We believe manufacturing will remain an important sector in the economy, even though employment in the manufacturing sector will continue to shrink because of ongoing productivity improvements. We consider manufacturing to be an important pillar within a healthy society for two main reasons: first, many services are directly linked to manufactured products (e.g. sales, customisation, logistics, maintenance contractors and field services) and, second, manufactured goods can be traded internationally much more easily than most service products.

International competition is fierce, and it is tough to survive as a manufacturer particularly in high-wage countries with rapidly increasing ESG (Environment, Social and Government) expectations and legislation. Manufacturers must move faster, but many of them are still implementing methodologies from the first half of the last century such as Lean (1940s) and Six Sigma (1950s) – now combined into Lean Six Sigma (LSS).

LSS is important, but it is only one part of the equation – quality of management is the other part and the key. Manufacturing excellence requires process excellence, which requires managerial excellence, and the two management levels that matter most are the leaders at the top and the first-line supervisors.

    Developing managerial excellence requires:

  • organisational alignment
  • getting the manufacturing strategy aligned with the business strategy
  • getting the structure of the basic business processes right
  • cascading the strategy down to the shop floor
  • installing a powerful performance management system for understanding and acting on quality and productivity drivers
  • a compelling vision on how the plant should look and run – a vision that is co-owned by all
  • quick wins to establish momentum

Maintenance is a value creator rather than a cost generator. For asset-intensive industries, high uptime and reliability are critical to ensure return on assets; for asset-lighter industries, high uptime and reliability are critical in a just-in-time supply chain.

Current digital possibilities provide ample opportunities for Maintenance to play that all-important value-creator role. However, more often than not we see that the basics are just not in place: cooperation between Maintenance and Production is unproductive, mean time between repairs is too short, there is too much corrective maintenance versus preventive maintenance, maintenance backlog is growing, drawings are out of date as are maintenance plans, data is lacking and contractors are underperforming. The effects are too much downtime, unreliable production, low efficiency, high costs, too much working capital and dissatisfied employees.

Before deploying the various digital aids that are on the market nowadays, you must get the basics right. Key elements are:

  • organisational alignment
  • getting the maintenance strategy aligned with the business strategy
  • getting the structure of the basic maintenance processes right
  • fostering a deep and productive cooperation between Maintenance and Production
  • fostering a productive partnership with contractors
  • a powerful performance management system for understanding and acting on quality and productivity drivers
  • knowing what the critical equipment is
  • registering data on equipment behaviour, logging maintenance history and ensuring integrity of data
  • ensuring technical condition of equipment is at the sufficient level
  • ensuring quality execution of corrective maintenance: root cause elimination
  • ensuring timely and quality execution of preventive maintenance routines
  • using condition monitoring of equipment
  • getting the skills and behaviours right

If you already have all this is in place, the equipment performance will already be high and costs significantly lower. Gradually, in line with the growing maturity of the organisation, you can integrate digital aids to achieve the next levels of equipment performance, efficiency and even lower costs: IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), smart equipment, mobile devices, wearables, digital twin, advanced analytics, predictive maintenance, seamless engineering, etc.

Attaining world-class supply chain management and collaboration means developing and managing supply chains and partnerships so that your company is flexible and resilient, with response times and delivery performance that will beat the competition.
Future supply chains need to cope with the long-term trends of mass customisation, ever shorter life cycles and the more recent volatile conditions that are here to stay. In these market conditions, many companies will benefit from a “smart” supply chain, which combines the drive to eliminate waste (i.e. anything that doesn’t add value) with agility and responsiveness (i.e. the ability to handle unpredictability with speed and flexibility).

A smart supply chain enables fast, flexible supply of tailor-made products at competitive cost levels. It excels in having few product and process quality issues, reduced operational costs, increased flexibility, and high internal process speeds. It integrates customers and business partners to create value in both the primary and support processes.

Building a smart supply chain requires a holistic approach that integrates product and process design, organisation design, and digital solutions:

  • an unambiguous supply chain strategy
  • product configuration for late postponement
  • processes that are aligned with strategy and designed for minimal order cycle times
  • a flat organisation with multidisciplinary teams and no silos
  • integration with partners throughout the supply chain
  • an aligned performance management system with real-time information from the end-to-end process
  • supply chain visibility with the ability for stakeholders throughout the supply chain to access real-time data related to the order process, planning, inventory, delivery and potential supply chain disruptions

We partner with Human Resources, Finance and IT to improve quality, speed and cost so that your support functions can provide an advantage over the competition.
We help you quickly identify the sources of value, develop a plan of achievable initiatives, turn that plan into action, and ensure the results are sustainable.
We bring a full range of capabilities to help you achieve your goal. Our advanced analytics and automation expertise will help your support functions get more value from technology.

