Optimizing Smart Manufacturing for Low Touch Economic Disruption

Benni Lopez

US Market CEO & Global Managing Director - Industrial at Softtek

José Tam

Digital Transformation Vice President at Softtek

Learning Objectives

World Economic Forum 2021 proposes a “Great Reset” across all business boundaries & dimensions. Softtek Low Touch Consulting “LTC” offers an innovation model for the new state of our economy, permanently altered by Covid-19. This disruption is creating new winners and is characterized by a frictionless flow of value models at the center of transformation. Through Softtek’s value-based client partnership model, our “LTC” offers new models of frictionless manufacturing operations. Examples include: paperless integrated systems; best-in-class linking ERP, MES, SCM and intelligent data acquisition; cognitive enterprise-wide use of predictive models; transforming plant safety operations with kiosks, touchless platforms.

"If we want to be a digital disruptor, we need to approach different operational excellence and customer experiences."

Benni Lopez

US Market CEO & Global Managing Director - Industrial at Softtek

José Tam

Digital Transformation Vice President at Softtek


Hello, good morning. On behalf of Softtek, thank you very much for joining us. We’re going to share with you our lessons learned on optimizing Smart Manufacturing for low-touch economic disruption. 

The agenda we will follow, we will divide it into two parts. In the first part, I will do it. My name is Jose Tam. I am Vice President for Data Transformation. And, the second part will be by our Managing Director, Benny Lopez. 

We want to share with you first what we have learned because of the pandemic. In the first quarter of last year, I believe the whole world never imagined what we are going to live. And even today, we are still suffering the impacts of the economic disruption when that we had back in April, an innovation consulting boutique called, Board of Innovation, based in Silicon Valley. 

They shared a paper called “The Low Touch Economy”. And, what they were sharing is that a really different series of health and safety measures that the different countries or states and companies have used in order to contain the pandemic has really led to different behavior shifts. I believe that we never imagined staying at home that much time or minimizing to go to the office. Of course, people want to be safe, and people are afraid of getting contagious by another person and get out. And if we get out, we have a mask. And, also we will contain some social distancing. And of course, the public spaces have been closed. Even at the office, we maintain the distancing and we have a capacity of not many people all together in a public space. So all these changes have really created an economic disruption. 

Because customers in the b2c market are not going to the shopping centers in order to buy. And of course, in the b2b world, the different service sales service representative, they are not going because they are not able to visit their customers, and everything is done online. If your company has developed a data channel, they, of course, have a way to connect and interact with the customers. But there has been a lot of different people that have suffered because of this, mainly in the industries of entertainment, hospitality, airlines, for example. And then all the others have been suffering in a different percentage the impact different analysts have been trying to understand when will be the next normal, or when will be the new normal. But at the beginning, we thought it would take months. By May last year, Fortune 500 Magazine shared different statistics saying that the CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies saw that the activity to the pre-pandemic situation was going to come back by mid of 2022. And that was 58% of their responses, which is incredible, right? But at that time we were having the vision that between 2020 and 2022. We were going to have this direction. And even 38% of the CEO saw that the activity will come back just in mid-2023. And also they answered one KPI that said that using technology, they were able to really accelerate the way they could conduct and they could manage the impact of COVID-19. 

As you see in the first chart here to the left, we see that there were some technologies that were used in order to really accelerate the way that companies could recover and respond to the different changes from COVID-19. For example, there was a planned usage of advanced technologies in operations, but it was planned for over 672 days, and companies reacted earlier. And of course, they deployed in an average of 26 days. That is 25 times faster.


