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Scaling key to alleviating industrial capital constraints, accelerating decarbonisation

6th June 2023

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online

     

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Many of the challenges being faced in industrial environments can be solved by upscaling, software company Industry Software Solutions and Support (IS³) MD Dion Govender has said.

In an address to delegates during the twenty-ninth instance of X-Change – the premier industrial software solutions and networking conference being hosted in the Drakensberg from June 4 to 7 – he cited capital constraints as one of the challenges facing industrial environments, adding that this challenge, in particular, was concerning in the current high inflation and high energy cost environment.

Govender explained that Covid-19 and the restrictive measures that were put in place to curb the spread of the virus gave rise to connectivity and rapid digital transformation.

Were it not for the massive upscaling in industries, demand would have continued to outweigh supply, leave more lives at risk.

He added that innovation came from everywhere during that time and that the market responded to the crisis by building ecosystems virtually overnight. “Vaccinations were ready at a fraction of the time it normally takes to develop and distribute, owing to ecosystems and scale.

“In the industrial space, companies are faced with their own crisis – the need to decarbonise and mitigate climate change impacts.”

Govender believes a connected community, where companies work together and collectively scale, can solve many of the inhibitors to decarbonisation in sub-Saharan Africa.

Besides, he added, when failures occur within large connected industrial ecosystems, the impacts are not felt as harshly by any one entity.

Govender believes scaling will not only help companies to generate more revenue, but become digitally transformed and solve the pressing challenges of today. He affirmed that all the tools and systems were available, but said many companies were still not using these.

“All the technology that we have, the myriad of learning environments, are not being used,” Govender lamented, adding that this was one of the reasons X-Change focuses pertinently on knowledge sharing and collaboration.

Moreover, connected industrial ecosystems are becoming more relevant and useful as the private sector is increasingly tasked to help solve South Africa’s issues, from potholes to loadshedding. 

Govender said market forces and ecosystems would step in during any crisis and, as a business community, it was necessary to scale those solutions for truly meaningful impact and cost savings.

In turn, scalable solutions call for innovation outside of the organisation. Govender highlighted how the exhibitors at X-Change, which include automation and technology companies such as i-RAMS, Schneider Electric and Endress+Hauser, often work together to achieve scale, drive deeper efficiency, reduce waste and emissions and improve quality.

He added that AVEVA, in particular, as a software solutions expert, had made it easier to scale operational solutions.

Operational barriers typically start with silos, Govender said, suggesting that a new management approach that favoured openness to collaborate and embrace new solutions, would be needed.

AVEVA uses a combination of information from within the organisation, as well as external inputs and outputs, to propel efficiency and optimisation.

Govender concluded that, in building a connected industrial ecosystem, it was important that leaders remained adaptable and kept scalability top of mind, considering the rapidly changing global conditions and added pressure on margins.

*Marleny Arnoldi attended the X-Change 2023 conference as a guest of IS3 and AVEVA.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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