Blog Industry Industrial IoT

Automation, accelerated: Succeeding with Digital Transformation post Covid-19

Our Vice President Digital Transformation is working hand in hand with clients and partners to address industry challenges via smart automation every day. In this blog, he shares three simple but far-reaching recommendations for companies to seize the extraordinary opportunity to automate that the pandemic disruptions created. 

Dieter Krockauer, VP Digital Transformation at KINEXON, has decades of experience in facilitating digitalization strategies across industries. Most recently before joining KINEXON, he was Head of Innovation & Technology Automotive SCM“ at Continental, a global automotive supplier. Passionate about and strategically invested in digital transformation, Dieter shares his perspective for a winning smart factory strategy. 

Dieter, how has the pandemic changed companies strategies when it comes to smart factory automation?

Even before the pandemic, most if not all companies were invested in leveraging the power of digitalization to automate their processes, increase their revenue, and outperform competitors. The pandemic however, has tremendously accelerated the need to implement digital solutions that quickly generate impact – by increasing production speed and flexibility, increasing supply chain resilience, and creating more transparency around complex processes and global business models. 

Currently, companies are experiencing a forceful push from the C‑Suite to digitize. The challenge is less one of getting a budget for digital transformation approved. It is more one of finding the right start to the digital transformation journey. And this is where KINEXON comes in with our powerful location-based automation software and broad portfolio of connected devices.

Industrial automation is an extremely complex endeavor. Therefore, I recommend companies to take a tri-partite approach to digitalization:

1. Don’t neglect the base

I am often surprised about the intricate strategies companies develop without leveraging what I call the base.” By this I mean basic location data about assets, employees, tools, and vehicles on the shop floor. In order to understand the how”, you must understand the where” and the what.” At the end of the day, 99% of any given production process consists of moving parts – failure to leverage this powerful data means failing the 101 of digitalization. At KINEXON, we are working to close this digital disconnect, with a wide variety of RTLS solutions to capture location data across the supply chain.

2. Doing is more important than planning
Digital change inevitably affects all business units. There are no exceptions – only delays. Given the complexity of today’s advanced manufacturing and global networks, it’s safe to say that there is no one right way to digitize. My approach has always been: Get started and keep iterating!” Kicking off smaller automation use cases and adapting or scaling them as needed might well offer the fastest payback – it surely beats coming to an innovation standstill. KINEXON is facilitating innovation with a fast payback in our product portfolio – the X‑Tag for example is the most cost-efficient UWB sensor worldwide and enables companies to locate an unprecedented amount of assets.

3. Digital transformation goes beyond automation
Companies must have a vision of what their digital transformation strategy should achieve on the shop floor. More importantly though, they should consider the holistic implications of digitalization. It has a far wider impact on business and revenue growth than automation: Think about the sustainability gains digitalization enables – lowering our CO2 output and overall environmental footprint will be one of the main challenges from here on out. The same is true for customizing product portfolios to batch size 1, for upskilling our workforce, for enabling future technologies such as predictive analytics, AI, machine learning, autonomous operations, and robotics. At KINEXON, our powerful Location-based Automation Platform was developed with all these aspects in mind – to make sure we provide value for our clients not only today, but also tomorrow.

A good example for digitalization done right…
…is my old love” Continental. Witnessing the speed with which the company has fully automated its material flow, I can’t help but feel proud to have contributed to this – both while at the company as well as now through my role at KINEXON.

Jürgen Braunstetter, Continental’s Head of Supply Chain Automotive, was convinced of the power his investment in automation will yield for years to come: In the future, size alone will no longer be decisive in competition, but speed and precision will be. Whoever is faster and more flexible will win the race in the end,” he said in an interview with DVZ – and that was in 2014.

This assessment ultimately led to a clearly defined big picture: the fully automated material flow. Continental quickly got down to business in their smart factory model plants: they leveraged location-based automation for several applications at once – and can successfully scale, adapt, and improve their automated processes across facilities now with KINEXON as their trusted partner.

It excites me to see our cooperation becomes so successful, so fast. And I can’t wait to advise and advance more clients with their digital transformation journey.

