Helping Manufacturing Companies Succeed in their Digital Transformation Journey

By Andrea Mulas, VP Partner Alliances Americas, Siemens Digital Industry Software and Omprakash Rathi, Senior Practice Manager, HCL PLM Center of Excellence

To say that digitalization is permanently changing the manufacturing business would be an understatement. Many manufacturing organizations are turning to innovative digital solutions in response to the unrelenting increase in product complexity. They recognize that digitalization is critical to success in today’s market.

Digitalization differentiates organizations from their competitors, allowing them to advance when other companies are falling behind. This post discusses how low-code platforms like Siemens Mendix and an implementation partner like HCL Technologies are helping manufacturers as they move forward with their digitalization journey.

Drivers for Digitalization

Many factors are driving the move toward digitalization. Manufacturing companies need to bring products to market faster while also addressing stringent product requirements. Modern products are already complex, and only getting more so—and companies are now expected to produce many variants to meet customer-specific and market-specific demands. Companies must rely on electrification, system integration, and software to build these complex products.

Product quality is paramount. But, in today’s world, maintaining a good reputation is also important. Companies are working to eliminate unnecessary service costs and product recalls to maintain customer loyalty. Yet, there are far too many examples of product recalls in the manufacturing industry, ranging from high-tech, consumer items to medical devices. It is vital that companies build quality into their product development process from day one to prevent these failures.

Finally, globalization also plays a role in driving digitalization. Companies must commonly deal with global suppliers, a global workforce, and global competition. The need to collaborate and communicate effectively across global engineering teams is essential to a company’s success—and the traditional methods used to share and collect information just won’t cut it. They are simply too time-consuming and prone to errors. Is it any wonder companies are looking for new ways of collecting, absorbing, and using digital data?

Role of Digitalization in Navigating the Enterprise Application Landscape

Before we get into the new ways companies can collect and use data to help with product development, it is important to look at the enterprise application landscape to understand what data it provides and where that information comes from.

Modern manufacturing organizations manage their business with a variety of different solutions, including product lifecycle management (PLM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), and other, homegrown systems. These solutions create a massive amount of data, yet they require multiple point-to-point integrations to exchange that data.

Contrary to what many think, digitalization is not just about creating more data. Manufacturing companies are already quite adept at that. It is about seamlessly getting the data to the right places so it can be analyzed and distilled into insights that help stakeholders make better, more informed business decisions. Ideally, companies will also harness that data to predict unfavorable events and respond to them.

When done correctly, digitalization helps companies improve productivity in every stage of product development. This, in turn, enables companies to reduce delays, manage costs, and get products to market faster, ultimately improving their profitability.

Need for Low-Code Platforms

Manufacturing organizations use many solutions to help run their businesses. That is not going to change. Companies can benefit from a common platform that connects those various solutions to form a digital thread. Typically, companies want this digital thread to span departments including design, manufacturing, program management, procurement, and product technical support.

When companies have this kind of digital platform, they can automate key processes. Stakeholders can access, share, and manage important product and process-related data. And they can do so at any time from anywhere.

Manufacturers can build such a platform using a low-code platform technology. More importantly, they can build, deploy, and manage these platforms with less information technology (IT) investment.

Siemens Mendix is one such technology. It is a powerful low-code application development platform that can help manufacturing organizations develop and deploy applications quickly. With its ready-to-use connectors, Mendix can easily integrate existing solutions, bringing in data from applications ranging from PLM to CRM. Using Mendix, executives can access the data they need to make informed decisions in real time.

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Siemens Mendix: A Key Enabler for Digitalization

Any manufacturing company that is adopting digitalization will face challenges in collecting and managing product data from multiple sources. When one considers a complex production process involving a number of different systems, suppliers, geographies, the challenge only grows. Manufacturers that have successfully used the Siemens Mendix platform to digitalize have done so in the following ways:

  • Integrated program/project management: Companies may already manage their program and project plans in a new product introduction (NPI) tool. By adding an application created with Mendix, they can also incorporate all product development data from their PLM solution, too.
  • Manufacturing engineering: Companies can create a Mendix app to manage and collaborate with all suppliers during the manufacturing process.
  • PLM Lightweight users: Companies can use a Mendix app to search, view product data and enable approval/rejection at different stages of product development.
  • Smart Applications: Companies can use a Mendix app to collect data from multiple solutions in order to perform specific validations using artificial intelligence / machine learning (AI/ML).
  • Digital thread: Companies can also use a Mendix app to build a digital thread, connecting diverse enterprise-level applications like PLM, ERP, CRM, and manufacturing execution systems (MES).

Combining HCL Technologies’ Implementation Expertise and Siemens Mendix

Manufacturing organizations can use Mendix to build mobile applications and web portals with the goal of extending their engineering process out into the field. They can use these applications and portals to connect with customers, suppliers, partners, and employees on the move. They can also use these tools to close gaps in the digital thread. But this doesn’t begin to give you the complete picture of possibilities. Many organizations have a wealth of legacy data, as well as custom-made solutions, that provide services that are to their businesses. Mendix can also integrate these homegrown systems into the digital thread.

This is where HCL can help manufacturing companies as they move through their digital transformation journey with Siemens Mendix. With strong expertise in multiple domains like aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, consumer packaged goods, electronics, and medical industries, HCL offers consulting services and helps organizations implement different Mendix solutions. Companies can partner with HCL to build quick pilot projects in Mendix Experience Center. This allows them to see the power of Mendix and to understand the benefits of working with a knowledgeable and skilled partner like HCL.

HCL also help customers re-platforming the legacy applications on Mendix Platform or help in developing connector to get data from legacy system to enable digital transformation depending upon the initial assessment / study.

HCL has more than 100 Mendix-certified solution consultants on staff and boasts over 25 large-scale Mendix implementations for a diverse set of customers. When manufacturing organizations partner with HCL to further their digitalization efforts with Siemens Mendix, they can take their digital transformation journeys to the next level.

Find more about Siemens Mendix and its application in Manufacturing here.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at