The same thing happened with using advanced technologies for business decision-making regarding when will be next to normal. We have the next chart that also was shared by McKinsey. And really they The impact in the different industries is different. But in the case of Manufacturing, the time in the timeframe that it will take to really recover to the pre-pandemic era will take us from 2020 to 2025. It’s very hard to also see that, for example, arts and entertainment and recreation, they will begin recovery just by 2024. And it will take probably quicker, right. But what we have learned is that no matter what was our strategy, especially for data to information, we need to update it. Why because the work has changed. Now, what has changed in the load data economy? workers change is that the way we used to have relationship with our customers, relationship between ourselves the different collaborators in the company, used to be with a relationship, we wanted to see the eyes of their person and shake hands. Now we can’t, right in the past, of course, the buyer and the seller, they, they they found the product market fit, right, the customer or the buyer, they they had a need or a problem. And they needed a solution fit for that. And the seller, or the provider had that product or solution. And of course, we shake hands and we make business. Even we learn how to analyze and understand the customer journey. And also we learn to activate different channels to have an omni channel experience for our customers, what has happened because of COVID. That, of course, people want to be safe. So the experience has changed. And it needs to be in an instance, it needs to be contactless it needs to be low touch. So we need to understand how to do this contact and these relationship in the front end with our customers with a with a wireless or a contactless, or a data channel for on it. And of course, when we learn about the customer journey, we now need to deploy low touch what we learn about omni channel, we need to get intimacy and a human touch through the tech touch of human channel, doing for example, personalization. And what happened in the value chain in the value chain. Also, of course, we had a drop in demand. Because the customer is at home. The customer is is remaining, trying to be safe at home. And of course their relationship with them was damage. Talking about the logistics inbound and outbound, of course, all the raw materials and all the manufacturer goods, they have been delayed. Why because they are priorities in the logistics priorities in order to recover from this pandemic. And of course operations. At our floorplans we have a different generation of equipments, that probably were not connected. So we couldn’t interoperate. And we needed to manage that. So there is all sorts of different disruptions in our value chain in order to tackle what’s happening.


So at stuff that we were thinking, how does low touch disruption is really impact Manufacturing. And we have learned different things. The first thing we learn is, of course, to understand our customers because our customer has changed their behavior. And they have shared their change their purchase patterns. So if we already had a customer journey, we needed to convert it to low touch. If we already had that omni channel solution, we need to personalize it. So the customer is comfortable. And they are able to really transact with us and do business with us. Of course, I’ll add the value chain, we need to optimize in order to get rid of cost and increase our profit. So we get our business model canvas and understand how can we digitalize and digitalize means optimize operations. And using technology for example, based on processes using BPM using RPA is using a process modeling, we can understand the way we can do a business process based optimization. Same thing with data, we can manage operational data, we can manage analytics, we can include some machine learning to understand the interactions of the customer and the changes in his patterns. And of course, do some cognitive services using AI in order to automate better and of course, use that data in order to have insights for all the backend optimization. And of course, understanding we need to change our value proposition for our cars. summers. If we want to be a digital disruptor, we need to approach different operational excellence and customer experience. Because we need to really integrate all our floorplan, enabling real time data collection in the different PLCs. We need to also enable augmented reality in order to have an extended reality for our our workers, and build that capability for operations. So we can even do a line or remote quality testing, for example, we need to enable the different apps we have in order to operate contactless or use near field communication, and embed that in the functionality of our apps in order to enable these low touch interaction. If we talk about the data, of course, we need to use sensors in order to automate end to end processes in all our company. And and really embed Manufacturing 4.0. Use autonomous planning for that, identify the changes in demand, and and use the sensors in order to track and trace and make functionality work automated based on that, and of course, understand our value chain and understand the Supply Chain vulnerability because of the pandemics. All these is trying to understand how we need to update our data reformation strategy. Our companies before the pandemics, we already had a strategy we already had priorities. The question is in customer sales and demand management, which is when track of priorities or in the Supply Chain and Manufacturing, or in the value chain enablement or in enterprise operations. All these four groups of Manufacturing priorities, despite we already planned them, now we need to take a look a deeper look at them. Why? Because the world has changed. Because our customers have changed, because the market is still changing.


And here are some questions we have learned we need to make ourselves in order to update our strategy. In customer sales and demand management, do we have a low dodge customer journey already enabled? Have we understood the customer behavior changes? Do we have a no touch order process? Because of the of the evolving of direct to consumer? Do we have real time replanning and our reliable online order monitoring? In order to enable e commerce? On the Supply Chain and Manufacturing? Do we have a smart integration between our Supply Chain management and our Manufacturing? Using IoT? Can we enable a flexible automation for that? Do we have an N a visualization of our control tower? In order to understand better our logistics execution? Can we connect our Manufacturing operations? In order to have a smarter logistic planning? In the value chain enablement? We need to use data in order to predict what will happen with maintenance. Now, machines are working more because they are working automated trying to minimize human intervention. And the question is, can we plan a preventive maintenance for them? Can we manage sensors in order to enable energy management? without human intervention? Can we also enabled safety? Can we make sensors learn how many employees we have? And how is the plan working? In order to have everything automated? Can we manage to do that when in order to manage everything remotely? Can we have a better human machine interaction in order to people to make it simple, friendlier, frictionless on an enterprise operation? The we have already automated our knowledge workers work. The we have already a closed loop planning. Can we do advanced profit optimization? Can we manage scenario planning? All these different questions we need to answer them in order to really enable our is Merman factoring for low data economic disruption. And what we have learned is that our work is to really propose a model where we can enable low touch with the Dell Technologies, managing digital twins, using IoT sensors, and in augmented reality and extender really take leverage of additive Manufacturing and 3d printing and of course, adding to our products, different services. Now, baby’s going to share with you what we have learned in the different project we have made over the pandemic, thank you very much.


