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Dow’s factories of the future

Building human-centric digital manufacturing capabilities


Dow introduces—and quickly scales—user-friendly, digital manufacturing excellence.

We have made great progress through Digital Manufacturing Acceleration efforts.

John Sampson / Senior Vice President Operations, Dow

Charting a chemical change

Dow, a leading materials science company, envisions the future of manufacturing as one that prioritizes people over algorithms and automation. They believe that leveraging technologies like artificial intelligence and automation should make human work easier, safer, and more precise. To bring this vision to life, Dow aimed to digitize its entire company, including manufacturing operations and maintenance, which historically relied on paper-based processes.

The existing manual processes were inefficient and prone to human error, with employees spending significant time on non-value-add activities like data aggregation and searching for historical plant documents. Dow sought a worker-centric solution that would enable data gathering, analysis, and delivery, allowing employees to focus on more valuable tasks. Additionally, they aimed to reduce operating costs, optimize equipment and parts, minimize unplanned events, increase production capacity, and enhance the employee experience.

While Dow had piloted digital technologies, scaling them beyond a single site proved challenging due to variations in plant operations and the need for secure solutions to protect proprietary information. Accenture saw an opportunity to deepen the partnership and offer advanced solutions, cloud-based working methods, rapid deployments, and global scaling.

By collaborating closely, Accenture helped Dow achieve its digital transformation goals and overcome complexities associated with scaling technology across multiple sites.

Tabulating data, testing tech

Dow and Accenture collaborated to implement a Digital Manufacturing Acceleration (DMA) program, positioning it as a foundational enabler for Dow's Digital Manufacturing strategy. Through an end-user study, Dow and Accenture gathered input from employees at four plants to design new capabilities that would deliver work procedures, data, and insights through a cloud-based, user-friendly, connected-worker solution.

The solution allowed operators and technicians to access data automatically, send maintenance alerts, attach photos, and tag equipment serial numbers from the field. This eliminated the need for manual data gathering and transfer, reducing maintenance execution time and ensuring accurate data readings. 

Following the successful field test, an acceleration plan was presented to Dow Leadership, leading to the approval of a two-year DMA program which included building the necessary infrastructure and technology foundation, with initial deployments delivered through incremental releases and sprints. 

After deployment, a process was established to prioritize and deliver enhancements based on business needs. This DMA program served as a catalyst for digital transformation, enabling Dow to implement its Digital Manufacturing strategy, engage employees in digital ways of working, and strengthen the partnership between IT, operational technology, and the business.

A measurable yield

In less than a year, Accenture and Dow successfully implemented new digital manufacturing capabilities in 32 plants at Dow's largest manufacturing site. By the following year, the connected worker solution was deployed to seven sites and over 80 plants globally.

The DMA program has simplified manufacturing processes and improved work efficiency for employees. With the ability to connect and access data from anywhere in the production facilities, Dow's production asset performance has become more reliable, leading to timely maintenance actions. Real-time access to equipment and asset information in the field enables employees to make informed decisions, strengthening operating discipline and reducing equipment failures, incidents, and safety risks.

The program has created value through increased work process efficiencies and improved asset uptime, resulting in higher production output and reduced operational costs. Due to the measurable value generated, the DMA program is being extended to bring digital capabilities to more Dow manufacturing sites worldwide. User feedback will also drive the addition of new connected worker capabilities to further enhance the established foundation.

With an intuitive and user-friendly solution being deployed globally, Dow is poised to lead the industry towards a future that prioritizes people and leverages technology for safer and more precise manufacturing processes.