The steps needed to attain a complete digital transformation solution that increases productivity

So you’re ready to tackle a digital transformation project in your facility, but what’s the best way to start? Well, look no further: SICK has your back from beginning to end as a single source for digital and consulting services. In just five steps, we can help you reliably increase your productivity by unlocking your data via digital transformation. Here’s how we do it.

Step 1: Infrastructure and Operational Assessment for Increased Productivity

First, we start with an assessment of your operations and existing infrastructure. This helps determine the steps to move forward with creating a solution and concept that best meets the needs of your company.

This starts with discussing the business strategy. Where is the company headed? Is top-line growth the priority? Is there a focus on increased capacity to meet demand? Is the business focused on reducing costs to remain competitive in a market with tightening margins? And what about manufacturing flexibility? How is the company addressing new market pressures, such as the ability to meet customization demands? Understanding these strategic objectives is vital to ensure that subsequent discussions of how to achieve these goals stay focused on remaining competitive.

Step 2: Solution Concept

Once you have an assessment completed, the next step is to create a solution concept. To achieve these previously identified business goals, it is a must to identify digitalization projects that align with the business objectives. Examples include reducing risk and addressing compliance requirements, which align with operational projects that address track-and-trace solutions. To do this, secure connectivity of automation systems and the strategic movement of data are critical.

SICK’s Consulting and Digital Solutions team works with you to determine the best approach to solve your business challenges. And then it is put into action with a design.

Step 3: Solution Design

SICK has all the enablers to make a digital transformation solution design feasible, including connectivity technology, affordable IoT hardware, and standardized communication protocols. Collecting meaningful data and analyzing for implications are still the biggest challenges to driving the impact from digital transformation.

There are a few different directions a digital solution can be implemented with SICK’s Consulting and Digital Solutions Team:

  • Sensor-up (Edge-to-Cloud): bringing data from the sensor systems up to the data floor on servers and cloud platforms providing added value based on data points
  • Data-down (Cloud-to-Edge): analyzing and optimizing business processes jointly with the customer to create added value using sensor data.
  • Combination of both: Both a sensor-up and a data-down option can be implemented, resulting in a comprehensive solution that accounts for how your business operates and highlighting key improvements.

Step 4: Installation and Commissioning

Next is the implementation of the design. “The team at SICK is agile and agnostic to consult with customers on their challenges and potential needs. This helps determine the ideal infrastructure to develop the most suitable enterprise solutions that can adapt to the disruptive industry needs,” said Salim Dabbous, director of sensor and safety integration at SICK.

One example of an Industry 4.0 enterprise offering is the implementation of a data concentrator methodology into a pre-existing controls platform to connect current machines and push non-process-related data seamlessly upstream to the cloud or an enterprise resource planning system. The reliable data pushed upstream might include machine status, part count, or data from temperature and pressure values. This all feeds into dashboards and key performance indicators, providing transparency and, ultimately, predictive maintenance measures that optimize processes and increase throughputs.

Step 5: Verification and Validation of Increased Productivity

Lastly, SICK is your partner from beginning to end on your digital transformation projects. We can provide timely and comprehensive services to ensure everything remains running in top condition. As a global provider of digital solutions, SICK takes a holistic approach to working with our customers to find creative solutions to their problems. This is supported by a multi-disciplinary team that spans the expertise required for a digital transformation including all key enabling technologies.

Our methodology includes a repeatable, scalable engineering process that focuses on data gathering and reporting to our customers in multiple steps to achieve the granularity required to unlock greater production efficiencies. With subsidiaries in over 50 countries around the world, our global reach enables us to provide you a complete solution for your business across the globe.

Interested in learning how SICK can help you to reliably increase productivity with a complete digital transformation solution? Contact a SICK representative today at!