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Improving productivity

Digitalization is not just about a change in industrial business but also a way of thinking and working. When it comes to digitizing and renewing the industry, a number of challenges and questions arise — where to start, what approach to take, and how to involve people in change?

Siemens has played a strong role in renewing the Finnish industry which — though perceived quite traditional — is in the midst of a constant transformation. Although factory work is largely mechanized and automated, the process of digitizing operations and improving productivity needs to be reviewed thoroughly.

Off to a flying start

Siemens set out to implement the digital revolution at the Néstle Puljonki production facility. The first phase of the project was to gain a comprehensive understanding of the production plant and the different parts of its operation. This included the technology, processes, practices, and models as well as the people at the heart of the operation.

Siemens already had the technical expertise that the transformation needed, but this was only one part of the whole. Qentinel had to create a tool that would help identify the value of the various functions of a production facility and the different factors that affect them.

The collaboration got off to a “flying start” when Siemens and Qentinel representatives had a chance meeting on an airplane. This launched a discussion on value-based modeling and the possibilities of utilizing the Value Creation Model.

Qentinel’s Value Creation Model was ideal to analyze the production plant as a whole, as it simplifies and outlines large entities in an understandable and detailed manner. The model helps compile value paths that analyze the cause-and-effect relationships of different influencing factors, a process that Siemens needed.

Understanding the production plant’s operations

The partnership was launched with ambitious goals. The plan followed a pioneering international model that focuses mainly on the results of the production plant’s digitization and modernization. It looked at how successfully production was developed and how efficient it was made.

“Our customers did not order automation or digitalization from us, but they ordered value from us,” Tuomas Humalajoki, Siemens’ Business Director, says.

The two companies came together at workshops to create a framework for the Value Creation Model, and to define the cause-and-effect relationships of different areas of operation.

An example of this is the defined value path for process reliability. As process automation increases, the amount, quality, and availability of process data improve. This, in turn, improves the degree of detail in the process data, increasing the overall precision and accuracy of the design parameters. The last step in the value path is the cost, which reflects all the factors that have an impact on productivity.

The value paths that outline the cause-and-effect relationships between different operations reveal areas that need special attention and development. Tackling and improving these areas can influence the main goal— productivity.

“Thanks to our work together, there was a significant increase in our understanding of the customer and the operation of the production plant, as well as outside technology and engineering,” Humalajoki said.

Staff at the heart of the project

Although the modernization of the plant focused on improving productivity, the most important resource at the heart of it all was the staff. “The question was how to make the role of every staff member more visible and relevant,” Humalajoki explains.

It was essential to involve the staff in the digital revolution. When the entire staff has a common understanding of the value and the paths that affect it, it is easier to approach the bigger, shared goals with clear actions.

The production plant’s staff participated in the design of the Value Creation Model in order to keep it realistic and practical. They exchanged opinions in workshops and Qentinel also conducted extensive interviews to gather detailed information on the operations of the plant.

The value creation model helped create a simplified overview of the production plant, bringing transparency and clarity to various aspects of operations. The key factors of value creation modeling are knowledge-based management and a common understanding between all teams.

Results speak for themselves

In order to improve the productivity of the production plant, three different value paths were identified from the multidimensional system, all of which have their own influence in achieving the goal.

“For its part, Qentinel has played an important role in enabling a global pilot project of this scale and I am positively surprised by the company’s approach and its ability to take on new challenges,” Humalajoki sum.

Both parties indulged in open and honest dialogues to create a successful communication channel. “You can see the expertise, innovation, and positive energy when we start working on something new,” Humalajoki says.

Overall, the collaboration has been a very successful one. The Value Creation Model is currently in use at the Siemens production plant and serves as a tool to support the continuous development of operations.


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