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Intelligent industry

Smart Factories at Scale

A Capgemini Research Institute report

Seizing the trillion-dollar prize through efficiency by design and closed-loop operations

Capgemini’s vision of Intelligent industry incorporates the convergence of the physical and digital worlds, along with the convergence of IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operational Technology) and “smart factories” are a critical part of this intelligent industry. Smart factories harbor enormous potential and the size of the prize is bigger than ever. The market for smart manufacturing platforms alone has reached $4.4bn in 2019 and is expected to grow steadily over the next five years. And most organizations understand what’s at stake – in 2017, 43% of manufacturers already had smart factory initiatives underway, which further increased to 68% in 2019. But these initiatives can only succeed if they are scaled properly.

Any smart factory initiative can only succeed if it is scaled properly

To understand the progress of initiatives, the adoption of digital technologies, and the challenges faced by manufacturers in achieving scale, the Capgemini Research Institute surveyed 1,000 manufacturers, focusing primarily on organizations that had a smart factory initiative underway. We also conducted nearly twenty in-depth discussions with executives overseeing a smart factory initiative or a smart factory. The findings of this study form our new report, Smart factories @ scale: Seizing the trillion-dollar prize through efficiency by design and closed-loop operations. We found that:

  • Organizations understand that smart factories are the way of the future – the number of initiatives is on the rise, and both efficiency by design and closed-loop operations are driving the benefits
  • The size of the prize is bigger than ever – at $2 trillion on average, two-thirds are still to be realized
  • The secret lies in scaled initiatives – but only 14% think they are succeeding
  • High performers can lead the way – their best practices balance efficiency by design with effective operations.

IT-OT convergence, virtual and loopback operations, and transformation mastery are key to success

To drive scaled success, organizations need to put in place strong governance, as well as metrics and methodologies to assess progress. They must develop a program for deploying and integrating digital platforms across manufacturing operations as well as a culture of data-driven operations. Finally, they must develop hybrid and soft skills through cross-functional career paths, upskilling, and recruitment. These are the best practices that help front runners stay ahead of the pack. To keep pace, novices should think big, but start small while experimenters should invest in their foundations before they scale up.