FINANCE

We help you to develop an aligned and integrated finance function that delivers superior service and tight controls at a lower cost – allowing your finance team to spend more time on higher-value, forward-looking activities and less on accounting and transactional tasks.
We partner with you to quickly identify opportunities to increase service, strengthen controls and drive down costs through Intelligent Automation. To sustain your results over the long term, we develop the capability of your people. With our Operational Performance Builder® method, we foster a deep ownership culture and bring about the necessary behavioural changes.

HR

Most businesses face major change or even outright disruption. At the same time, 70% of change initiatives fail to deliver the intended results. We see HR as the critical function, first, to support the leadership team and managers in the organisation in delivering a successful change programme for a step change in performance and, second, to retain and develop employees in line with developing business needs.
To do so, HR must radically change the way it operates: spend less time on the administrative elements of recruiting, developing and retaining people, and more value-adding time with leaders and managers throughout the company for improved business outcomes and better employee experience.
We partner with you to quickly identify opportunities to increase service and quality and reduce costs through Intelligent Automation. To sustain your results over the long-term, we develop the capability of your people. With our Operational Performance Builder® method, we foster a deep ownership culture and bring about the necessary behaviour changes.

IT

Industry 4.0 means the growing together of the digital and manufacturing industries. All physical assets are digitised and integrated into digital ecosystems with partners in the value chain. This means that IT is pulled into the centre of business operations. We call this “Agile Business Integrated IT”.

IT INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT

Nowadays, there are many different types of IT infrastructures: several variants of the cloud, appliances (implementation of algorithms in hardware), on-premise (own data centre), and central network infrastructures. The administration, cost and sourcing of these different types of IT infrastructure must be continuously optimised.

IT CONTRACT MANAGEMENT

Both the development and provision of digital services require effective contractual agreements with providers, partners and customers, with the responsibilities and the service quality, if necessary, clearly regulated by service levels. Appropriate limitations of liability should be included. Contract management and flexible service adjustments are particularly relevant in the course of iterative service development. The question of “who is liable and how” must be answered for the content or service components that are constantly being developed.

SEAMLESS IT INTEGRATION

Middleware technologies (i.e. the services of various components that integrate with one another according to certain rules and processes) and the service-oriented, architecture modularisation that makes it more adaptable are essential. The management of these technologies and the establishment of corresponding digital architectures are becoming the core task of IT as a business enabler.

DEVOPS

The term DevOps was formed by combining “development” and “operations”. DevOps isn’t a process or a technology or a standard. DevOps represents a change in IT culture, focusing on rapid IT service delivery through the adoption of agile, lean practices in the context of a system-oriented approach. DevOps emphasises people (and culture) and seeks to improve collaboration between operations and development teams. DevOps implementations utilise technology — especially automation tools that can leverage an increasingly programmable and dynamic infrastructure from a life cycle perspective. Importantly, the meaning of DevOps has broadened to be an umbrella term for the processes, culture and mindset used to shorten the software development life cycle, using fast feedback loops to deliver features, fixes and updates more frequently.

Common problems with Capital projects are time and budget overruns, safety issues during execution, and troublesome commissioning. Axisto can support your project from initiation to commissioning. We focus on the management of the specification-development process and make sure each phase is delivered on time, to a high quality, with no rework. In the execution phase, we put in a lot of effort into ensuring ownership of the project by all parties involved. And we ensure that there is sufficient clarity and transparency around performance and roles and responsibilities.

Disciplined cash and working capital management drives good operational and financial performance. However, performance in order to cash, inventory management and procure to pay  slumped over the 5 years prior to the COVID outbreak. A closer analysis reveals that inventory optimisation poses companies the biggest challenge – both in volatile and non-volatile markets. More Cash – Lower Inventory – Better Service, good inventory management is the key.

DELIVER DOUBLE DIGIT INVENTORY REDUCTIONS AND MAINTAIN OR IMPROVE SERVICE LEVELS

Decades of experience have taught us that going straight for the inventories themselves is both the quickest and the surest way of delivering a high-performing supply chain. Inventory sits right at the heart of your supply chain and is both a symptom and cause of your supply chain performance. Getting inventory right keeps your customers happy, increases flow and reduces cost and waste and frees up cash.

