SMART Manufacturing

Digitalization is affecting everyone. The ability to utilize and transform production data into effective decision making is becoming ever more important.

But digitalization is only part of the solution. Achieving smart manufacturing is a journey of change for the whole company, where the role of employees is every bit as important as the possibilities offered by technology.

Efficiency is achieved through optimal information management. For example, integrating the flow of data between planning, execution and follow-up results in a more dynamic and valuable production process. We call this approach ‘closed-loop production.’

By combining digitization and process integration with a company culture that embraces change, you are able to generate greater sustainable value through better decision making, higher levels of service and quality, and continuous production improvement.

  • Drive continuous production improvement
  • Increase productivity and capacity utilization
  • Shorten lead times
  • Improve delivery precision
  • Reduce waste
  • Improve decision support

Insights & stories to share

SMART Manufacturing incorporates a wide range of new ideas and technologies, from digitalization, IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), cloud computing and big data, to machine learning, harnessing sensor data and automation.

Ultimately, what it comes down to is making optimal use of information to drive quicker, more informed decisions that help you to run your plant better.

Connect – Analyze – Visualize – Act

A smart approach to capturing, analyzing, visualizing and communicating data enables you to pick up on inefficiencies and problems sooner, so you can find answers and make improvements faster.

We offer the market’s broadest range of solutions supporting SMART Manufacturing, covering planning & scheduling, production execution, facility monitoring, quality control, maintenance, engineering, and production analysis.

LEARN MORE: See our interactive graphic to find out how we can support your SMART Manufacturing efforts.


A life science company that helps pharmaceutical companies to develop and commercialize small molecule drugs was operating a complex production with global sales.

Increasing customer demand and a complex batch manufacturing environment was making it difficult to maintain high service levels. In addition, the production Planning & Scheduling process was both time consuming and tedious.

To improve Planning & Scheduling efficiency and accuracy, while also facilitating an effective procurement process and keeping inventory levels low.

A pre-study was carried out focusing on business benefits to make sure the business case would deliver the expected value return. This step also helped to engage key stakeholders at an early stage.

Once the new working processes and ownership were defined, configuration of the Planning & Scheduling solution began.

Preactor, the planning and scheduling software chosen by the customer, was configured to model the company’s new supply chain processes and was integrated with the ERP system. Changes to working methods were also introduced, including the coordination of activities between purchasing, planning, operations and finance.


  • Clearly defined Sales & Operations planning process
  • Faster planning procedure
  • Improved planning precision
  • Reduced changeover and cleaning times
  • Increased visibility and flexibility
  • Improved inventory control and synchronization of purchased material
  • Greater possibilities for improvement

LEARN MORE: Read full case story »

LEARN MORE: Find out more about Production Planning & Scheduling »

People_before_techThose organizations that begin by anchoring the end goals with their employees – so that everyone shares a common vision and understands how it relates to their role and to the organization’s challenges and goals – are more successful with realizing digitalization opportunities.

If change is to lead to sustainable value, it needs to be a stepwise, repeated development process undertaken by the entire organization. It’s a journey of continual learning and adding value.

Production data needs to be regarded as a central, shared company asset. This asset needs to be owned, managed and developed in the same way that the physical plant and collective employee skills are.

This approach opens up the possibilities for digitalization to empower individuals both within day-to-day operations and when making critical business development decisions.

Request a copy of our presentation: Medarbetaren framför tekniken i en digitaliserad produktion (Swedish only.) »

What do you do if you have 150 control systems in a regulated environment that all need upgrading? Product and reserve part support has expired and you’re running the risk of costly production stoppages.

Upgrading all the systems would mean an upgrade program with over 100 projects. Achieving 7 upgrade projects a year would mean a program lead time of about 20 years, with a total cost (estimating an average project cost of 1.5 MSEK) of over 150 MSEK.

Surely, there must be another way?

This was the situation facing one of our customers. The solution was to help them maximize the amount of work not done.

Carrying out a pre-study using an agile, risk-management approach we were able to help them develop, verify and initiate a long-term sustainable concept for upgrading control systems, while ensuring skills and reserve part support were in place where they were most needed.

It provided the customer with a cost-effective method to tackle the challenge resulting in:

  • Secured long-term production with reduced risk of extended stoppages.
  • Significantly reduced implementation costs, time and resources – since program scope could be reduced in a controlled manner and continuous learning built in.
  • Synergy benefits by establishing a common framework for all system administration, validation and upgrades.
  • Built-in training and key skills secured for the customer.
  • The ability to re-prioritize as needed.
  • Cost of avoidance in the range of +100 MSEK.