Editor’s note: Continental AG cooperates with KINEXON for the full automation of its material flow as part of its global smart factory strategy. You can read the full case study here:

Download Case Study

More stories

That Was the Sports Innovation 2022

With the first match-ready ball with integrated tracking sensor, KINEXON caused a sensation at Sports Innovation 2022. Insights, answers to frequently asked questions and further information can be found here!

Fleet Management Software by KINEXON: Continental Brings Its Autonomous Mobile Robots to the Shopfloor

Technology company Continental will present for the first time in public its Autonomous Mobile Robots for the external market at the LogiMAT 2022, the international intralogistics tradeshow, from May 31 to June 2 in Stuttgart, Germany.

Football Tracking Systems Briefly Explained

KINEXON is an innovation driver in the field of live tracking and analysis solutions for professional football. We introduce you to the most innovative live tracking and analysis solutions.

Sustainability 4.0: Driving Sustainability and Growth through Paperless Production

KINEXON IT Project Manager Henrik Buck shares how paperless production can help you achieve both your productivity and sustainability goals. 

How Does Performance Data Help to Increase Performance Within a Few Months?

After promotion to the Swiss National League in 2018, the SC Rapperswil-Jona Lakers ice hockey team stagnated in last place in the table for two seasons. In 2020 – 21, they gave up the red lantern and found themselves in 10th place at the end of the season. The breakthrough came the following year. Read an insight into the story behind it here.

Monitoring of Training Load and Its Comparability With Match Data

Some training methods commonly used in football do not reflect the full external and internal load of a real match under competition conditions. KINEXON tracking systems are able to effectively monitor training loads and compare them with competition data. 

Handball Tracking Systems Briefly Explained

For the sport of handball, KINEXON offers several solutions for real-time data generation and analysis. In this video you get the overview!

The Use of Tracking Systems for Performance Diagnostics - 5 Advantages

With the help of tracking systems, the effectiveness of a training or improvement of athletes can easily be identified. Collected tracking data throughout trainings can also be used in the context of performance diagnostics. This procedure is called in-situ testing”, which is only one of many advantages of KINEXON’s technology. 

FC Bayern Basketball Provides Insights Into Load Management

The COVID pandemic has made stress management even more challenging. In our new case video, FC Bayern Basketball shares insights on how tracking data helps protect players from overload.

Sports Tech Talk | Episode 1 with Nicolas Evans (FIFA)

This is the very first edition of our new video format KINEXON Sports Tech Talk”! Welcome with us the person who is playing a key role in driving the digitisation of football at FIFA: Nicolas Evans. Together with Maximilian Schmidt, Nicolas looks back on common learnings from the last twelve months and provides valuable insights!

KINEXON Joins the FSI Community

The Football Science Institute (FSI) is expanding its technology portfolio and now uses KINEXON’s mobile player tracking system KINEXON PERFORM GNSS on site in Granada.

Beyond IT/OT Convergence: Enabling Flexible Process Automation from the Shop Floor

KINEXON CRO Mehdi Bentanfous sheds light on why location-based process automation might just be the answer to common IT/OT tensions when it comes to digital transformation in complex industrial environments.

How KINEXON Is Shaping the Future of UWB: An Interview with Steffen Winkler

UWB is booming — across B2C and B2B applications. As a pioneer in UWB technology, we talked with Steffen Winkler, Head of Product Strategy at KINEXON, about how KINEXON is actively involved in shaping the future of UWB and the technology’s use for location-based automation.

The Rise of UWB: 3 Questions for Stefan Biermeier

The real-time localization market has recently been growing rapidly. More and more companies are now investing in Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology for their indoor localization needs. Which potential does the technology hold for businesses, and what does the future promise for UWB? We asked Stefan Biermeier, Senior Product Manager Industrial IoT at KINEXON. Stefan oversees product strategy for KINEXON’s Industry 4.0 portfolio and shares some of his insights on UWB

Data Privacy: 3 Examples Why Contact Tracing Is More Secure Than Its Reputation

When it comes to strategic contact tracing, there is no way around a discussion on data protection. Three prejudices are particularly common. We clarify.