While most CxO executives are already aware of Industry 4.0, smart tech, and the Internet of Things (IoT), not everyone is aware of how it can be fully integrated into their industry. And for those who have started digital transformations within their companies, many are realizing that it may not be as easy to implement as they initially thought.

Following the launch of the Digital Capability Center (DCC) in collaboration with Tsinghua University in Beijing in April this year, McKinsey quickly realized that they could help these senior executives unpick some of their key issues and help them find solutions to their pain points.

25 senior executives representing a wide range of industries including automotive, high tech, mechanical, consumer goods, and GEM, gathered together at the DCC on June 30 to participate in its first Smart Manufacturing CxO Forum. The participants discussed the latest developments in digital operations, including its cutting-edge technologies and the McKinsey digital solutions that enable manufacturers to take full advantage of them.

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The day started with Karel Eloot’s inspiring introduction of the megatrend that is digital operations and McKinsey’s vision for this fast evolving digital world. Following that overview, Prof. Jay Lee (our senior advisor) and Forest Hou gave a detailed insight into the application of big data and artificial intelligence as they relate to smart manufacturing in the industrial sectors.

The forum quickly developed into an interactive session as McKinsey colleagues showcased real digital case studies, with participants asking key questions as to the benefits of digital transformations and how they can achieve these results in their own organizations, as well as how to best integrate the IoT in their industry area.

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Attendees also shared information and examples with one another, and looked to McKinsey faculty for advice on issues they were having. A visit to the DCC’s two major components --- the digital case showroom and the model production lines --- allowed the executives to see how an operator assistant system would actually work in reality by demonstrating how an operator’s performance can be tracked in real time, how an equipment audit can be done with the assistance of an indoor positioning system and AR glasses, and how the production lines’ and factory’s performance status can be monitored live, digitally, and remotely by a digital performance management (DPM) system.

As Forest Hou commented, "Here at McKinsey, we are not just about strategy --- we have a strong digital operation know-how. We also get our hands dirty", explaining that the model production lines also had to go through trial and error before they ran smoothly.

This reassured attendees that they weren’t the only ones going through pain points, and that McKinsey has the experience and expertise to now help them.

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While digital manufacturing was a key concern, many were also interested in digital product design (3D prototype printing and visualization simulations among others) and how these designs can interconnect with manufacturing in order to avoid mistakes in an early stage. PDM (product data management) was also a hot topic. This allows users to share data freely and easily to help co-design, enhancing the design efficiency and reducing errors. The WMS (warehouse management system) also caught people’s eyes for its innovative automated pull inventory management system using AGV, an indoor positioning system, and RFID.

We received fantastic feedback scores from attendees and while the forum gave a taster of our global training curriculum, we currently have more than 30 courses on offer to help clients sharpen their digital skills across the value chain.

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For more information or to register interest for our next event, please contact us at DCC_Beijing@mckinsey.com

DCC Beijing

To know more about our offerings please check the DCC Beijing page