LEARN MORE: Find out more about value-driven change »

You have a production plant. You have separate systems carrying out separate functions that are supported by separate groups. Everyone can see there are efficiency gains to be won by connecting the systems and creating a more comprehensive, cohesive solution.

The problem is there are no clear system admin models in place. Nor is there an organization or any clear sense of ownership for what is a complex system.

How do you achieve a more efficient and manageable environment long term?

Well, you’re going to need help! We have supported numerous customers in this situation by helping to identify and implement a number of key steps. For example:

  • Develop an optimal model of system administration.
  • Establish a system admin organization, including system owner, operations manager, administrator and a technical manager, along with servers and hardware, etc.
  • Create a ‘Best Practice – Book of Rules’, with easy to find (and easy to use) guidelines and templates.
  • Introduce support levels, e.g. preparedness, support and on-call 24/7.
  • Establish Lifecycle Management and Configuration Management

The benefits you can expect to realize include:

  • Greater uptime with fewer critical system stoppages.
  • A structure for continuous improvement and evolvement to fit business change.
  • Greater system control and easier upgrading.
  • Increased utilization.
  • Satisfied and happy end users.

LEARN MORE: Find out more about value-driven change »

A traditional maintenance approach relies on making regular checks. Maintenance rounds are scheduled and performed at predefined intervals, which is not only time consuming but can also result in unnecessary downtime.

By monitoring equipment in real time you can reduce direct and indirect maintenance costs, increase equipment reliability and lower your total cost of ownership.

Operation & condition based maintenance is a cost-effective strategy that uses the actual condition and operating information of an asset (e.g. equipment or machine) to decide if and when maintenance needs to be carried out.

  • Improve equipment reliability and reduce production downtime
  • Minimize production disruptions by performing maintenance while asset is still operational
  • Reduce the cost of asset failures
  • Minimize requirement for emergency spare parts
  • Shorten time spent on maintenance
  • Optimize maintenance intervals (more optimal than the manufacturer’s recommendations)

LEARN MORE: Read more about intelligent maintenance here »

In most production companies, the production IT system is managed separately from other business IT systems.

This can lead to difficulties when the company decides to implement new IT requirements regarding standardization or security, for example. Production management have difficulty specifying requirements due to the complexity of the IT infrastructure, and IT specialists are not familiar with the rules and processes required for system changes in a regulated production environment.

The missing link
In these kinds of situation you need someone who fully understands both worlds – IT and regulated production.

Our IT Infrastructure team is made up of IT specialists who work extensively in GxP environments. We can help to identify and implement smart IT solutions that reduce complexity, improve efficiency, increase long-term reliability and secure data integrity.

Improving production IT infrastructure also means your employees responsible for production data can get back to the business of generating results instead of fixing IT issues.

  • Save time/costs relating to IT administration, support and maintenance
  • Reduce the risk of production stoppages
  • Ensure data integrity in a secure IT environment
  • Extend the life cycle of current systems
  • Simplify future change management

LEARN MORE: Download our IT Infrastructure info sheet (Swedish only) »


Erik Jansson
Senior Specialist Consultant,
Manufacturing Information
Tel: +46 (0)70 6473154
Email: erik.jansson@plantvision.se
Connect: LinkedIn »
Morgan Bodin
Business Area Manager, Supply Chain & Planning
Tel: +46 (0)60 67 89 52
Email: morgan.bodin@plantvision.se
Connect: LinkedIn »


Combining digitization, process integration and the role of individuals.

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Drive continuous improvement by empowering employees.

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Experience and expertise ensure compliance with added value.

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Value-driven change propelled by insight and project excellence.

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Design and implement effective production processes using an agile approach.

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Combine automation, business processes and good information practice.

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Ensure data integrity and serialization projects deliver business value.

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Effective tech-transfer and regulatory expertise reduce time-to-market.

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About PlantVision

PlantVision is Scandinavia’s leading consultancy for realizing operational improvement.

We offer an integrated approach, broad experience across industries, and in depth solutions expertise. Since starting in 1999, we have delivered value in thousands of projects across Scandinavia and around the world.

We support customers at every stage with professional services and a sound quality approach – from idea, analysis and planning, to implementation, training and long-term support. We also offer the market’s most complete range of close-to-production information solutions.

PlantVision is the ideal partner for companies that want to generate maximum sustainable value from business change.