At Axisto, we combine the practical business focus of management consulting with the high-speed analytical capability of advanced information technology. We rapidly distil practical insights from data in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. Our people concentrate on the human challenges of implementing and sustaining resilient and lean supply chains.

Our unique approach to supply chain puts inventory optimisation front and centre. This allows us to help deliver double digit reductions in inventory while maintaining or improving service levels – at speed in a low risk manner compared to traditional approaches.

OUR INVENTORY MANAGEMENT PROPOSITIONS

Axisto provides three inventory management propositions: inventory optimisation programmes, inventory analytics and inventory maturity assessments.

Our starting point with most clients is a quick scan. On the basis of just 3 standard reports from your ERP system, we quantify improvement potential item by item as well as overall. The output is both an immediate high-level quantification of improvement potential and the basis of a road map to deliver sustainable improvements quickly.

INVENTORY OPTIMISATION PROGRAMMES

We provide expert analytics and effective change management backed up by a clearly measurable business case. Improvements to inventory positions of 20% or more, sometimes much more, are usually achievable within the first year, at a high return on investment.

 INVENTORY ANALYTICS

Do you find it difficult to really understand what your inventory data is telling you, or what you should do about it? Do you have optimisation tools that are difficult to use or which give results you know to be wrong, but you’re not sure why? With the proprietary technology that we use, we provide clients with rapid actionable insights into their inventory data.

In addition, we help clients with a range of targeted analytical exercises, ranging from strategic inventory positioning (where in your supply chain should you hold inventory?) through to setting inventory policies for items that are hard to optimise, such as spare parts, or make to order products.

INVENTORY MATURITY ASSESSMENTS

Inventory is influenced by almost every aspect of your business. Therefore, it can be hard to know at an enterprise level where the biggest opportunities for further improvement are, or how you compare to your competitors.

Axisto can take the temperature of your inventory management. We combine a granular, bottom-up quantitative assessment of your potential for improvement with a qualitative overview of your people, processes and systems, including relevant benchmarks, to give you actionable insights into where to find the next step change in your performance journey.

A CASE

CHALLENGE

A medium-sized industrial manufacturing firm with a strong market position and profitability had little historical focus on inventory. The consequence was that inventory was increasing gradually. It was time to act.

RESULTS

Inventory was reduced by more than 50% from the initial baseline over a period of 3 years, while service levels were maintained or improved. Improvements in the underlying data led to a better understanding of how and why to act – inventory management capability was significantly developed within the client’s teams.

SOME QUOTES

“We finally have full transparency of what we have, so we can make fact-based decisions on a weekly basis.” – Automotive manufacturer

Since starting a programme, we have reduced our inventories by over 50%.” –  Industrial manufacturer

The results are exceptional and have made a major difference to our cash flow.” – Global manufacturing company

The inventory programme brought a wide range of process issues into sharp focus, with an impact much broader than just inventory.” – Market-leading manufacturer

Industry 4.0 means the growing together of the digital and manufacturing industries. All physical assets are digitised and integrated into digital ecosystems with partners in the value chain.

Industry 4.0 represents a huge step in performance. You can improve your speed, flexibility and productivity by 40%. You can develop a new business strategy and take the opportunity to innovate your products and services portfolio.

Axisto works with you to map the digital maturity of your business with our AIMA (Axisto Industry 4.0 Maturity Assessment) and choose the elements that will deliver the most value in line with your vision. Well-chosen pilots will help you get on the learning curve and achieve some initial success. You will gain insights into the skills gap, and this can direct your HR strategy. We can help you to properly organise data analytics and develop your organisation more digitally. Axisto’s experience will ensure you avoid any pitfalls on your journey to becoming a digital enterprise.

Importantly, the biggest challenge for a company is not in choosing the right technology, but in having a lack of digital culture and skills in the organisation. Investing in the right technologies is important – but the success or failure does not ultimately depend on specific sensors, algorithms or analysis programs. The crux lies in a wide range of people-oriented factors. Axisto supports you in the development of a robust digital culture and ensures change is developed from within and driven by clear leadership from the top.

An autonomous operating model is not just a digital upgrade of your current operating model. It is a radically different way of conducting your business.

INTEGRATED PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

Primary and support business processes are integrated. This allows the financial department to act in a much more agile manner. The cash flow is visible on an ad-hoc basis, which improves planning and analysis abilities. A forecast supported by the IT system replaces manual forecasts. Once determined, KPIs make controlling easier through automated warning messages, thus allowing immediate intervention to take place.

