The wheel of smart manufacturing

When things get busy or when you focus energy on a special project, it’s easy to get out of balance and not pay enough attention to other important aspects of your business or life.

If you focus too much on digitizing specific parts of your business without making it really deliver results, the same applies.

For example, are you too busy making the shop floor paperless while sales and work preparation should be getting more attention, resulting in the wrong things being sold and things still going wrong in production?

While focus is necessary to get things done, going too far can lead to frustration and stagnation, resulting in tunnel vision.

At this point, it is time to take a “helicopter view” of your progress to bring things back into balance.

Smart factories are like a bicycle wheel

The“Wheel of Life” concept was introduced in the 1960s and is widely used by coaches.

In short: imagine your business spinning like a bicycle wheel.

When the wheel turns smoothly and evenly, it builds speed and creates momentum, keeping the business running smoothly. In short, the business is running like clockwork!

However, if the wheel is not balanced, it will be difficult to build up speed, resulting in a bumpy ride. If one or more spokes of the wheel are too small, you will fall behind the competition.

The 6 spokes of the digital factory

You can also use it on that bike to assess a smart factory.

  • Sales and Pricing: How are prices smartly determined? Are you attracting the right customers through marketing channels and portals/hubs? To what extent is this process automated?
  • Engineering and work preparation: to what extent is CAD data management organized? Are there automated workflows to go from 3D-STEP assemblies to BOMs (bills of materials) and production files?
  • Planning: Are you already planning with real-time data aligned with actual capacity? Can you use historical data to make your planning better? Can this all be done automatically?
  • Data and Business Intelligence: Do you already have a good system in place to maximize the value of your data? For example, do you know where you generate the most revenue? Can you extract insights from your data about your customers?
  • Paperless Workplace: Can employees already access all their information digitally? Is quality recorded automatically and easily accessible? Can the machines communicate with the software systems, making paper obsolete?
  • Administration and ERP: Are ongoing administrative processes automated? Are there links to all personnel-related issues, such as human resources, accounting and logistics?
The Wheel of Life Balance

“How smooth would my ride be if the wheels represented the score above?”

(source image: Art of Living)

Getting Started

Now that you’ve learned about the Wheel of Smart Production and its six different segments, it’s time to create your own version of the wheel.

Use the six segments – Sales and Pricing, Engineering and WVB, Planning, Data and Business Intelligence, Paperless Shop Floor, and Administration and ERP – to create a visual representation of the different aspects of your business.

Rate each segment on a scale of 1 to 10 to evaluate your company’s digital maturity in each area. Identify the segments where your company is strong and those where improvement is needed.

Good luck and have fun cycling!

PS Need help? Easily schedule a call appointment in my calendar!

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