Bjorn Andersson

Manufacturing 4.0: Getting Ready for the Data-Driven Future

Blog Post created by Bjorn Andersson Employee on Oct 5, 2018

Accelerate with Data at the Center of New Approaches to Addressing Key Challenges

By Bjorn Andersson, Senior Director, Global IoT Marketing at Hitachi Vantara


Manufacturing 4.0, the era of the 4th Industrial revolution with the promise of cyber-physical systems, is redefining industry boundaries and opening a new world of opportunities for manufacturers. At the center of this new world is data –from a byproduct of processes, it has emerged as a key enabler to the “insights economy”. Once organizations have figured out how to acquire, manage and store it, the next strategic imperative is to put the data to work - prepare it, model processes, and draw predictive and prescriptive inferences from it. From business model innovations to insights on the shop-floor, data-science is changing paradigms of the past.


As a global conglomerate, the Hitachi Group of companies has its roots in manufacturing, supporting large infrastructure projects, driving social innovation, and is a trusted supplier to several industry sectors. We at Hitachi also face challenges similar to that of our customers in our own business.


Manufacturing Challenges – Old Constraints, New Approaches

Industry is grappling with new transformative forces, new competition, and challenging business models. Simultaneously they have to deal with the familiar old challenges: increasing costs, unplanned downtime, aging infrastructures, and disconnected assets.


In addition to managing traditional pressures, the manufacturing industry now also has to keep up with the dramatically shifting landscape ushered in by Manufacturing 4.0. Buyer preferences are also shifting from product centric to outcome based services. How do we handle this two-speed change? For example, automakers can offer mobility-as- a-service for customers, but still have to manage margin pressures on traditional product lines. In fact, manufacturers have traditionally used data to drive operational efficiencies. Yet the ability to manage and draw meaningful insights from big data and finding new ways to bring value to customers will be critical in the future. Data science tools and new approaches to leveraging artificial intelligence (AI)/ machine learning (ML) can provide “insights at scale”.


Navigating the Journey – Data Science to the Rescue

To keep pace with the shift to Manufacturing 4.0, you need next-generation data science that can draw insights from your stranded assets and data silos with seamless, edge-to-cloud technologies. But data science can be incredibly complicated, and most companies don’t have the resources to scale true data science across their entire enterprise. Fortunately, some solution providers have democratized the data science landscape by offering scalable, easy-to deploy solutions. Partnering with a provider who can guide you, step by step, from visualization through improvements, all the way to your next-generation business models is essential. With an end-to-end solution, you can gain quality improvements in your plant and integrate with customer’s supply chains to provide value beyond the shop floor.


“At Hitachi Vantara, we bring a partnership approach to helping our customers through their digital manufacturing transformation journey. In a rapidly evolving industrial environment, data that can optimize manufacturing is often in silos – but truly valuable insights are created by integrating existing operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) systems. Our expertise in sensor technology, data-science, analytics, and AI/ML combined with our deep domain knowledge enables us to drive innovative transformations.”

—John Magee, Vice President Product and Solutions Marketing, Hitachi Vantara.



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Mr Toshiaki Higashihara, President and CEO, Hitachi Ltd.,  being escorted by Mr John Magee, VP Product and Solution Marketing, Hitachi Vantara, while reviewing manufacturing solutions at the Hitachi NEXT 2018 event at San Diego.


Uncharted Territory – Proceed With Confidence

When you’re embarking on your journey to Manufacturing 4.0, you need the confidence that your partner will help overcome challenges unique to your situation. Manufacturing has traditionally been cost-driven, but the transformation journey has to accelerate. With the backing of data science, you can be sure you’ll get the most value from your existing systems and historic data and then proceed into the future with confidence. There is value in uncovering insights, IoT supported by proven approaches can help harvest the right new data streams. Video based analytics and data-science based approaches for anomaly detection can solve quality problems and unlock “hidden” capacities. Co-creation approaches leveraging “sprints” can establish quick wins that embolden operations to move away from their comfort zones, one successful project at a time.


“Hitachi Vantara brings together cutting-edge research from across the globe. The Hitachi Global Center for Social Innovation works together with customers to address known and hidden issues, leveraging and integrating Hitachi's broad technology portfolio as well as its experience in operations to provide real-world solutions that provide productivity gains that could not have been previously achieved.”

—John Murphy, Vice President of Unified Offering Management, Hitachi Vantara.

Solving Real-World Problems for Smart Manufacturers

When your organization is ready to begin the journey, select a solution provider with experience helping manufacturers achieve the benefits of Manufacturing 4.0. Look for a provider that has invested in next-generation technologies, research and development, one with the ability to leverage your existing systems to create meaningful solutions that solve real-world problems.


On Manufacturing Day, Hitachi Vantara is proud to reaffirm its commitment to our manufacturing customers’ transformation. With a proven solutions approach and innovative co-creation services, Hitachi Vantara can help your organization achieve a smooth, successful transformation.


Read about Hitachi's commitment to Manufacturing and celebration of Manufacturing Day in the latest blog by Brad Surak, Chief Product and Strategy Officer at Hitachi Vantara: "Open the Doors to Your Manufacturing Future"


Learn more about Hitachi Vantara’s Industrial IoT solutions for manufacturers.


See how co-creation services can accelerate your transformation.