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Digital Threads Combining Product, Process and Consumers Key to Smart Manufacturing at Scale, ISG Says

Combining product, process and consumer into one integrated, digital thread can deliver the customized manufacturing at scale that to date has eluded the manufacturing sector, say experts with Information Services Group, a leading global technology research and advisory firm.

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“Smart manufacturing initiatives are focused on working smarter and making more products with the materials and processes already in use”

Customer expectations for personalized products and friction-free delivery, these experts say, are driving manufacturers to leverage smart manufacturing, including AI and analytics, to rapidly assemble and deliver products.

This “consumer-backwards” view will be among the key topics that will be reviewed in depth at the ISG TechXchange: Smart Manufacturing event, May 22–23, in Chicago.

“The technology profile of smart manufacturing programs will continue to evolve from today’s focus on IoT and predictive maintenance, to investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning, which are expected to have the greatest ROI benefits over the next two years,” said Gaurav Gupta, partner and global head of the ISG Digital Engineering advisory practice. “This is the true turning point where enterprises can join their product, their manufacturing process and their consumer into one integrated thread.”

Gupta and other ISG experts will join with industry leaders from Stanley Black & Decker, Tate & Lyle, Baldwin Richardson Foods, Sonoco Products Company and the Women in Manufacturing Association at the event to explore topics including real-time inventory, technology, sustainability and cybersecurity measures needed to deliver on the promise of smart manufacturing.

The latest ISG Smart Manufacturing Survey finds the top enterprise motivation to undertake smart manufacturing is the promise of improving productivity in the plant, processes and people. The study also finds the number of employees involved in smart manufacturing has grown significantly, with the proportion of programs that encompass 100 or more people rising from 40 percent in 2022 to 75 percent in 2023.

Gupta will open the ISG event with an overview of ISG’s latest insights into smart manufacturing trends and an analysis of the smart manufacturing study results.

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Day one of the event also will include an industry spotlight interview with Allison Grealis, founder and president of the Women in Manufacturing® Association, exploring the topic of women as an untapped source of labor for manufacturing.

A panel discussion, “Connecting Products and Operations,” will feature Paolo Vallotti, CISO and vice president of IT Operations with Tate & Lyle, a U.K.-based global supplier of food and beverage ingredients, and Kris Krishnamoorthy, vice president, Manufacturing Consulting, with service provider LTIMindtree.

The day will conclude with the ISG Startup Challenge, featuring three entrepreneurs who will pitch their technology solutions to a panel of judges, with the audience voting on the winner.

Day two of the ISG event will feature a panel discussion, “Fast Forward on ESG via Accelerated Sustainable Manufacturing Adoption,” with Jay Douglass, COO of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute at Carnegie Mellon University; Mike Ungar, co-founder of the Industry 4.0 Club, and Kristin Mulherin, managing director and president of AM-Cubed, a consultancy focused on 3D printing and additive manufacturing.

Nearly a quarter of respondents to the ISG Smart Manufacturing Survey said sustainability and waste reduction were a motivation for adopting smart manufacturing.

“Smart manufacturing initiatives are focused on working smarter and making more products with the materials and processes already in use,” said John Lytle, director, ISG Industrial Manufacturing and chair of the ISG event. “The people on the manufacturing floor and the managers implementing the structure and organizational change management programs to guide this change will be key to its success.”

Also on day two, a panel discussion, “Stitching Together a Smart and Connected Value Chain,” will explore how connected technologies and ecosystems improve customer experiences and ROI. The panel will feature Amir Kashani, director of AI and Digital Products with Stanley Black & Decker; Larry Megan, head of digital at food ingredients manufacturer Baldwin Richardson Foods; Santosh Menon, director, Enterprise Development & Analytics, at global packaging solutions firm Sonoco Products Company, and from global technology services provider Cyient, Prabhakar Shetty, senior vice president and chief digital officer, and Neelakandan Sharma, global consulting head of manufacturing.

The ISG TechXchange: Smart Manufacturing event is sponsored by NTT DATA, Cyient, LTIMindtree, TATA Consultancy Services, Engineering Industries eXcellence and IBM. CIOInsights, CIOReview and the Technology Business Management (TBM) Council are media sponsors.

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