

For eg – Micron’s high-volume advanced semiconductor memory manufacturing facility created an integrated Internet of Things (IoT) and analytics platform to help it lead the next wave of efficiency improvement. In addition to allowing production abnormalities to be recognized in real-time, automated root-cause analysis allows for faster new product ramp-up by 20%, reduced unplanned downtime by 30%, and increased labor efficiency by 20%.

What is ahead for manufacturers?

To prevent greater inequality, public and private leaders must behave responsibly. They can shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution and reduce risks by being proactive.

Workplaces should employ technologies that augment rather than replace human operators, allowing them to concentrate on tasks that need their distinctive human talents of decision-making and adaptation to new conditions.

To develop a mobile workforce that can profit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s potential, the commercial and public sectors must retool education systems and engage in training as well as lifelong learning.

Technologies should be widely distributed across regions and involve SMEs –  So firms should spread Fourth Industrial Revolution technology throughout their whole supply chain, including emerging economies and small suppliers. This will not only increase overall outcomes but also knowledge distribution.

Solve the climate change problem using 4IR technologies— According to a recent IPCC estimate, emissions must be reduced by 45 percent by 2030 to keep global warming below 1.5°C. So enterprises should use #Industry40 technologies to save energy, enhance productivity, minimize waste and emissions, and improve overall competitiveness.

According to ARC and other studies, many Industry 4.0 initiatives never go past a pilot in one walled portion of the company, preventing organizations from achieving true digital transformation. Mads Lauritzen, managing partner, North Asia Industrial IoT Hub, cited statistics that 71% of organizations generate an isolated use case, 26% generate use cases related to a location, and only 3% generate use cases transforming the company.

We need to get out of our comfort zones. Leaders must take a lead from these Lighthouse factories and create blueprints for Digital transformation. 

How can Makoro assist?

Makoro™ optimizes industrial supply chain processes by offering continuous insight through Makoro™ Mind, the data-driven core that utilizes IoT, Digital Twin, artificial intelligence, and advanced analytics to make recommendations that improve operations performance.

Additionally, Makoro™ leverages the customer’s current infrastructure (with no preference for Edge, Cloud, or On-Premise) and integrates easily with the customer’s existing private/public/hybrid cloud, on-premise, and edge systems.

The Recommendations Dashboard showcases Makoro™’s continuing value to customers’ operations by linking the real-time asset, maintenance, and workforce metrics with recommendation sentiment, acceptance, confidence, relevance, and novelty.

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