The budget process is changed and no longer runs along the individual business functions (such as Sales, Marketing, Production, IT), but along value drivers (sales quantities linked to market data, prices in combination with customer clusters, etc.). At any time, the balance and P&L for the company as a whole and for each of the departments can be determined. This makes it possible to sail sharply close to the wind.

The entire supply chain uses a single point of truth for real-time information The transparency makes it possible to simulate different scenarios quickly and easily, but ultimately people make the decisions. The effect of decisions is calculated and communicated in real-time throughout the end-to-end supply chain. Margin, order cycle time and cash can be predictively optimised based on a holistic view of supply chain performance, stock levels and trend analyses.

MOBILE

Mobile devices are an essential interaction channel for both customers and employees. As a result, the management and control of the integration of different mobile devices and of the mobile applications are strategic factors. New and existing mobile technologies are easy to integrate.

AGILE COLLABORATION

Collaboration is largely multidisciplinary and without hierarchy. Knowledge and skills are not things that sets you apart from others in the company – they are things you make available to the team.

Collaboration must be able to be set up ad hoc at any time, from anywhere – even across geographic boundaries. Active exchange of ideas, knowledge and expertise requires an appropriate incentive system. This system focuses on the group outcome and allows them to participate in the overall success.

Social media and collaboration technologies are a central element of communication, knowledge transfer and teamwork. This applies to interaction with customers, employees and business partners. The technologies are used for the interactive exchange of information and content, thus making collaboration more effective, and they are increasingly focused on establishing interaction patterns in a digital culture.

The aim of redesigning the office environment is to increase cooperation and creativity in the company. This includes, for example, creating zones of creativity in offices, building open structures where there are no fixed desks and integrating the employee’s own home office.

STRATEGIC WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT

Digitisation requires new skills and abilities on the part of employees. The development of these competencies in the workforce requires strategic planning to address the requirements in the long term. The use of analysis methods not only enables the optimised deployment of employees, but also clarifies the question about which skills are needed now and in the future and how to get them as quickly as possible.

STRATEGIC WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Knowledge and experience are becoming obsolete at an ever-increasing rate, and roles and tasks are constantly changing. The employees are constantly challenged to learn new things, to participate in training for new tasks and to adapt to role changes.

The purpose of using Intelligent Automation (IA) is to achieve better business outcomes through streamlining and scaling decision-making across businesses. IA simplifies processes, frees up resources and improves operational efficiencies. It combines methods and technologies to run business processes on behalf of knowledge workers, and it has a variety of applications.
IA adds value to business in many ways:

  • It increases process speed, reduces costs, improves compliance and quality, increases process resilience and optimises decision results.
  • Ultimately, it improves customer and employee satisfaction, improves cash flow and EBITDA, and decreases working capital.

IA consists of three components:

  • Business Process Management – with Process Mining to provide greater agility and consistency to business processes.
  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – which uses software robots, or bots, to complete repetitive manual tasks. RPA is the gateway to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and can leverage insights from AI to handle an increasing number of more complex tasks.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) – by using machine learning and complex algorithms to analyse structured and unstructured data, businesses can develop a knowledge base and formulate predictions based on that data. This is the decision engine of IA.

Intelligent Automation makes the Digital Operating Model work.

Our More Optimal Platform provides companies with solutions to model, plan and optimise their business operations from end to end. Our platform can handle scenarios that are considered too complex for other software solutions: planning and optimising complex production value networks, optimising intricate logistics operations, and planning and scheduling highly diverse workforces.

Key capabilities include predictive and prescriptive data analytics, forecasting, what-if scenario planning, collaborative decision-making, disruption handling and production scheduling.
The platform is hosted in the cloud and no separate tooling is required. You can model supply chain applications in your browser where end-users use it as well – what you see is what you get!

Supply chain modelling requires no code or specific calculations, and visualisation can be created using a small amount of easily understood code.

Powerful algorithmic building blocks for optimisation come out of the box and are fully integrated in the platform.

Serverless scaling enables multiple algorithms to be run in parallel so that large supply chain conundrums can be tackled.

Maps, 3D visuals, Gantt charts and other charts come out of the box and can easily be configured by the modeler. Custom visuals can be created using low-code and may be shared with other modelers in the More Optimal community.

The calculation engine makes sure you can focus on what needs to be calculated; dependencies between calculated fields are automatically handled by the platform.