How virtual workflows transform OEM customer retention

According to Schneider Electric, virtual workflows can transform OEM projects and help them deliver and retain more business at lower costs.

These days, industrial OEMs and end customers face unprecedented challenges. Consumers expect a high level of customisation in the products they buy, producers face skill shortages, and workers too have different needs and expectations.

There are supply chain challenges, the global components shortages, and the ubiquitous pressure for results from the financial community. How can production machinery suppliers and the industrial enterprises they serve reach the agility, profitability, and productivity levels to compete?

Consider the following three typical project phases to understand how digitisation, smart design and engineering virtual workflows could help.

Sales, design, and proof of concept

Digital design techniques allow the demonstration of machine capabilities to prospective clients before they buy. Cost-effective, accurate and convincing  demonstrations of machine builder capabilities help improve sales effectiveness and stop later performance surprises.

A demonstration of the machines and their associated material handling systems can be made virtually. Furthermore, an understanding of operation and throughput can be made with near complete accuracy, avoiding design errors and costs. All this is possible before physical machine build even takes place.

A continuous digital thread running from sales to proof of concept ensures an understanding of customer needs for project inclusion. Schneider Electric say that  improving sales, design, and proof of concept in this way can result in saving 20-50% in time to market and 10-20% on quality costs.

Machine build and commissioning:

Modular and virtually verified designs and tools allow fast effective, error-proof configuration/build of the machine and associated material handling systems. The virtual workflows allow upfront commissioning of factory and site acceptance test runs, thus reducing the time and effort needed. It also reduces design errors and costly onsite, real-world debug time.
Meeting client production volume and quality requirements are also faster. This reduces the end-user’s time to profit and helps machine builders get paid faster. Schneider Electric believes improving production machine build and commissioning in this way results in a saving of 60% of commissioning time.

Onsite operations phase

Using Digital Twins helps to identify real-world process improvement actions and abnormal operations before downtime occurs. Moreover, it allows the training of operators in safe, offline environments. The offline testing and verification of application software upgrades also ensures they yield optimal real-world performance benefits.

Machine builders can offer remote expert digital services during the operation phase to identify improvement opportunities and provide troubleshooting. This improves OEE and reduces unplanned downtime.

Machine suppliers can maintain trusted advisor relationships with their customers during the longer operating phase of the industrial operation lifecycle. Schneider Electric says improving operations at the end user factory results in increased sales and profit from new business opportunities.

Virtual workflows

Modern digital machine design approaches allow the visualisation and simulation of many complex aspects of production machinery. Building machines in a virtual world avoids building, testing and verification and then redesigning and re-building in the real one. The result is more effective, efficient, and profitable design, build, commissioning and operation of production machinery.

This approach also generates a digital thread that runs through all phases of a machine’s lifecycle. Hence, the virtual model is always available to improve maintenance, training, and continuous improvement activities.

It means OEMs can leverage their superior knowledge to provide new levels of diagnostic and improvement advice to their end customers and provide them remotely to save travel time and cost. Furthermore, they can also create services to help end-users operate in smarter and more proactive ways. For example, with  remote monitoring, outcome-based services, consumables as a service, and equipment as a service

 All these smart services allow machine builders to become true digital collaborators with their customers and play an integral role in their operations to help them improve productivity and meet their business goals.

Ahead of the competition

Smart Service Solutions reduce time to market, reduce quality costs, save commissioning time, and take advantage of new business opportunities. Download the Machine builder opportunities and challenges in the new digital world – eGuide


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