Discover GE’s Digital Industrial Transformation Journey
By Ali Saleh, Senior Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey, GE Digital
One of the first questions I ask when a customer says they are interested in GE’s digital industrial solutions is: “How ready is your company to embrace change?”
That’s because what’s involved isn’t just about plugging in a particular piece of software or hardware. It’s about taking the customer on a digital transformation journey.
This includes establishing a deep partnership of mutual collaboration and trust between the customer and the GE Digital team. In this regard, it helps that we’ve been working with some of these customers for decades by providing GE equipment and services.
It also helps that as a company GE has itself undergone a digital transformation. That journey means that today, GE is the leading software company for the Industrial Internet of Things.
As with any transformation, the digital industrial journey begins with looking at the customer’s current state of operations and performance. We help them identify relevant parameters as diverse as company culture, people, processes, and operations. And to really understand what’s happening, we map these to specific company assets and performance indicators, such as run rate, costs, and quality.
We then identify ways to implement digital industrial solutions that can help the customer achieve sustainable, incremental improvements in process productivity, efficiency, reliability, and other areas.
When we start these conversations, one question that often comes up is, “What does digital industrial actually mean?” I answer that we’re describing a system which connects software, applications, and analytics to industrial assets, systems, and businesses. By doing so, we give operators information and insights, and an ability to take action that helps them to operate faster, smarter, and more efficiently.
Importantly, these software solutions are built on GE’s platform for the Industrial Internet, Predix. Predix is specifically designed with for the security requirements, big data bandwidth, and reliability required for industrial systems. It also allows for flexibility – it can be deployed on the machine, at the level of a power plant or factory, and all the way to the cloud. This flexibility is key in ensuring we meet our customers’ varying needs when it comes to operational technology (OT).
When going down this transformational path – both for ourselves and when working with customers – we’ve seen that certain types of companies are more ready for a digital industrial transformation than others.
Good candidates include those organizations that know they have under-developed infrastructure and productivity opportunities (or issues) such as run rates below the industry average, are good candidates.
These companies also must have leaders who are willing to think outside the box and are humble enough to recognize the opportunities these solutions present to leapfrog their competitors and even their own legacy systems.
Successfully implementing digital industrial solutions also requires companies to trust GE enough to share honest pain points and their data. Only with this transparency can we collaborate to really implement GE Digital solutions that will help them take costs out and deliver the powerful productivity, efficiency, reliability, and overall performance results they need.
In the region, we’ve helped customers in sectors as diverse as healthcare, packaging, aviation, and power generation to implement digital transformation. We’re also implementing digital transformations within our own operations here in the region.
For example, we are working with Obeikan Investment Group in KSA to digitize their manufacturing facilities, turning them into “smart factories.” We have also transformed the 26,000sqm GE Manufacturing and Technology Center (GEMTEC) in Dammam into a Brilliant Factory that uses sensors, big data, analytics and the cloud to improve operations, drive efficiencies, and cut costs.
But we are not done yet. Research shows that digital industrial solutions can remove billions of dollars of costs from virtually every type of industrial system. If you’re ready to leverage digital to improve your operations and gain a competitive advantage, please reach out to me – we can do so much together through digital, for the benefit of this region!
This is part one of a six-part series exploring GE’s digital industrial solutions in the Middle East, Africa & Turkey.