The global pandemic has perpetuated a paradigm shift impacting the industrial machinery industry. The result is palpable in supply chain disruptions, onshoring, early retirements and remote working, triggering new challenges for machine builders.
Machine builder challenges
Some of the most significant issues machine builders are addressing include:
Complexity: A couple of years ago, the demand for industrial machinery was optimum, with global manufacturing flourishing. Machine builders were nearing total capacity in tackling new projects; however, there was a demand for more complexity. Manufacturers now require flexible, agile, multi-functional machines, stimulating machine builders to create the ideal machine in a short timeline while adhering to customer requirements. This trend accelerates the global pandemics’ production, mobility, and staffing issues.
Global competition and staffing: After COVID hit, competition within the industrial machinery space increased significantly as stress factors grew exponentially. Many businesses capitalized on evolving market needs in response to shortages and surges among machine-reliant industries. Subsequently, there were also staffing shortages. Another drawback to the pandemic was a job exodus of retiring baby boomers and a workplace infrastructure shift with remote working, promoting staff mobility and transitioning job roles. Machine builders respond to these shortages using contractors and international engineering teams to support domestic operations.
Profitability: A machine builder needs to satisfy orders and turn a profit; otherwise, it is a threat to the future. Outdated processes are often attributed to order mishaps and missing deadlines, while pandemic trends are causing significant disruptions in the orders process. This scenario can possess travel restrictions that force companies to adopt virtual commissioning and remote service processing to supply chain disruptions, further delaying incorporation of materials in a machine’s build. So, many machine builders must rethink their business models to address these profitability obstacles aggressively.
Machine builders must utilize cost-effective, cloud-based product digitalization and project information through an innovative software solution. Even modest investments in digitalization can yield more business to address machine complexity and profitability of projects. Siemens Digital Industries Software suite enables the company to reuse past projects, including machine designs, time optimization, quality and cost savings.
A blended digital approach uses templates that allow machine builders to digitalize their business processes and transition to modular machines to meet customer requirements. Also, a blended Engineered-To-Order and Configure-To-Order methodology allows machine builders to tackle product complexity to store, sort, locate and reuse project data in one cloud-based system. Responding to commissioning and servicing equipment needs, manufacturers can leverage their cloud platform to conduct changes whenever, from anywhere, in a shared environment to streamline builds. This benefit automates tasks, engineers predictable machines and completes more orders, bringing them to market faster while increasing profits.
Integrating cloud-based project management tools with engineering applications transforms the quote-to-delivery process. Project management tools provide real-time dashboards, reports and analytic functions to help machine builders complete projects. Organizations gain an extra layer of transparency into a projects’ progress through these tools while gaining traceability. The most significant benefit of project management tools is integration capabilities with other systems such as Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software that allows project data to be found, shared and scaled across the organization, leading to superior remote collaboration. Subsequently, organizations can source staff worldwide to support domestic operations.
Machine builders often complete many orders simultaneously, juggling customer requirements and data files across disparate systems. Leveraging a cloud-based design management program that integrates with project management tools promotes greater harmony in the organizational ecosystem. Machine builders can store and reuse files in one location, concurrently capturing and incorporating design feedback from several internal and external stakeholders to create the most effective machines and avoid delays or higher costs. By incorporating feedback early in the design process, machine builders can justify supply chain issues and can source materials from other vendors as needed.
In conclusion, machine builders address many challenges but adopt a change management mindset to overcome bottlenecks and capitalize on digital tools for significant efficiency.*
Siemens’ software solutions
Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio helps companies of all sizes create and leverage digital twins that provide organizations with new insights, opportunities, and automation levels to drive innovation.
Siemens Digital Industries Software – where today meets tomorrow