Published 12. Apr. 2017

How Digitalization is a Friend to the Industrial Industry

For Christiaan van Veen, Manager Asset Management at ERIKS, aside from cybersecurity threats resulting from digital transformation and all the other tech trends, digitalization is a friend to the industrial industry and its customers, not a foe.
Production and Manufacturing


“Due developments in digitalization, we are more focused and able to work more efficiently as a technical specialist,” shares Manager Asset Management  Christiaan van Veen, “As the leading global supplier of mechanical components, digitalization helps us to provide all product and service related information via our websites, e-shops, and EDI connections with customers. However, our experience is that customers prefer to discuss product selection in relation to their specific application. So, human interaction with our specialists is essential in this.”

The developments in terms of staying connected during the product’s total life cycle are improving fast, “We are able to monitor components in operation with our sensor technology. The data received provides information regarding energy consumption, wear and tear, maintenance cost, calibration/alignment, etc. The combination of sensor data with supply chain solutions are visualized in a customer platform. With help of data analytics we are also able to predict future failure. On top of that, it is possible to provide insight in the result of interacting components. This information is used to optimize asset operations.”

As for their customers, “Digitalization helps customers with ordering and logistic processes, but more importantly, it provides crucial asset information. We see a generation of experienced maintenance engineers retiring. To fill this gap, the acquired information helps customers make the right decisions and  fully utilize their asset potential.”

Riding the Waves of Tech Trends

For van Veen, the biggest tech trends are in data analytics combined with Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), “ERIKS is always active with new technology like 3D printing, smart manufacturing, IIoT, and clean production.”

In the past, the company’s focus was on components and their use, “With new technologies, we will be able to focus on the impact of our components on the performance of the customer’s installation. With this data from ERIKS, customers gain more insight in their machinery and installation, so they can fully focus on their core business. The acquired information will help customers to create a safe and healthy working environment and upgrade their asset performance. However, we need to be very sure that cybersecurity is arranged in the right way too.”

In terms of talent and competency, digitalization is forcing traditional companies in need of translating data into information to hire a data analyst — a position nonexistent in traditional industrial service providers before digitalization, “One of the biggest challenges for industrial service providers is to acquire the right talents/graduates in order to transform to a more IT/data-driven company. These data scientist for example like to work in start-up environment where decisions are being made quick without bureaucracy. Corporates need to adjust their culture, decision making and flexibility in order to recruit these talents.”

All of these complex exercises are geared towards being able to fully predict future failures and plan turnarounds in the most efficient way, as well to help customers further optimize their process.

Out-of-the-Box Leadership

Leading the change in digital transformation is both an internal and external job. How to start? ERIKS’ Manager Asset Management shared some ideas:

  • Formulate Strategies– The internal digital transformation starts with formulating a strategy including a road map. Since digital transformation is a new phenomenon for most (traditional) companies, (senior) management commitment is important.
  • Switch to a Problem-Solving Mindset – Digital transformation often requires a totally different mindset for the whole organization. Therefore, companies must look for more entrepreneurial employees or those who can think out-of-the-box and are willing to solve any problem that they may come across during the strategy implementation process.
  • Emphasize Collaboration – Different parties/partners must be involved to make the digitization a success. and supply chain integration and cooperation play an important role in this process. As digitalization increasingly commodifies traditional markets a platform in which suppliers, distributors, and customers interact becomes more important for knowledge and experience sharing.

ERIKS will be attending Asset Performance Management in the Netherlands on the 14th of June 2017 as a solution provider. Event discussions include:

  • Asset Life Cycle Management – Turning point of innovation before reaching EOL.
  • Preventive Maintenance through Predictive Analytics – The promises and threats of Big Data.
  • Eroding Competence in Maintenance – Maintaining knowledge and increasing employability.
  • Next Generation Manufactoring – The impact of transitioning towards 2020.
  • Asset Integrity – Prioritizing safety and corporate social responsibility.
For more on our upcoming events, visit the Event Calendar »