A defining, if not entirely unsurprising, factor of the move to digitize industrial production operations is its slow pace of progress. To help speed the digital transformation of industry, technology suppliers who also operate their own production facilities are increasingly showcasing their own operational improvements realized as a result of implementing these technologies.
The most recent example of this can be seen in Aveva’s release of its Discrete Lean Management software. According to Harpreet Gulati, senior vice president of planning and operations at AVEVA, this software is designed for plants still using paper-based systems. “It enables them improve operations efficiency and bring digitalization to work management for manual and automated production lines by allowing physical records to be replaced with digital tools and provide visibility into production performance. KPIs [key performance indicators] and dashboard notifications are included to give operators the information they need for continuous improvement and it allows team collaboration in response to production issues. The software is key to jumpstarting smart manufacturing and the digital transformation journey.”
Aveva’s Discrete Lean Management software is available as part of the company’s flex subscription offering, which reportedly offers IoT device connectivity to more than 200 plant automation systems.
Gulati explained that the development of this software is the result of Aveva's close collaboration with Schneider Electric. He noted the software has already been successfully deployed globally as a digital lean system to many Schneider Electric plants.
In its release announcing the software, Aveva said its Discrete Lean Management has been deployed in more than 70 of Schneider Electric’s smart factories globally, resulting in a productivity increase of 10% due to downtime mitigation and a 70% improved response-time due to automated escalation of production issues.
Hany Fouda, vice president of systems portfolio at Schneider Electric, said use of the Discrete Lean Management software at Schneider Electric’s 60-year-old Lexington, Ky., plant, which previously had paper-based processes, resulted in a 20% reduction in maintenance costs and 90% reduction in paperwork by connecting operations for direct access to asset data and documentation.
To understand the Schneider Electric/Aveva connection, it’s important to know that Schneider Electric and Aveva entered a reverse takeover agreement in 2015 that brought Schneider Electric’s software assets (formerly owned by Invensys) to Aveva but also gave Schneider Electric a 53.5% ownership stake in Aveva. This connection between the two companies is what provided Aveva access to Schneider Electric’s manufacturing facilities in which to prove its software capabilities.
Nathalie Marcotte, president of process automation at Schneider Electric, said the cooperation with Aveva around the Discrete Lean Management software was driven by the understanding that there “should be easy ways” for manufacturing companies to get started with digitalization. “That’s why we’ve been implementing our own technologies: To understand how this really works in brownfield operations," she said. "The technology is there to do what you want. The question is how you apply them to best effect. You need the domain knowledge to make the technology work.”
She added that, as with the cooperation between Aveva and Schneider Electric around the Discrete Lean Management software, both companies approach digitalization by “leveraging an ecosystem and open architecture. You can’t do this alone, even as a technology company," she said. "Systems need to be open for sharing. That moves the adoption of digitization.”
A major component of this openness can be seen in the Schneider Electric Exchange platform, which was established for partners to share application knowledge. According to Marcotte, the Exchange has 50,000 registered users representing more than 100 communities and features insights on 300 apps.
In this video, Shawn Davison of Aveva demonstrates the Discrete Lean Management software during ARC Forum 2020.