At the Emerson Exchange Virtual Series, Warren Pruitt, VP of Global Engineering Services at Colgate-Palmolive, shared how his company advanced its sustainability roadmap by implementing digital transformation tools, such as the Emerson’s Aventics AF2 flow sensor. Pruitt highlighted a digital transformation requires initiative and not necessarily a perfect plan.
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Covid-19 and digital transformation
After an evolving and challenging 2020, several manufacturers had a closer approach to what digital transformation tools mean due primarily to the advent of the pandemic. Remote workforces, social distancing, and reduced labor efficiency constituted the new normal for all industries. But more importantly, these buzzwords converted into challenges.
Hakan Erdamar, Group President for Discrete and Industrial at Emerson, noted that in this environment, the Internet of Things (IoT) and digital transformation were crucial to getting a more reliable, efficient, connected, and sustainable supply chain.
In this regard, Zach Gustafson, VP of Business Development, and Derek Thomas, VP of Strategy and Marketing in Machine Automation at Emerson, discussed how device and control enablement by IoT and Digital transformation advanced as an essential factor for companies.
“The two most popular terms in recent times have been digital transformation and Covid-19,” said Gustafson. “Customers face enormous challenges these days. Keeping their operations while quickly adapting to new operative models.”
According to Gustafson, the pandemic has highlighted a critical reality of how technology and data are transforming the processes manufacturers are on. Companies that are moving into the digital transformation are accelerating and leading their projects faster in a more focused way.
However, digital transformation efforts have also created a wave of uncertainty for several manufacturers. “There is clearly a new sense of urgency,” Thomas said. “This urgency is also creating uncertainty on how to tackle the digital transformation.”
“To begin a digital transformation, the center point is data,” Thomas explained. Concepts such as data, big data, cloud, and edge computing are becoming more crucial in the discussion.
In this sense, the experts noted that companies need cloud tools and complex analytics, data scientists, and computing power to discover new insights for big data to happen. While that approach works for some, it also requires a lot of expensive infrastructure.
Focusing on a specific business challenge can be the answer. Manufacturers and other actors along the supply chain can use data to provide an operative performance inform to deliver excellent and tangible results.
The experts pointed out that “for many companies, the data is already there, but it is probably kind of trapped inside machines. The problem is not the lack of sensors, but to turn those points into meaningful data inside your organization operations, and to drive a tangible outcome.”
Colgate-Palmolive: digital transformation journey
At the event, Warren Pruitt, VP of Global Engineering Services at Colgate-Palmolive, shared in an interview how his company advanced its sustainability agenda through the implementation of Emerson’s digital transformation tools. The Aventics AF2 flow sensor has allowed the health-giant to improve its operations, lower its energy costs, and reduce its CO2 footprint.
Like many industries, Colgate-Palmolive is taking the challenge of digital transformation. “We’re going to be after those technologies that are going to enhance our capability in our supply chain further. Whether it that be paperless solutions, digital twin solutions, or other smart technologies and sensors in other areas,” said Pruitt.
It is essential to have a test approach while implementing digital transformation, the VP noted. Colgate chose the Aventics AF2 Flow Sensor to advance its sustainability roadmap and cut CO2 emissions. Once implemented, the company stated it worked and adapted quite well to its existing equipment, so now they’re looking forward to implementing this technology at its offices in LATAM.
How to measure the advance? Pruit highlighted this process couldn’t be measured just through savings (hard dollars) but also by equipment efficiency and workforce learning standards. Pruitt also recognized that with the pandemic, that progress accelerated. So, when to start?
“Just go. There is no perfect plan, and there is not going to be a perfect map or technology. If you keep waiting for the next best wearable or sensor, you’re not going to start. Pick the one you’ve evaluated that will give you a positive impact, and just move. That would be some of my advice to others regarding digital transformation,” Pruitt concluded.