Digital transformation initiative for decarbonization
Today, manufacturing and energy companies are facing new and intertwined challenges, such as decarbonization, international regulations and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in addition to the challenges of digital transformation (DX) efforts. AVEVA, which promoted DX from a business operations and facilities lifecycle management perspective, integrated OSIsoft, a data management infrastructure company, in 2021. Under the new system, AVEVA organizes problems to be solved in the future and proposes efforts to solve the problems. for Japanese process, energy and infrastructure companies that have many users of OSIsoft’s PI system.
Mr. Masaki Kogure, Vice President of Japan Sales, AVEVA Japan KK, gave a presentation in the Japan Stream of the ARC Asia Forum 2021 highlighting the following issues:
- The importance of DX promotion is growing in the manufacturing industry and DX’s efforts for business transformation are accelerating in companies around the world. Companies are also under pressure to promote sustainability efforts.
- DX promotion is effective for sustainability initiatives and the common language between them is data.
- There are complicated issues that need to be resolved, and there are also issues unique to Japanese companies that need to be resolved. In particular, decisions must be made to prepare an environment for using real-time data for the operation.
Acceleration of DX efforts
The world has changed a lot in recent years because of the pandemic. Many things are born from the necessity that the new standard required, such as new ways of working and the growth of new businesses. People can no longer return to the original world where there seemed to be waste, duplication and great excess, from today’s perspective. The problems we face today are different, but increasing, due to the increased connectivity offered by advanced technologies.
Recent industry research reveals that investments in DX technology and services are expected to grow at an estimated CAGR of 18.9% over the period 2021 to 2028. Mr. Kogure said, “As far as business leaders are concerned, it is now a duty and also a business chance to realize a sustainable future using DX faster than originally planned.
Meet sustainability requirements
In response to global climate change, many countries have committed to the Paris Agreement, which will limit global warming to 1.5℃ and reduce carbon dioxide emissions to zero by 2050. In addition, the reduction of water footprint requires reducing the use of fresh water in food production to improve wastewater treatment and further reduce energy consumption while accelerating the shift to renewable energy.
Following these global trends, the Japanese Diet last year enacted the revised Global Warming Countermeasures Promotion Law with the aim of realizing a carbon-free society by 2050. Many companies have also recognized the urgent need to address decarbonization and carbon neutrality. The buzzword sustainability is now the driving force of global organizations.
Companies have already recognized and recognized that promoting DX is an effective way to strengthen business continuity during difficult times in a pandemic environment. According to Kogure, the most important common language between DX and sustainability is that of data. “Data useful to sustainability efforts must be obtained by sharing knowledge of issues between organizations. There is a need to create data that is not limited to partial plant optimization, but covers the entire plant life cycle and promotes sustainability.
Characteristics and problems of typical Japanese operations
On the other hand, many Japanese companies are expressing impatience and confusion. According to Mr. Kogure, there are three factors behind this: i.e. human resources, culture and requirements. First, there is the difference in the use of human resources. In Japan, there are specialists with expertise in each department, and operators are one of them. Unlike overseas factories, where professional operators exclusively perform functionally determined operations, a wider range of knowledge and expertise is required for factory operations in Japan, and it is a staff highly specialized who actually operates the plant.
The second is the difference in corporate culture on automation. In factories abroad, the policy is to automate everything that can be automated. In Japan, on the other hand, the factory management makes a distinction between work done by humans and work to be automated. Parts of the factory’s operations are planned and implemented from the start on the assumption that they depend on human judgment in Japan. This ideological difference sometimes hinders the adoption of advanced solutions often introduced from abroad.
The third is the difference in requirements for the system. While overseas factories use preset models, adjustable systems that meet the needs of users, including operators, are preferred in Japan. This system change, modification, and required flexibility further complicates the process of deploying new tools and applications.
How to share problems
It is essential to organize the problems according to the work of each service. This includes categorizing each issue and identifying issues that overlap with other departments. This also includes promoting collaboration across departments on common issue areas. For this, the collaboration mechanism between each department must be clarified, and a leader is required to promote all of its activities. Several departments need to communicate with each other to take action. The common language is that of data and numerical values. Digitization therefore plays a particularly important role. Mr. Kogure believes that there are five elements for the success of this initiative:
- The firm intention to change the current situation must permeate the whole organization.
- Appointment of the head of promotion and allocation of powers.
- Every worker should be aware of the daily dynamic scenario and that the changes in his own company can be connected to the company DX.
- Have a global vision of the work and visualize the work in progress.
- Based on past internal experience and the latest know-how, the execution of the plan must be reinforced by external best practices and new technologies.
Mr. Kogure explained that it is important for companies aiming for change to make effective use of the various information obtained from both operations and engineering, and to place the business at the center of this information by creating a base of performance intelligence. The use of technologies such as digital twins, industrial IoT, big data, AI, connected workers and cloud is advised to provide digitized information to remote teams to support decision making and streamline collaboration and operations. A strong database also helps optimize supply chains that can react quickly, secure profits, reduce manual management to manage important equipment safely and reliably, integrate and analyze data with financial data and improve decision-making. The same process will be effective in providing insights when issues include optimizing carbon emissions and energy use.
Leverage the PI System
AVEVA merged with OSIsoft in 2021. The integration of these two leaders in global industrial software enables the development of integrated products and allows AVEVA to create an end-to-end industrial digital platform that helps companies share critical information to through engineering and operations.
Mr. Kogure said, “The PI System, which has proven itself in using OT data for more than 40 years, is now part of the AVEVA Group, and the data management infrastructure that is key to supporting the SDGs has been strengthened. Supporting the SDGs means responding dynamically to many varying factors. That is, it is necessary to prepare an optimal solution using real-time data and further solve the problem. This will allow us to centrally manage the OT data of various equipment in the infrastructure industry and make more use of the knowledge of everyone in the process industry.
Once data can be used across multiple organizations in real time, various business decisions will become more agile. For example, using operations management data and predictive maintenance data from the equipment department, it is now possible to automatically create legal environmental reports for the head office environmental management department or a condition report. the energy consumption of each factory. On the other hand, even long-time PI System users do not always fully utilize the accumulated data. Mr. Kogure says, “I would like to ask you if your company is in an environment where you can make full use of real-time data. It is important to know how real-time data can be integrated and used, in other words, whether it is possible to build an OT data infrastructure for real-time data and dynamically link its data to various computer applications. who make decisions in real time.
Mr. Kogure’s presentation in the Japan Stream of the ARC Asia Forum 2021 drove home the need for businesses to integrate and use real-time data to make actionable decisions. Cross-departmental collaboration and communication are essential for growth and sustainable success.
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Keywords: digital transformation, DX, sustainability, SDGs, decarbonization, information management, performance intelligence, ARC advisory group.