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By David McKnight, Director of Digital Manufacturing Solutions, Hitachi Vantara, and
Shamik Mehta, Director of Industry Solutions Marketing, Hitachi Vantara
It’s an interesting parallel: The global drive toward sustainability may directly improve carbon emissions and help slow climate change to the benefit of all. And correspondingly, manufacturing companies that successfully transform to positively contribute to global sustainability will enhance their own ability to thrive. The reverse, of course, is also true — manufacturing companies that fail to meet global environmental, social and governance (ESG) benchmarks will likely find themselves falling behind competitors, being shunned by consumers and, ultimately, facing irrelevance. It’s a stark reality, and a daunting task. Manufacturers must successfully digitally transform in ways that enhance sustainability. But the potential benefits of that success are virtually unlimited.
A couple of decades ago, a discussion about digital transformation and sustainability in manufacturing might have involved a number of participants advocating both for and against the need for change — or at least how much things would really need to change. But now, driven by tightening regulations, pressures from global markets, the increased focus on ESG metrics and shifting customer preferences, digital innovation is no longer optional — and manufacturers know it.
According to a recent survey conducted by IndustryWeek and Hitachi, 99% of manufacturing executives consider their company to be committed to sustainability initiatives when compared to others in their industry.
Manufacturers are also beginning to recognize that the benefits of success in this transformation extend beyond the primary goals of operational efficiency, increased profitability, and productivity and safety improvements. Respondents to the survey also noted the potential for significant improvements in:
But knowing you need to transform and knowing how to do it are two different things. Most manufacturing companies are aware of the need to digitally transform, and they know that the changes involved will be substantial. These top three areas of focus emerged in the survey as the most important for meeting sustainability goals:
For enhanced sustainability, manufacturers must pursue ways to improve efficiency, lower their energy usage, integrate alternative sources and energy management systems, and lower their carbon footprint from end to end. And it all starts with knowing where you are today.
Manufacturers that are exploring digital transformation initiatives know that data will form a large part of the answer to the sustainability challenge. In fact, the survey respondents consider data analytics the most important technology for managing sustainability, with a primary focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). Unprecedented quantities of data are now available to organizations, but deriving insights from that data quickly and efficiently requires digitalization. Digital technologies that leverage that data into operational benefits and enhanced efficiencies are the key to enabling quantum improvements in manufacturing sustainability.
Hitachi is a leader in providing sustainable solutions for manufacturing, having developed and operationalized many of the cutting-edge digital technologies that companies use to meet their ESG goals itself. For example, Lumada Manufacturing Insights helps manufacturers such as Logan Aluminum develop data-driven operations, increase supply chain visibility, run predictive models and enable smart factory solutions that use data to drive productivity, lower asset downtime, extend remaining useful life, and promote sustainability in manufacturing processes.
Hitachi is also one of the largest manufacturing companies on the planet. Our global presence in both manufacturing and technology uniquely positions us as a leader in sustainability solutions. Many technology companies offer recommendations for bolstering your manufacturing sustainability, but Hitachi offers advisory services, hands-on guidance, domain and business process expertise, and more — all delivered and backed up with hundreds of use cases and successful delivery examples. Hitachi’s Omika Works factory, for example, was recognized by the World Economic Forum in 2020 as an advanced Fourth Industrial Revolution Lighthouse, an honor given to factories that are world leaders in the adoption and integration of groundbreaking technologies.
But the bottom line is our reputation for leading by example. Hitachi is committed to achieving carbon-neutrality at its industrial facilities by 2030 and investing $13 billion over the next few years in green technologies research and development.
Hitachi stands ready to help manufacturing companies achieve their sustainability goals. Recent sustainability-enhancing successes achieved by Hitachi manufacturing customers include:
Learn more about how Hitachi can help you can more effectively leverage your data and achieve your sustainable future.
Director of Digital Manufacturing Solutions, Hitachi Vantara
David McKnight joined Hitachi in 2016 with an eye to broaden his work in Industrial IoT and Digital Manufacturing. At Hitachi Vantara, he is driving manufacturing operations excellence solutions with clients across various industries. Prior to his tenure with Hitachi, David has focused on providing industrial automation and SAP manufacturing solutions throughout the world. David is passionate about enabling Manufacturers and their operators, supervisors and management to employ technology to maximize productivity, quality, safety and flexibility.
Director of Industry Solutions Marketing, Hitachi Vantara
Shamik Mehta is the Director of Digital Services and Solutions Marketing for Hitachi Vantara. Shamik has around 25 years of experience in product and strategic marketing in IoT, data management and data analytics, semiconductors, renewable energy, and e-mobility solutions. He’s held roles in chip design, pre-sales, product management and marketing for technology products, including software applications and data platforms for industrial applications. His experiences include 6 years at SunEdison, once the world's largest solar, wind and energy storage Independent Power Producers, leading product management, operations, business development and marketing. Shamik has experience managing global product marketing, GTM activities, thought leadership content creation and sales enablement activities for technology and software applications for the Smart Energy, Electrified Transportation and Manufacturing verticals. Shamik is a Silicon Valley native, having lived, studied and worked there since the early 90’s.