Putting algorithms and processes together. The Smart Factory bets on the team

Interview with Massimiliano Fiori

Giorgia Pacino interviewed Delivery Unit Director Massimiliano Fiori in issue no. 4/2020 of Sistemi&Impresa about “Putting algorithms and processes together. The Smart Factory bets on the team”: smart factories need specific data skills, but they also need figures to connect with the world of production and the road to transformation passes through cross-functional working groups.

Hybrid figures for managing an integrated ecosystem

Working through interdisciplinary teams could be the first step in creating hybrid figures with knowledge of different topics. “There will always be a process and production expert, but even those experts will have to acquire skills on the information processes that accompany digitisation”, says Massimiliano Fiori, Delivery Unit Director of Atomos Hyla of the sedApta group. “The continuous evolution of technologies must be accompanied by a great open-mindedness and the ability to understand and embrace the new world”. 

The adoption of collaborative tools or mathematical models that allow to make forecasts on factory performance, as well as the availability of planning, scheduling and inventory solutions that give indications on production capacity and line organisation, has highlighted the need for new figures who can deal with a highly integrated ecosystem. “The department head and, at higher levels, the Production Manager and Operations Manager need to have reports and dashboards to examine the production situation in real time and in the final balance. We try to achieve this through control tower tools that let us analyse flows and guide operators at all levels”. If in the past an owner would go down to the factory floor to control the labourers’ work, it is now essential to have objective data in front of us, to know if production is proceeding correctly. 

“Digitisation has led to a demand for greater skills: among the soft skills, problem solving is one of the most important aspects, together with the empowerment of the actors within the factory. Everyone becomes a bit of a small entrepreneur: virtuous mechanisms are triggered that allow everyone to interact proactively and induce positive attitudes aimed at solving problems”. Added to this is people’s ability to be interdisciplinary and address further areas, also outside their own sector.