A powerful partnership to build efficiency and resilience

Ravi Gopinath shares how AVEVA is working with Microsoft to help manufacturers improve business operations, while reducing energy consumption and emissions

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 31 January 2022
A powerful partnership to build efficiency and resilience

The race is on for the manufacturing industry to find innovative ways to optimise operations as they strive to reduce energy consumption and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Here, AVEVA’s chief strategy officer and chief cloud officer Ravi Gopinath explains how his company is working with Microsoft to create a powerful ecosystem of digital technologies and solutions that will enable manufacturers to drive sustainability across their value chains and attain this ambitious goal. 

What are manufacturers looking for today? 
As the world looks to realise net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, manufacturers are seeking green industrial processes to meet stakeholders’ expectations for sustainability and environmental commitments. More than 80 per cent of major international companies now report sustainability metrics, and many enterprises are aligned with initiatives such as the Race to Zero and Business Ambition for 1.5C (including AVEVA). 

Digital technologies can help manufacturers and other businesses deliver on these commitments by cutting carbon emissions by up to 15 per cent, identifying areas for optimising value chains, reducing energy consumption and streamlining operations. 

How do AVEVA and Microsoft work together to develop sustainable manufacturing solutions? 
The sustainability challenges ahead of us are inherently complex and demand collective action in addition to new technology and scalable solutions. AVEVA and Microsoft have strengthened our long partnership to enhance customers’ digital transformation journeys by leveraging the benefits of sustainability. Digital transformation unlocks data for real-time optimisation, improved decision-making and digitally enabled business operations, even with a remote workforce.  

Together, we support our joint customer vision of creating profitable and sustainable business outcomes. AVEVA’s portfolio breadth, combined with Microsoft’s technology solutions, enables customers to deploy faster, reduce energy consumption, cut emissions and share collaborative innovation, boosting efficiency for all. 

What technologies are AVEVA and Microsoft focusing on to help manufacturers transform their operations and reap the benefits of Industry 4.0? 
Working in partnership with Microsoft, AVEVA offers several bespoke solutions, such as AVEVA Manufacturing Execution Systems, for which we were named a leader in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant. Beyond operations execution, AVEVA offers edge-to-enterprise visibility and control through the AVEVA Unified Operations Center, while our Asset Performance portfolio is the most comprehensive way to help our customers exceed reliability, safety and performance goals. Additionally, our AVEVA Unified Project Execution offers digital project execution and construction management capabilities integrated within engineering solutions. These are just some of the tools AVEVA uses to provide real-time energy data and support improved operational efficiency, while helping our customers reduce their often very sizeable carbon footprints.  

These systems are delivered alongside Microsoft solutions, such as Azure. Together, AVEVA and Microsoft are committed to building a stronger, powerful ecosystem to enable industries globally to action their business and sustainability goals. 

How do AVEVA and Microsoft help manufacturers to engage customers in new ways and ensure success in the ‘next normal’? 
Pandemic-linked challenges were a huge setback for all kinds of businesses. Manufacturing, which was already being disrupted by new technologies and the demand for faster production cycles, was further hit by border closures, supply chain disruptions and remote working requirements. AVEVA and Microsoft co-innovated to deploy responsive, strategic tools to underpin autonomous systems, remote operations and lights-out manufacturing.  

In Batam, Indonesia, for example, a smart factory team at Schneider Electric used AVEVA Discrete Lean Management, AVEVA Enterprise Management and AVEVA Insight to enable streamlined operations in the cloud. Giving the factory team intelligent data has improved operational efficiency through real-time performance tracking and empowered faster decision-making. Results included a 44 per cent decrease in downtime, a 40 per cent increase in on-time delivery for customers, and 21 per cent rise in energy savings. 

AVEVA and Microsoft have also enhanced our joint workforce transformation solutions. With the explosion of Industry 4.0, re-skilling workers with advanced technology is essential to moving manufacturing from a manpower-intensive business towards a future-focused industry.  

By deploying six cloud-based AVEVA Operator Training Simulators in partnership with Microsoft Azure, TotalEnergies’ Oleum division created a fully simulated petrochemical facility that provides highly effective training in a safe environment identical to the control room. This enables teams to learn how to handle potential hazards, and improves accessibility and scale, meaning up to 2,000 operators can be trained each year. 

Meanwhile, AVEVA’s Connected Worker solution accelerates the learning, upskilling and reskilling of the workforce technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, mixed reality – for example, improving skills through experiential training using mixed reality and AI in the cloud.   

Together, the solutions leverage Microsoft’s standardised, open cloud platform for sustainability alongside AVEVA’s industrial expertise in optimising production, improving environmental efficiency and decreasing fuel costs and waste. We have created a powerful ecosystem for companies to deliver on their sustainability goals and achieve net-zero emissions, while staying resilient and prepared for any future crises.  

What results have these innovative technologies demonstrated? 
By combining our expertise, network and capabilities, AVEVA and Microsoft have helped customers across the manufacturing sector gain significant competitive advantages. In addition to this, AVEVA develops technology solutions that are contributing towards effectively reducing industrial organisations’ environmental footprints. Our offerings are enabling our customers to integrate legacy solutions seamlessly, providing advanced analytics that drive sustainable decision-making through actionable insights.  

A recent AVEVA survey showed that 90 per cent of industrial leaders are looking to digital technologies to achieve sustainability goals. How can AVEVA and Microsoft enable decarbonisation in manufacturing? 
The AVEVA survey shows how AI and automation are now seen as necessary technologies to keep pace with competitors. About 30 per cent of manufacturers expect to significantly increase investment in digital transformation technologies to automate and modernise their business and drive sustainability across their value chain. 

Together with Microsoft, AVEVA’s software supports long-term, sustainable value creation that can mutually benefit people and the planet. Our combined efforts provide innovative solutions that make it easier for customers to build collaboration between globally dispersed teams and help in the transition to a lower-carbon future. 

Working side-by-side with Microsoft, AVEVA has templated its best practices and vertical solutions to become repeatable, scalable and adaptable to fit agnostically with other software stacks, thereby enabling rapid implementation and payback. Today, organisations deploying the combined AVEVA Energy Management and Performance Solutions – delivered over Microsoft products – can reduce project implementation times by up to 60 per cent when compared to bespoke implementations of intelligent operations. Plus, our operations and performance solutions are already helping customers to increase energy efficiency, minimise noxious emissions and optimise the effective use of valuable natural resources. 

This article was originally published in the Winter 21/22 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

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