Thank you prepare for those insights on how we can leverage the momentum created by the pandemic to accelerate the journey to integrated digital transformation, very exciting. What I’m gonna do now is what you’re through some recent case studies of how different companies are quickly deploying solutions to get fast results, or an affordable, sensible cost. My bank, my name is Benny Lopez, I’m the CEO for soft tech in North America, and are also the head of the industrial segment for company. Thank you for your time and look forward to sharing this content with you, which I hope you’ll find useful. And you can relate to some of these use cases. So I mentioned four areas to evolve in your digital transformation strategy. Starting with customer sales and demand management. This is a fun project, not only because it yields results to support the top lines, but it makes marketing and the senior leaders happy for the PR attention, it gets what started as a pilot project to cut costs on travel, and transportation turned into an accelerated program because of the pandemic. It it’s, it became almost a unique way to showcase products that otherwise would have been a problem. As you can see from the slide, this is a big company that makes big equipment, right, in this case, power generators. And one specific model is massive, right, it wouldn’t fit in a container. So we came up with this idea of having a digital version of it with augmented reality that HoloLens would take in this case. And in a matter of weeks, we built this model, that then with a client can walk around a room, they need a room that they can walk around. And the neat thing is that simultaneously, the sales rep is looking in on a laptop on a screen and the tablet, the same thing that the client is looking well while he’s walking around the room. So they can interact. And they can ask questions and answers and engage with the time differently. And, and then it accelerated us, as mentioned because of the pandemic. And now we’re in addition iterations that again, weeks that they have deployed across the Americas. And it has increased visibility and lead to new leads. And again, fast results. And interesting ROI. The secondary pepper mentioned was in the Supply Chain in Manufacturing. In this case, it’s an integration of already made investments to increase efficiencies, right, this is a large company as well, they already have deployed multiple solutions across different plants similar challenges in terms of growing through acquisitions, I’m sure in your case, as well. But in this case, we leverage the more modules of advanced planning for production planning that we have in our smart factory suite we call blade. So they were looking for a layer that could interface or a solution for the last production scheduling component that can integrate into the investments they’ve already made in terms of skaters or mbss, and connect back and forth with the AARP. So it’s a it’s a, it’s a mature environment, different degrees of maturity in each plant. But we were able to help them yield or achieve this stellar results in again, short period of time. And my main takeaway is that no matter how much you think you have made progress in your industry for the road journey, there is always incremental value that you can capture by leveraging technology and responding to less siloed solutions. I stopped that I think that I mentioned, right, we don’t want silos, we want a way to integrate everything you get, you have and get additional insights.


