Construction and Industry X.0: Transform the Core

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February 15, 2018
Construction and Industry X.0: Transform the Core
By: Simon Bentley

At Accenture, we believe that the scale and pace of change in the manufacturing and construction industries demands a new industrial framework. We’re calling this framework Industry X.0; it’s a blueprint for rapid and flexible technological adoption, today and in the future, to help organisations thrive.

At a time when competition is fierce and the need for efficiency paramount, it’s more important than ever for construction projects to be strategically planned and executed. Indeed, new capital projects are increasingly serving as the platforms through which digital transformation is being introduced to a wide range of sectors including building and civil engineering and in industrial sectors such as aerospace, automotive and oil & gas. In this new environment, a building and its purpose are more closely tied than ever; and must be designed, built and maintained as a cohesive, insight—informed, whole.

For me, the future success of businesses in the construction industry comes down to meeting three imperatives:

  1. Re—engineer processes. Construction firms must move from today’s sequential and iterative operating mode to one where projects are more collaborative, and teams and resources can be mobilised at the right time to agree what needs to happen for a project to progress smoothly.

  2. Standardise components. The standardisation and modularisation of capital projects components are essential to accelerating construction processes and reducing costs. Critical to this is the better exchange of design information through the supply chain, as it can foster standardisation, collaboration and the synchronisation of delivery.

  3. Digitise engineering. Digital Engineering and advanced Project Controls capabilities enable ‘smarter’, faster and more efficient construction. Digital tools allow companies to simulate the build before building, and open all possible fields to optimise costs, schedule, performance and overall intelligence throughout the whole lifecycle of the project.

This is where Industry X.0 comes in. Industry X.0 provides construction companies the overall framework they need to meet these three imperatives and transform to a more data—centric, insights—driven approach to capital projects.

Industry X.0 construction companies build their core engineering and production systems around digital to drive new levels of efficiency. They ensure that physical machines, buildings and software systems are synchronised, and that data is made accessible right across the end—to—end value chain. This access to data—at—volume provides companies with unprecedented views into their operations, machinery, people and processes that allow them to unlock previously—unseen cost efficiencies, and drive up investment capacity.

Here are just a few of the transformational benefits Industry X.0 construction firms enjoy:

  • Building Information Modelling (BIM). Industry X.0 enables BIM, a collaborative way of working that’s underpinned by new digital technologies which enable more efficient methods of designing, creating and maintaining assets. BIM embeds key product and asset data and a 3D computer model that can be used for effective management of information throughout a project lifecycle, from earliest concept through to operations & maintenance.

  • Integrated Product Lifecycle Management data with BIM data. Where a capital project ties to a product—for example, in the building of a factory—integrating PLM and BIM data allows Industry X.0 companies to optimise their new facility to the specific production requirements of the end product in question. Even where this isn’t the case, PLM approaches can offer much to the construction industry by showing firms how they can standardise data from multiple sources into a single source of truth for all data applications from initial requirement definition, through operate with electronic and up to date work instructions all the way to decommission and extended end of asset life. This approach encourages collaboration in a way that BIM alone cannot achieve, and will enable firms to increase the effectiveness of their operations exponentially.

  • Leverage emerging, data—based technologies. Another core differentiator of Industry X.0 businesses is that they can leverage advanced data—centric technologies such as AI, blockchain, automation/robotics and predictive analytics. These industry relevant technologies are important because they offer new solutions to some of the industry’s most intractable challenges. Blockchain, for example, can be used to create a ‘crypto—seal’: a new mechanism for ensuring that parts are as bought, and can be traced throughout the supply chain. Another example is predictive modelling, which can be used to predict machinery or plant failures or other potential disruptions to construction well before they occur and enabling preventative measures to be taken.

By transforming the core, Industry X.0 construction firms are enabling more agile, intelligent operations where people, machinery and processes are in complete alignment and working together optimally at scale and across the entire supply chain ecosystem. What’s more, the digital core means they’re ready for whatever future technological disruption occurs in the industry and able to exploit it immediately. If your business has not started on its Industry X.0 transformation, then now is the time to start.

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