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How to create and implement scalable digital solutions for Smart Factory
By Marko Yli-Pietilä, Head of Smart Operations, Stora Enso
The starting point of Stora Enso’s digital journey was the establishment of a corporate digital strategy in 2016, which was put into action in 2017 with a five-year plan. The plan included not only important guidelines but also details such as the annual budget for digital development as well as organisation setup. After the initial digital strategy was developed, digital development was also integrated into the business strategy.
Aligned with the digital strategy, Stora Enso’s divisions and individual mills are highly involved to uncover concrete opportunities for digital capabilities. We are not developing digital solutions for the sake of it but to solve concrete operational problems with modern digital technologies such as AI or VR. Digital Mill Roadmaps are created to document the mills’ digitalisation plans uniformly, and the business divisions then consolidate the roadmaps for strategic alignment.
Our mills are different from each other. They produce various products, and have different operating systems in use. To enable high scalability of digital solutions in this environment, you need strong core technologies for data and solution creation. It is very challenging to change the different operational systems at mills, but it is straight forward to connect the systems to standard platforms for data integration and solution development. We have two robust platforms, one for mobilising field personnel and one for creating and running intelligent solutions.
At Stora Enso, we are creating problem focused digital solutions for our operations. We use strong anchor technologies to enable scalability across heterogenous mills in our fleet
Digital solutions need to deliver clear business value, as well as help improve operational efficiency and safety. Sometimes the value is evident right from the beginning, but sometimes the ideas need to be tested first – not just technically but also from a value point of view. In Stora Enso, we allow idea testing in a PoC project without a business case, to try the most modern technologies out. The PoC project is for verifying not just technical but also business benefit feasibility of an idea. For scalable solutions, the value differs from one mill or production line to another. This needs to be considered when scale-out plans are created, and the scale-out schedule should be designed so that both short- and long-term value are maximized.
At Stora Enso, we are creating problem-focused digital solutions for our operations. We use strong anchor technologies to enable scalability across heterogenous mills in our fleet. The solutions are solving individual known problems and mills can mix and match the solutions as is best for their case – mills have different challenges, and they need a diverse mix of digital solutions for maximum value. Because of the stepwise problem-focused approach, we need a clear digital vision for our operations. This ensures we are always on the right track on our digital journey. We have created a Digital Mill 2030 Vision towards we are moving with every new digital solution.
Many companies are struggling to break out from the vicious circle of digital piloting. At Stora Enso, we have managed to move digital development focus from piloting to scaling digital solutions out in operations. We have done many things right and learned from the mistakes along the journey. The things explained above have helped us greatly, and we are committed to continue.