Digital transformation: it’s everywhere these days, as companies in just about every industry try to latch on to the advances in technology that will drive greater efficiency, productivity and profitability. The process industries are no different, as incremental gains in margin or quality can easily — and quickly — add up to millions of dollars!
For many organizations, however, a digital transformation may seem like a daunting task. How can we take a business that has been running as-is for decades and turn it into a truly digital organization? The secret is to tap into those many years of operating experience — those decades of accumulated data — to quickly accelerate your digital journey.
Companies in the process industries are, fortunately, in position to leverage their data, along with many of their existing applications and technologies, to realize the full potential of digitalization. Advanced process control (APC) is a great example of the head start many organizations already have, as it was one of the first advanced technologies to take hold in the process industries — and companies today see it as the “foundation” they need for successful digitalization.
APC starts with the target of safe, stable operations and meeting environmental regulations. Stable operations lead to greater reliability and better utilization of equipment, both of which drive value and profitability. That’s the core of achieving operational excellence through asset optimization — maximizing your return on capital invested by optimizing performance over the full lifecycle and across the entire system.
Asset optimization is now being accelerated through AI, machine learning and multivariate analytics, enabled by developments such as high-performance computing, the cloud, IoT connectivity and robust cybersecurity. These “enabling technologies” are why we can leverage data science algorithms that were derived long ago to capture new value today.
With advances like the cloud and high-performance computing, you can readily access the server capacity needed to quickly analyze hundreds of millions of data points — so you can start solving problems you had never been able to address before. The key is to apply this technology exactly where it makes the most sense for your organization.
You can start with a targeted machine learning program that focuses on a specific business problem, such as plant equipment failure — and from there, you can figure out exactly how these capabilities apply to your needs across the enterprise. Just taking this first step in your “digital journey” can help solve important issues and enable you to design for optimal performance and efficiency, operate reliably and eliminate unplanned downtime.
Learn how you can get started — and discover the three keys to digital success — in my new white paper, Digital Acceleration Opens a New Frontier of Value Creation.