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Key Takeaways: Digital Factory '19

By Marc Murphy | May 15, 2019

Digital Transformation is Paramount


Former GE CEO kicked-off the day with a call to action for manufacturers: Industry 4.0 is upon us and digital transformation is the road-map to ensure organizations are on a path to realizing the value and need to stay competitive.


Digital transformation is not a project.

  • It needs to be part of the culture or a ‘belief system’
  • We need to develop and embrace new ways to work. Including new titles, roles, and definitions
  • Digital transformation should drive outcomes for productivity, balance sheet, customer value, and speed to market


Culture and people are part of the equation


This transformation cannot just be about automation. Everything has a human element and the culture element of digital transformation has a significant cost to industry. These costs manifest in the following areas:

  • Human error
  • Training deficiency
  • Design problems
  • Lack of oversight

Culture needs to evolve alongside your digital transformation journey. The tools and softwares that are being employed for these transformation efforts need to be adopted by the workforce or you run the risk of mounting costs resulting for human gaps.



Digital Transformation is Wholistic


In one of the best presentations of the day,  PTC CEO Jim Heppelmann talked about the need to take a full spectrum approach to digital transformation.


To fully optimize the digital transformation journey it needs to include Product, People, and Process. This seems like a simple and often used approach, but Jim’s deeper dive into how we get the ‘digital thread’ to optimally reach across all three of these pillars was incredibly insightful.  Let's explore his example:


  • Product: For illustration, we have a tractor that has evolved into a smart connected product that has the ability to push data through sensors.  Safety, productivity, fail rates, etc are now available in real-time.
  • People: How do we take this data to improve people's results, quality of work and contributions to the company?
  • Process: Process needs to focus on ensuring the ‘digital-thread’ extends to the full value chain. The data coming off the tractor needs to actionable, it needs to be connected to a process for improved efficiency,  productivity, or tangle financial results.



Digital Transformation is a $1T opportunity of which we are just seeing the starting point of a massive sea-change in manufacturing.  This extends well beyond the shop floor and well outside the factory walls. For Atlatl, this conference validates that sales automation has to be part of the front-end of Industry 4.0. To fully optimize these significant digital factory investments,  they need to start in the beginning with sales.

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