Playing a different game - Jens Kaatze, Covestro
12th February 2019

In the run-up to the summit, we’ve been catching up the IIoT Strategies summit speakers to find out a little more about what we can expect from their sessions.

 

Up first, Jens Kaatze, SVP Digital Transformation and Business Model Innovation Business Unit Coatings, Adhesives and Specialties at Covestro here:

Hi Jens, as one of our IIoT Strategies summit speakers we are really looking forward to hearing you speak. Before we welcome you to the stage can you give us a taste of what our attendees can expect to learn from your session, please?
Throughout the last five or so years I have been getting deeper and deeper into the topic of digital transformation, engulfing all different ‘buzzwords’ from AI, Deep Learning, Machine Learning, Digital Platforms, Digital Twins, you name it mainly from the strategic point of view. While I was focussing on the chemical industry, I had a look into many b2b and also some b2c areas to understand and learn. Today I am still in learning mode, but happy to share my views to this point and discuss with other practitioners further. In particular looking beyond the hype, at human centricity, change management and real value addition is something that intrigues me more and more.

We’d love to know a little more about you… how did you get into the industry and what drives you on?
I am poised by making the world a brighter place. Finding solutions that bring us closer to this vision drives me. The chemical industry, in which I work, can and needs to play a strong role as a provider of solutions, answering not only megatrends but also strongly supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. IIoT can be a big lever for the industry in this sense.

Since you began your career how has the manufacturing industry changed?
It has globalized much further, leading to more complex and global trade flows and competition. Automation and digitalization are supporting the continued drive for specialization/differentiation while being as cost-efficient as possible.

Thinking about industry 4.0 and the digital transformation of the industry where do you feel the biggest ‘wins’ have been?
So far clearly in gaining higher levels of efficiency.

And, what do you see is the next big game-changer for the manufacturing industry?
Game-changer is a big word. A data-driven business will become a ‘new normal’, but this transition will take time and evolve. With that new solutions and business models will evolve. I would see big gains in further connecting within ecosystems and crossing company borders. This collaboration could lead to more efficiency along the value chain as well as generate new solutions for the end consumer.

As manufacturing becomes ever more digital and with many organisations, IoT implementations begin to mature have there been any ‘we didn’t expect that to happen’ moments along the way?
Of course! Digitalization is a transformational process, just as the last three industrial revolutions have been. There may have been some really smart people who saw it all coming, but I doubt this will be many. In most cases I see companies tiptoeing into this new area. While at a different speed and with a variety of engagement levels, it is an unknown area for most and as such, there is a high level of ambiguity leading also to surprises.

There is always a lot of discussion around digital adoption… what do you think the biggest barriers are/were and what steps can the industry take to overcome them?
Maybe the biggest barrier is a mindset change. We need to complete shift gears and play almost a different game. For decades most industries have trimmed their organizations to be as efficient as possible this almost always means doing least to get the desired output. Data savvy companies, however, collect data even if they have no current use for it (and may never have) – this is an inefficiency in itself at the point of collection, but a necessity for digital solutions.

What piece of advice would you give an organisation just starting out on their digital transformation journey?
This depends so much on the situation, but the generalistic approach would be to look where real needs are, check for potential solutions and then test again if they offer more value. Then test, go from small use cases to scaling, not 100 right the first time.

What do you think the industry will look like in ten years from now?
Different!

What are you hoping to learn more about at The IIoT Strategies Summit?
Insights and opinions from other leaders, sharing experiences of successful and not so successful use cases and change processes.

Thank you for your time Jens, looking forward to seeing you at the summit!

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