Data management throughout the value chain, a key element for sustainability in the manufacturing sector

La gestión del dato en toda la cadena de valor, elemento clave para la sostenibilidad en el sector manufacturero

The most recent Breakfast-Colloquium “Transition to a new industry model: Manufacturing Sector” organized by the enerTIC platform featured Industry 4.0, and the manufacturing sector in particular, as the star of the event.

The meeting gathered energy and digital transformation experts with technology providers specializing in this market, to talk about current challenges and opportunities and how to create a more competitive and sustainable industry. From GMV, Miguel Hormigo, Director of the Industrial Sector, participated in the colloquium to promote the application of technologies and digitization to energy efficiency and sustainability in this key sector of the Spanish economy.

Towards a more agile, digital and sustainable industry

The manufacturing sector is one of the most diverse and highly productive industries, and it currently has to face high energy costs, reduction of its CO2 emissions, as well as supply chain problems. If we add to all that consumers who are more conscious about sustainability, greater demands for ESG compliance from clients, and the need to increase competitiveness in the international arena, the manufacturing industry has important challenges ahead. Sustainability is no longer just a luxury or a choice, it is a necessity.

Together with these challenges, other questions come up, as highlighted by the professionals gathered at the event:

  • Regulation, which will necessitate putting a focus on energy transition.
  • Having the tools to measure and calculate energy losses.
  • Cybersecurity of IT and OT landscapes.
  • The ability to implement digitization technology at a rapid pace.
  • The reliability and quality of large volumes of captured data
  • Coordinating energy demands with the energy market’s production, storage, and its own evolution.
  • The limitations of technology in areas such as packaging, the electrification of carbon-powered ovens; or the use of green hydrogen, which is still in development.
  • Transforming data into better business decisions.
  • Bringing together and interconnecting information from all value chain stakeholders.

Data management, automation and AI

To improve these areas, professionals from the industrial sector agree: digitization and promoting innovation are the tools that will make it possible to monitor processes, interconnect production plants, control energy consumption, and improve decision-making, creating a positive impact on business as well as on process sustainability.

One of the main requirements for these companies that capture large volumes of information that is distributed, for the most part, from their warehouses and production plants, is data analysis along with integration with data that comes from the rest of the value chain stakeholders. To extract data intelligence and make these companies data driven it is important not just to implement Big Data or Advanced Analytic technology, but also to bring about a cultural at all levels of the organization.

The transformation of the manufacturing sector also rests upon automation, with the goal of optimizing processes and making them more efficient, not just economically, but also environmentally. Artificial Intelligence’s ever-increasing momentum within the context of Industry 4.0 improves predictive maintenance, stock control, and work flow with providers, users and clients. In the face of production chain digitization, IoT projects or sensory systems that detect inefficiencies in real time are being developed.

There was also talk during the event of some of these companies’ own initiatives, such as the creation of plant-specific operating systems, similar to iOS or Android, that allow managing all information needs from mobile devices.

Next Funds: a slow-paced opportunity

Asked about the arrival of Next Funds, companies agree: how these funds are managed, and which agency manages them, is important in order to expedite their arrival and project implementation.

Facing the greatest volume of grants in history, the main problem is the slow pace at which they are getting to businesses. The sense is that the opportunity could be lost due to a lack of realization and information, something which Spain's industrial sector cannot let happen.

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