In a compelling presentation at Cypher 2023, Kiran Shetty, a key figure at Hindalco Industries, shared the company’s journey towards digital transformation. Hindalco, part of the Aditya Birla Group, is a leading player in the metals sector, with a diverse range of products and a global footprint. Shetty’s talk focused on the challenges, learnings, and future directions of Hindalco’s digital transformation, emphasizing the cultural shifts required to drive change.
The Need for Transformation
Shetty began by outlining the need for Hindalco to transform digitally. The company had been primarily into commodity manufacturing, with profits directly linked to London Metal Exchange prices. To de-risk and add value, Hindalco decided to focus on value-added products and sustainability. This led to the birth of their digital transformation journey in 2018.
The Digital Ambassadors
To kickstart the transformation, Hindalco introduced a program called “Digital Ambassadors.” These were bright, young engineers who were digitally savvy and given the freedom to experiment with new technologies like AR, VR, AI, and ML. Today, Hindalco has around 89 such ambassadors driving digital transformation across its plants.
Infrastructure and Data Challenges
Shetty highlighted the initial challenges they faced, especially in terms of IT infrastructure and data acquisition. The company had to invest heavily in updating its IT systems, ensuring security, and creating a data management platform. They also had to deal with the challenge of extracting data from legacy machines, some dating back to the 1950s.
The Plant of the Future
One of the most intriguing parts of the talk was the concept of the “Plant of the Future.” Shetty presented a framework that aims to make Hindalco’s plants data-dependent rather than people-dependent. The framework focuses on four key areas:
- Business KPIs: The plant should show improved key performance indicators.
- Smart Office: The office should be digitally enabled, reducing paper usage and automating workflows.
- Gate-to-Gate Digital: Everything within the plant, from material to machine and people movement, should be tracked and automated.
- Data Culture: Employees should be data-savvy, relying on dashboards and insights for decision-making.
Technology and Systems
Hindalco has implemented various technologies like drones, RPA, IoT platforms, and digital twins. They have also focused on asset performance models, real-time streaming of plant parameters, and visual analytics for quality and safety.
Kiran Shetty’s talk at Cypher 2023 provided a comprehensive overview of Hindalco’s digital transformation journey. From the initial steps of identifying the need for change to implementing advanced technologies and aiming for a data-driven future, Hindalco’s story serves as an inspiring case study for any organization looking to embrace digital transformation.