At the recently concluded Industrial Transformation ASIA-PACIFIC (ITAP) 2019 held at the Singapore Expo, Industrial Automation Asia managed to catch up with Mr Syed Suroor Anwar, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Strategy, Product, Supplier, Pricing & inventory Management for RS Components, who shared about having a unified framework for the Internet of Things and how RS Components is helping customers embrace Industry 4.0.
The lack of a unified framework is something that the Internet of Things (IoT) has faced as a challenge while cooperating with the industries. Various companies do not have a shared central platform.
How do you feel about this and what do you think are the difficulties in achieving this stage?
It’s a hindrance in terms of penetrating IoT further, specifically into industries. If you look at any particular industry, the installations are kind of mixed up – you will find factories having installations from various manufacturers. And most of the companies offering a IIoT ecosystem today are on a closed platform so they can only cater to their install base and products. It works on the principle that they are trying to get more market share. But it also acts as hindrance for manufacturing companies to come on board.
If manufacturers go on a platform owned by a particular supplier / company, they are forced to change the entire install base which proves to be more expensive, otherwise they will find difficulties in adopting the technology. I think that is the hindrance to getting more companies to adapt to the whole principles of the IoT and Industry 4.0 by setting up a high barrier to enter. So I feel there is a need to have a standardisation in this area. It will be good for the industry.
What is RS Components doing to help their customers move more rapidly into the IoT area?
There few key elements to our approach that supports our customers to enable IoT penetration in their products and operations.
The first or the basic level is to get the right product portfolio and partner with right suppliers who can provide the customers with the correct and most advanced products for the solution to the issues they are facing. We partner with 2,500 key brands to bring technology closer and faster to the user through the digital platform. The biggest advantage we have against a traditional distribution model is speed, for example, if a supplier launches a new product, it will take ages to reach a customer/ User when using a traditional distribution model. But with a digital platform, it can get the reach to millions of users in a matter of minutes. RS Components’s Designspark platform also helps the upcoming engineers to utilise the free services of design tools and community to gain more knowledge about the newest technologies and it allows our suppliers to reach out to more than 1.5 million users globally at a click of a button.
The second stage of the approach is becoming a trusted supply partners with our clients. We want to make the manufacturing install base, data and supply chain work seamless through the excellent value added services and logistics network that we have. This integrated approach uses big data and analytics to understand the performance of machine and equipment’s production schedule, etc, to predict and analyse usage along with the use of world class E-solutions streamlines the buying process and with availability of stock management solutions, we optimise the inventory levels hence delivering an overall Operating Efficiency improvement end to end. Some of the key acquisitions done by RS in the past one year have been a stepping stone on the journey to provide customers with and end to end solution (IESA – for Integrated Supply and Monition – Condition monitoring and reliability management).
Why are events such as the ITAP important to your technology and business?
RS has quite a disruptive business model and is different to a traditional distributor. As a company, we bring our customers and supplier together without any biases. Events such as the ITAP allow us to showcase our capabilities and uniqueness in the industry. The ITAP also allows us to tell our current and prospective customers how we can add a lot of value to their manufacturing operations and supply chain. The connection that we established when they came over to our booth is priceless. Therefore, industry events like this are important to us.
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