So a as you can see, niche platforms accelerates them to value four months. One plan at a time with a standard template. That can you’re out in different environments. This is some much more ambitious program that started probably five years ago, when this global organization, they it’s an auto policy maker, they decided to start the road to industry 401 flight on time, in multiple short term iterations to get quick or eyes. There are many components of the journey. They picked us for the light, if you will, MEMS to be able to scale across multiple number of types of Manufacturing plants. So different complexities, different maturities, 30 year old plants, 40 year plants 12. That means 10 year old plants, 20 year old plants, I mean, they’re very varied environments. So they needed a solution that could work both in very old plans with multiple types of assets, and different degrees of maturity on the management as well different levels of complexity in the assembly line, though, we were building additional functionality, as we were encountering different challenges in each plant. So we were honored to partner with them in this in this journey for our smart factory suite of solutions. So we have them Yes, production scheduling, there was mentioned this in the previous case, integrating multiple grants protocols service data, so there mbss in this case, the European client is standard this SAP and so all the integration is seamless into SAP. This is where we develop the augmented reality module for remote maintenance and support an indoor positioning system to track assets. With digitize manual work that was being done to reduce paper based and manual processes to plan we call that module the paperless factory. And as you can imagine, last year, we got increase in demand on the indoor positioning systems, augmented reality based remote maintenance and paperless factory because of the pandemic. But this is the result of a journey of going one plant at a time with incremental additional functionality added to the platform that they selected. And we partnered with them on building that platform. And the results have been have been substantial at scale. I mean, this is a big client 150 plus plants in many countries. It’s It’s an honor. Okay, I mentioned before the paperless solution, the paperless module, this is an interesting client, again, big client autopart, automotive and farm equipment savings. So given the different degrees of maturity in each plant, multiple processes rely on paper and manual processes to get down, as noted, right. inspections and audits, reporting anomalies and issues quality inspections. And the final guidelines will be execution of the production lines. As in all the cases that we’re going to be seeing, and the way we think, always think of them short term projects to do value. And get additional funding for additional iterations of that of that process. The way that we do this, a small group of consultants work with a plant manager and key stakeholders to map the processes and workflows that go on the plant. And we put it we put that digitized version on our modular solution and roll it out. And we take some additional learnings and we’re ready to go to the next plant and do the same process again and each iteration tends to be past. The additional benefit of perform from the specific benefits of each plant is that you get additional insights. Once you have at each of those process right at different levels of aggregation. That can can be viewed by different personas. So a plant manager has some benefits their regional manager can see and begin to benchmark different different plants. And very important we avoid long IT projects by leveraging a proven platform that have yielded the results that we’re seeing and with simple interfaces and feedback back and forth with the RP to avoid also manual data entry. So very interesting case. And again, quick deployment.


I love this example. This is a great samples of IoT at scale. Now, why would you want to learn from a telco in your Manufacturing environment, I see different reasons resilience and security at scale. So this is mission critical, this proves that the technology is ready. This kind if you think about it is no different than possibly some of your own environments. They grew through acquisitions. In this case, 26 different data centers, which is with the equivalent of your of Manufacturing plants, different levels of maturity and processes, infrastructures diagrams from corporate were outdated. Once we started working on the project with the cabling, sensors, and we found that the reality was very different from what they had in favor. And budgets were tight, they needed to present the business case with an ROI within the fiscal year. As mentioned, mission to grow operations allowed very, very little room for failure. So their communication, so the Communications of the clients depends on their resiliency and uptime of this of these assets. And, in the beginning, there was some, some doubt some has it, they were hesitant to move to the cloud, or a SaaS model. But in the end, nothing beats the compute and storage capabilities of the cloud, at a very relatively lower cost, much lower costs compared to on prem solutions and trying to build your own. This project, which has again, 32,000 plus assets, or devices, that needs to be monitored, was implemented in nine months. Solving all sorts of go diminishes that you can imagine. cabling sensor, the how do we get to the summer electromechanical assets, working for users for the analytics models that they needed? what if scenarios, so with our IoT platform, we were able to achieve this. And with a type of uptime, we solved that you seen that in the slight add some additional side benefits. The next example, is glass cafe section is the opportunities you have defined in the enterprise operations, right? Not necessarily in the in the Manufacturing plant. In this case, this is an auto Manufacturing, they build cars. And but some of you are responsible for digital transformation, or maybe VP of operations and have some responsibilities, or, but you need to be aware of the type of possibilities that are out there as well, that could be applicable to your client or maybe to your back office operations. And in this case, we implemented our own cognitive robotic process automation platform, to help them achieve these levels of exponential benefits. Right? Once you had digital labor, enhanced with artificial intelligence to your workforce, then you can reduce what used to take hours to minutes and accelerate the progress and increase significantly, of course, the productivity of specific processes. And again, the main difference with all platforms is the maturity of the artificial intelligence component of our solution. So it’s not a matter of simply building scripts to automate repetitive tasks that happen from the computer. I mean, it’s it’s the complexities that it requires, it reads the emails, he can log into systems input data go through different stages of approvals. All of that also is an opportunity for human error, some waste of time and resources. So this is a platform that is more resilient, that can learn through iterations and address exceptions with the help of the of the human being, and learns from those. Again, this was a six week implementation, the first and the first set of processes and we’re working for we’re going for additional iterations, working with other processes, as well. So I hope you have enjoyed the use cases. I’d like to say summarize that some of the things we’ve seen. So there are multiple opportunities for transformation, as has been discussed


