Hitachi Vantara: making intelligent manufacturing happen
Hitachi Vantara is, in the words of Dev Ramchandani, Senior Director and Head of Global Manufacturing Consulting, “a global technology leader and a catalyst for sustainable societal change. We respond to global dynamic changes with insight and agility. Our unique approach helps deliver sustainable measurable business results and a better consulting experience.”
Ramchandani insists that while Industry 4.0 has been a buzzword, there are now material successes to point to. He breaks down the Hitachi Vantara view into three key areas. One: “We need to start with a business outcome or a business driven approach, not a technology driven approach. So we need to have the business objective in mind and then go ahead and identify the relevant technologies, which will help us achieve that.” Two: “We need to reimagine operations. We need to keep thinking of the technical limit in our minds, because that is what we are headed to. We need to figure out how we can disrupt the current cycle and reach there.” And three: “People. This calls for a different skill set and we need to nurture people.”
In what he calls the “five-box model” – process, mindsets, capabilities, technology, data – Ramchandani sets out his blueprint for the company’s approach to “sustainable behavioural change”, leading to sustainable impact.
Hitachi Vantara is one of RPG’s most important partnerships, and Ramchandani calls the experience of working with the manufacturing group a “pleasure”. “We at Hitachi have a very keen focus on harmony, sincerity and pioneering spirit, and these three elements are ingrained in RPG as well. Given the values were aligned, it has been an excellent journey working together.”
Two other key ingredients in the relationship are a win-win mentality and open and trust based communication.
“Values make a strong base,” Ramchandani notes, “but apart from that two other elements worth mentioning are a win-win mindset because between Hitachi and RPG it was never ‘I’m okay, you’re not okay’. That’s never going to work at all. At any given point in this partnership we have been thinking about a win-win mindset. How do we make each other successful? That has always been at the back of our minds. The second aspect, which is very critical, is open and trust-based communication. There are things which can go as-per plan, or not go according to plan. As long as we have open and trust-based communication, you can work around and find alternatives. But if that’s missing it’s very difficult to work together.”
That journey has been marked by a focus on ‘intelligent manufacturing’ leveraging a combination of business excellence methodologies, such as Lean, TPM and TQM, and technological enhancements like IoT, predictive and prescriptive analytics to better address the challenges of waste, variability and inflexibility across four key dimensions Ramchandani collectively refers to as “4M” (man, machine, material and method).
“I would say intelligent manufacturing for us is to find the next S-curve of operational excellence across the dimensions of SQPCDM (safety, quality, productivity, costs, delivery and morale). We go about doing that by addressing waste variability and flexibility. These are the core challenges, so we address waste variability and inflexibility across all the 4M dimensions. Each of these has some inherent waste variability and flexibility, so we try to address that in order to achieve the next S-curve of operational excellence.”