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Digitisation at SMEs

Jun 01, 2021
Digitisation at SMEs

Sebastian Mayer, Chief Digital Officer at circular knitting machine manufacturer Mayer & Cie (MCT) recently gave a keynote speech at SAP’s virtual PLM Info Days. He was invited to speak about Mayer& Cie’s strategy on Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), which is rated exemplary in both scope and progress of implementation. The premium manufacturer sees the benefits for their customers as the main incentive for its PLM strategy.

Claim to leadership extends beyond machine technology
“We see ourselves as a technology leader and innovation driver above and beyond the technology of our machines. That includes an efficient and modern product origination process. The high-grade technological infrastructure is a precondition for the ability to provide adequately for the requirements of the future and our customers,” said Sebastian Mayer, Chief Digital Officer at Mayer & Cie.

Sebastian Mayer has been in charge of digitisation at the long-established company since 2017. Together with his team, he has identified four focus areas for Mayer & Cie’s digitisation journey: digital manufacturing or a state-of-the-art production process, followed by digital processes and a digital organisation or, in short, user- and customer-friendly processes. Along with the framework conditions in respect of the legal position and security, the company attaches the greatest importance to a digital product and new, digital customer experiences. “PLM lays for us foundations on which we can respond to customer needs faster, more individually and thereby better,” said Sebastian Mayer, adding that “knitters around the world can continue to rely on our claim to leadership.”

PLM as the “Digital Backbone”
At a mechanical engineering company, the development department plays a key role. It is interwoven and connected with nearly all the other departments, and that is certainly the case at Mayer & Cie. “Whenever there is a change of supplier, a service case or a special machine configuration the development department is always involved,” said Sebastian Mayer. Enquiries used to make their way to Development on all channels: by telephone, by e-mail or in person. Tasks were hard to channel, let alone to prioritise.

That is why the central PLM strategy approach in relation to the product was and still is to map an end-to-end digital process – from the first steps in machine development via product information of each and every kind, configuration options and production information to the service case. Every department does, after all, have a different perspective on the product that must be put to use meaningfully and holistically.

Due to central data organisation and process automation, development and production have above all moved significantly closer to each other. Customers must benefit from the reliable data flow in the web shop for spare parts, for example, by being able to find the right parts more easily.

For all the success that has been achieved so far, Sebastian Mayer concluded, there is still some way to go. “The foundation stone has been laid but the target of the philosophy of a digital twin for every machine that our customers have in use is still some way off. But with our PLM strategy we have created the digital backbone, and that is the prerequisite for better customer experiences and lean, innovative and modern processes.”