different ways to engage digitally. How you can enhance the way you run your operations. You get you you need to leverage as many pre built platforms as you can for faster time to value and very important on digital innovation. It’s a continuous cycle. It never ends. You need to iterate, iterate and agree to improve. And, and their results mid and long, short, mid and long term are better in that, that approach the agile approach, as opposed to trying to boil the ocean. There are two conditional key points. So for for for this type of transformation, the biggest challenge is cultural. So how do you go from data reach to insight driven from, from everything perfect to prioritizing time to value new things fast? Even if you don’t have five decimal points right to perfection? How do you work in an environment that is not siloed? to an ecosystem that is connected? How do you start thinking about the customer, not not that your customer, we’re about customer led customer centric, it sounds easy, but it’s a tremendous challenge. To think of going from different dimensions of quote unquote traditional business to a digital business. It’s It’s It’s again, it looks simple, but it’s it’s it’s a change of mindset. To become a digital organization. I think it’s the biggest challenge, you’re missing the shift from the thinking of my business is building stuff, as efficiently and effectively as possible, and let somebody else worry about the client or selling the producing specs or whatever, to thinking about the whole thing, because the consumer is responding very differently, very rapidly changing behaviors, even more. So. I remember in late 2019, right before the pandemic, I spent the whole afternoon with the head of operations of a large foreign manufacturer, he hosted me in one of their facilities on a beautiful plant, after presentation of the processes and some of the challenges he was facing, they gave me a tool of the planning was a wonder in terms of efficiency and how they were assembling different cars in the same production line with their operations. In each station. No lesson. I mean, no more than 58 seconds for for a unit per station. All the way from the shaft is to the way to the parking lot. And, and then to the track so they could test it for support for security. Beautiful. And then he drove them before dinner, we have dinner and and we continue the conversation there that I have. So we probably spent about five hours maybe with with him. And and What amazed me, and I think is a summary of the of the challenge of the of the transformation, in thinking is that in those five hours, he did not mention the word customer runs. Not a single time. It was all about efficiencies. And that’s that’s the type of mindset that I think, is the biggest challenge that we face. So what do we have, what we have what we offer different solutions. I mean, you saw our platforms, our solutions in the use cases. But we also have a process that we follow to, to iterate different solutions. This is the innovation as a service, where we have Surprise, surprise, a platform that leverages AI, where we have a funnel where we have all the different ideas and opportunities, and we use our labs of machine learning RPI mixed reality, to come up with the solutions that we work together with the client. And then we iterate and then we pivot or we discard or then we grow at scale, right? And then we monitor which of the solutions are proving value, so that we can pinpoint where it makes sense to continue and the investments are would make sense to just leave it as it is because they have yielded what they could did and doesn’t make sense to to get any additional monitor that so. So the message is not about the platform. It’s about The process of


continuous iteration all the time. We saw different examples of twin and an IoT augmented reality extended reality reframing the way you do things within see 3d. But, but the common theme is time to value small incremental Sprint’s to provide a quick return, get funding, iterate further, as opposed to, to wanting to go big and everything. So we look forward to the scheduled one on ones that we have with you our interviews of 10 minutes the team in a minute. And what we invite you in those one wants you to discuss your priorities and potentially schedule an assessment of your digital transformation roadmap to see if it can be accelerated. So we will discuss or would like to learn about the different dimensions that you’re working on, on on reducing human duration or you’re looking to optimize operations or what what type of needs you have, we’d love to hear from you on that. And potentially, I mean, not only we can through that assessment, we learn more about your pain points, but potentially, you can accelerate to the time to value leveraging some of our solutions. I mean, this is sample of some of the pilot trials that have a relatively low cost, in some cases, no cost. For example, the augmented reality example that we saw, or the RPA processes, or that we have a framework to help you assess which processes are right for automation, or the indoor positioning system. That, that we have to track inventories or optimize or track your assets, your assembly line via assets. Or perhaps a trial with the most recent edition of our IoT platform, the prime resource optimization module, which is it’s great, especially since what happened recently in in in with those Arctic vortex that led to those massive storms that led to power outages, right. So this is a module that can help you better manage that 20% of your assets in your facilities in your plant that consume 80% of your utilities, whether it’s energy, gas, water, I mean, how can you really get the analytics and the intelligence to really maximize how you utilize those utilities by focusing on those assets that that consumed the most. So it’s a prebuilt solution, short term implementation. And I’m sure we could do interesting results for you. So this is a team. Some of you will be meeting with some of them. So they all look forward to discussing how we can help you achieve what you’re looking for in this conference. So with that, on behalf or prepare myself on the entire software team, I want to thank you for your time watching this video and I look forward to the opportunity of talking to you soon. Enjoy the rest of the conference. And we hope this has been of value to you. Have a great day. Thank you

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