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How to choose the right partner for industrial digital transformation by Schneider Electric

Jason Wu

Organizations in the industrial sector are under considerable pressure to change. Advances in connectivity, data generation and analysis, and compute power are forcing businesses to rethink their processes and accelerate go-to-market strategies through industrial digital transformation.

Change is never easy, especially in a space that traditionally has been slow to adapt to new technologies and methodologies. When something is working, there is a natural reluctance to change it. However, currently there are compelling opportunities to digitize, automate, and connect existing equipment and solutions in industrial environments. Organizations that leverage Industry 4.0 technologies stand to gain new levels of agility and resiliency that aren’t possible with legacy supply chain and production systems.

Because digital transformation and industrial automation require skills and expertise that most companies lack, the companies need help from expert partners. Fortunately, help is available from technology suppliers and service partners so you can achieve your digitization goals and maximize value from your technology investments.

Choosing a partner for industrial digital transformation

In choosing an industrial automation partner, start by identifying companies that deliver digital expertise combined with an understanding of the equipment and infrastructure already in place. Industrial digital transformation involves more than ripping and replacing production and supply chain processes. In many cases, equipment already in place needs to be upgraded to support automation and digitalization – not replaced.

This is what the convergence of IT with operational technology (OT) is about. Analog technologies that run operations in factories and other industrial environments are now being connected to digital systems for monitoring, data collection and analysis. Convergence makes it possible to leverage Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)-enabled plant and machine architectures that enable analytics and connected solutions. These technologies help you achieve new levels of agility, efficiency, and productivity by turning data insights into strategic business decisions.

With that in mind, you need a partner experienced in both IT and operational technology, and who understands the ramifications of blending production-side equipment and applications with newer digital functionality. A crucial aspect of this revolves around cybersecurity and compliance with privacy and security regulations. IT/OT convergence potentially exposes the OT side to cyber threats that it has not faced before. Your partner must be aware of these risks, their potential impact, and how to address them effectively.

Your industrial automation partner, whether a distributor, system integrator, or panel builder, must also understand your business. The ideal partner takes the time to learn your operations to help you meet your challenges and achieve strategic goals, such as implementing plant automation and improving supply chain management. 

Post-implementation, you may want your partner to stay involved. Through connected systems, a partner can monitor your equipment for troubleshooting and maintenance purposes to optimize performance, avoid downtime, and protect your operations from cyber risks.

Strong ecosystem for industrial digital transformation

When selecting a partner, remember that no single company can deliver all technologies and services. The ideal partner is a member of a strong ecosystem of vendors, OEMs, system integrators and service providers who, together, deliver a value chain of products and services to drive digital transformation success.

At ZYD Group, we collaborate with many system integrators and control panel builders to provide customized solutions delivering day-to-day business value for industrial clients. In recognition of our track record of success with customers, our partner Schneider Electric has nominated ZYD an Alliance Master Industrial Automation Distributor.

To achieve this designation, Schneider took into consideration our strong ecommerce footprint, our capability in prescribing and supporting EcoStruxure™ solutions for Machine and Plant, and our dedicated team of experts with experience in various segments. This designation positions ZYD Group to deliver more complex customized solutions in the future and provides us with the resources, training, support, engineering, and inventory we need to serve our customers.

ZYD expertise helps manufacturer achieve industrial digital transformation

As an example, ZYD Group provided an automation solution to an OEM client that manufactures corrugated packaging. The company had multiple automation technologies from different vendors with limited connectivity, which inhibited its ability to gain insight on operation and equipment maintenance.

Our solution included Schneider Electrical connected devices, software technologies, edge control and cloud connectivity to remotely capture key metrics from the production equipment. This enables the company to prepare spare parts and quickly provide replacements in the event of failure, which boosts productivity and reduces maintenance costs.

This project is a perfect example of how ZYD Group applies our expertise and experience, in conjunction with our partner ecosystem, to meet the needs and goals of our industrial partners embarking on the path to success in the digital future.

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