Every legacy industry is undergoing one huge transformation for the last few years: a digital transformation. In order to stay relevant, every company in any domain has reinvented themselves, their processes, their workforce, and their legacy systems.
Blue Star is no different. The company created a roadmap to digitize its architecture, infrastructure and major processes. This transformation project was initiated in January 2016, and each sub-project was prioritized based on business priorities and readiness, availability of appropriate technologies and constraints.
“It is expected to take three years to deliver major projects, but multiple projects have already been initiated and delivered,” says Suresh Iyer, CIO at Blue Star.
The first step was to set up core groups to focus on identifying the right areas and the right solutions. These groups, facilitated by IT, visited other companies, factories and centers of excellence to absorb the possibilities, and generate ideas for implementation. The key areas taken up were product life cycle management, factory automation, procure to pay, order to cash, customer service, and intelligent products.
The company implemented major projects including demand forecasting using analytics; lead management using mobile; product configurators and selection software; smart products like IoT enabled room air conditioner, deep freezers and VRF; remote monitoring of chillers using IoT; and a new HRMS system.
Additionally, it has started implementing an intelligent factory, which includes Industry 4.0 pilots and augmented reality for enabling shop floor workers. Other projects are spare parts planning using analytics; compliance and risk management; GST readiness; smart HR app; business planning and consolidation; document management system; predictive maintenance; and a dealer portal.
“From an employee perspective, a company-wide employee education initiative was launched to ensure adoption and participation. Named GoDigital, the initiative was to improve the digital quotient of the employees and increase awareness in order to encourage adoption and participation,” says Iyer.
GoDigital is being implemented through digital sessions conducted pan-India by publishing newsletters, case studies and digital articles. The company-wide transformation undertaken in conjunction with business process re-engineering is quite unique within the manufacturing industry.
A multitude of new-age technologies ranging from IoT, mobility, cloud, big data, analytics, bots, robots and sensors are being leveraged in this process. These initiatives are expected to transform the company into a technology-driven and connected company powered by insights.
Interestingly, the budget for the entire implementation was very well-planned. The IT team successfully designed and identified cost-effective solutions and delivery models. This enabled the company to take on a lot more initiatives using less investment.
The risks that pay off well
Blue Star’s project has been an immediate success with a visible improvement in efficiency of its overall operations. The enhanced services process has resulted in improving customer satisfaction and delivering the services cost-effectively. The sales team has been empowered with advanced demand forecasting methods which has resulted in better planning. The Industry 4.0 initiatives have resulted in improving overall equipment efficiencies and equipment uptime. All in all, there is a significant gain for the money invested.
The project also helped in the generation of new products, service and engagement models to create value to customers. The process of transforming the company digitally is still taking place. “The key goals of the company can only be achieved through innovation, digitalization, differentiation and expansion,” says Iyer.