In the fast-paced era of Supply Chain Management (SCM) digitalization it is easy to lose track at some point. How convenient would it be for suppliers to have an experienced and forward-thinking partner to support their digitalization strategy?
This is exactly where Siemens steps in with the initiative MindSphere@SCM launched by the SCM DigiNetwork – a bunch of Digi-enthusiasts who live by the motto “think big, start small, move fast”. Priska Goebel-Ralph, one of the co-founders, adds: “The SCM DigiNetwork is a truly bottom-up and self-organized network of more than 200 colleagues worldwide. Our purpose? Pushing digital innovation and transformation forward at Siemens SCM. How do we do that? By exploring latest technological developments bottom-up, offering a safe space to try out new ideas and by sharing best practices across the organization. The feed and seed of the DigiNetwork: A digital mindset – open, curious, adaptive.”
Promising results prove that the initiative MindSphere@SCM is not only beneficial for Supply Chain Management, but also other organizations. The SCM DigiNetwork is looking forward to helping you!
MindSphere@SCM was born
Today, companies around the world are using MindSphere, a cloud-based platform developed by Siemens, to connect their physical and virtual assets, systems and machines to the digital world, quickly and securely. By interlinking a wealth of data, MindSphere can transform this information into productive business results using powerful industrial applications and advanced analytics.
Maximilian Weinhold from the SCM DigiNetwork was very inspired and curious about MindSphere and the magnitude offered to SCM by this Digitalization Swiss Knife. In his search for joint, creative and innovative ways of driving digitalization forward, he and other digitalization enthusiasts asked themselves: “How can MindSphere serve as a starting point for a collaborative digitalization strategy between Siemens and the suppliers?”
MindSphere@SCM was born. This was done in the knowledge that ultimately everyone would benefit. Not only procurement and MindSphere, but quite specifically the suppliers. For them, embarking on their own digitalization strategy may in fact open up new business models, productivity increase and connectivity in some cases. Moreover, suppliers can profit from accessing the leading IoT Eco-system. Above all, MindSphere@SCM stands for the digital competence to generate additional value for everyone involved.
A project where everybody benefits
Panasonic, for example, who supplies Siemens Factory Automation Services with production machines, was quick to recognize the advantages. Since the end of last year, Siemens and Panasonic have been working together on connecting Panasonic products and solutions to MindSphere. This type of digital collaboration serves as a perfect example that the project is succeeding. By using MindSphere, Siemens and suppliers can work even more closely together and profit from each other’s insights and experiences. The supplier’s products become part of Siemens’ digitalization strategy and are extensively being used in one of Siemens lighthouse factories. For example, data from Panasonic machines is now fed into MindSphere as well. This ultimately resulted in an improvement of the quality of production, to name just one major advantage.
At the same time, Panasonic was enthusiastic from the outset about its machines being connected to MindSphere and the resulting data analytics potential. This now enables Panasonic to offer other customers, for example, predictive maintenance, thus minimizing or even eliminating downtime. And, coincidentally, the customers of Panasonic may also become customers of MindSphere in the medium term.
Digitalization of placement machines
Panasonic’s odd-form placement machines further illustrate this example: they automatically apply electronic constructional elements on printed circuit boards – a process which had to be done manually before. In fact, the Siemens factory in Vienna was the first to include this kind of Panasonic’s production machines.
Gunter Beitinger, Vice President of Manufacture, confirms: “This allowed us to get to know the entire Panasonic product range and represents a promising way forward for future automation projects at Siemens electronics plants”.
Andreas Wipper from Siemens Supply Chain Management Pooled Direct adds:
Collaboration is an important milestone on the way to digitalizing the supply chain. Our goal is to connect as many machines and assets as possible to Siemens MindSphere in our factories.Andreas Wipper
New business opportunities and services
“Ultimately, it is about collecting as much data as possible from as many sources as possible and analyzing it effectively. And this is precisely where MindSphere has the right tools. It paves the way to new business opportunities for our suppliers and services for their customers”, says Carsten Speckmann, Head of Finance for MindSphere.
Often not even the supplier knows exactly what form this will take, the possibilities of this digital collaboration are endless. Predictive maintenance of machines based on data is only one of many examples. Where the supplier uses MindSphere to monitor and optimize their production processes, the quality of bought-in parts, for instance, can be significantly improved too. Furthermore, “pay per use” models may emerge, where customers no longer purchase complete machines, but instead they simply pay to use them.
Identifying and utilizing opportunities
“Many of our suppliers are just starting out on their own digitalization strategy”, explains Thomas Holzner, founder of the DigiNetwork. “And that is precisely why we set up the MindSphere@SCM initiative. First, so that Purchasing at Siemens could discover the potential offered by MindSphere, but more importantly so that our suppliers can benefit from our flagship product and so that, in the internal and external ecosystem, we can conduct joint pilot projects based on the most innovative technologies – very much in keeping with the role of the SCM DigiNetwork”. Clearly, the focus of this project lies on the productive and beneficial triad between Purchasing, MindSphere and suppliers.
Ready? Let’s get started
To help suppliers get started, MindSphere offers all new customers an out-of-the-box solution using preconfigured packages complete with appropriate applications, enabling them to achieve initial results with very low effort. What’s more, all stakeholders can also become members of MindSphere World where users from a wide range of industries regularly share their experience on the challenges and opportunities presented by digitalization. The numbers speak for themselves: Currently, more than 150 members from nine countries including Siemens suppliers are registered.
Do you want to establish a collaborative digitalization strategy? Or do you have a specific idea as to how digitalization could be advanced in partnership with Siemens?
If yes, then please contact the MindSphere@SCM team directly by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.