Industry pioneers like Simon Levinson stand as guiding beacons in the dynamic digital transformation realm. Holding Danone’s esteemed Global Digital Manufacturing Innovation Lead position, Simon’s unparalleled expertise across multiple FMCG sectors has made waves throughout Europe. His distinct focus on Data Analytics and Performance underscores his mastery in the field.
As we eagerly anticipate his presentation at the Digital Manufacturing Strategies Summit, we caught up with Simon for an exclusive interview. In our conversation, he sheds light on the “Digital Manufacturing Transformation in Danone” and offers a sneak peek into his upcoming case study (view the agenda here). From the art of crafting a successful program to the nuances of knowledge libraries and impact tracking, our dialogue with Simon promises a deep dive into his visionary approach.
What key factors do you hope to learn or gain insights into at the Digital Manufacturing Strategies Summit?
Two main topics are very interesting to learn for me: Experience sharing around Methods and achievements in the field of Digital manufacturing innovation, as well as the process of adapting data-driven manufacturing solutions for use in diverse facilities that lack standardization.
You are the Global Digital Manufacturing Innovation Lead at Danone – can you share a little about your role, how it’s evolved over the last 12 months, and what new challenges you’ve encountered?
The primary goal of this role is to discover and evaluate emerging digital solutions and technologies that have the potential to enhance the efficiency of manufacturing facilities on a larger scale. Over the past year, the role’s focus has shifted from examining internal requirements to exploring strategic areas and tracking global innovations. This transition reflects a change from an internal perspective (“Inside Out”) to a more outward-looking approach (“Outside In”).
Can you share your most significant decisions in the past year regarding digital transformation in Danone’s manufacturing processes?
Decisions affecting the strategic direction of the Digital manufacturing evolution in the company.
As Danone continues to explore digital transformation, can you share any upcoming projects or initiatives that you are particularly excited about, and how they align with the company’s broader manufacturing strategy?
We’re embarking on a journey into Data Science for Manufacturing, a promising area with the potential for significant impact, yet one that hasn’t been fully explored within our company. Additionally, a central focus of our current discussions is the industrialization of data-driven use cases, a topic that holds great importance.
Collaboration and partnerships often play a crucial role in successful digital transformations. Could you tell us about any key collaborations that Danone has forged with technology providers or industry experts to drive innovation in digital manufacturing?
We’ve forged a strong partnership with the Tolson company network and engaged with professionals from different non-competitive sectors. Our objective is to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and promote the sharing of innovative ideas across a wide spectrum of digital manufacturing domains.
Change management is a critical aspect of digital transformation. How has Danone navigated the cultural and organizational shifts required to embrace digital technologies fully, and what lessons have been learned along the way?
Our special emphasis lies on the Change Management dimension of Digital Transformation. A dedicated Change Management team collaborates closely with technical and solution experts to ensure that the adoption and utilization of digital technologies are seamless and comprehensive following their implementation.
As a leader in the digital manufacturing space, what advice would you give to other companies looking to embark on a similar journey of digital transformation in their manufacturing processes? Are there any specific pitfalls to avoid or best practices to adopt?
The efficiency of the Digital Transformation journey is greatly influenced by the internal culture and management style of our organization. These factors play a significant role in shaping the various models of driving Digital Transformation. However, regardless of the approach taken, aligning with the overarching global company strategy and management is crucial. Our approach involves a harmonious collaboration across three critical angles: Solution, Technical, and Change Management. This comprehensive strategy stands as a cornerstone for achieving successful outcomes.
How do you foresee the manufacturing industry evolving over the next five years, particularly in relation to digital technologies?
I believe a substantial boost in efficiency will stem from leveraging digital solutions that harness a range of existing and emerging technologies. Simultaneously, a parallel progression in the upskilling of manufacturing personnel will unfold, ensuring adept utilization of these accessible technologies for optimal efficiency.
Could you elaborate on Danone’s unique approach to “Digital Manufacturing Acceleration” and how it has contributed to delivering comprehensive results for the organization?
Our achievement in implementing Danone’s Digital Manufacturing Acceleration program can be attributed to a committed effort encompassing a clearly outlined roadmap, essential tools, steadfast management support, and realistic goals. Each aspect of the program, bolstered by its strong foundation and adaptable approach, empowers us to efficiently address company objectives and attain concrete results by harnessing digital technology.
Looking into the future, what are Danone’s aspirations and plans to stay at the forefront of digital transformation in the manufacturing domain?
The company aspires to establish an increasing number of digitally mature sites, each with a demonstrated track record evaluated according to frameworks such as the World Economic Forum or Gartner.
Thank you for your time Simons – we are really looking forward to seeing you in Lisbon this coming November.
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