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Hero MotoCorp’s Digital Twin: Building a factory before building it

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Vijay Sethi discusses the major IT initiatives undertaken in FY 2016-17 and the plans for 2017-18. One of the highlights in the last year was the digital Twin. Due to ‘Digital Twin’, the company was able to do away with any layout, process related changes that might have been done afterwards. As a consequence, the cost incurred, time taken was reduced in a big way. The rework level was slashed to a significant level

In 2016-17, we have set up a factory in Halol using the ‘Digital Twin’ technology concept. The entire factory was simulated, as to how would it look after it is ready for operations. This is the first time a factory has been built in India using the digital twin technology. Thus we were able to avoid any layout, process related changes that might have been done afterwards. As a consequence, the cost incurred, time taken was reduced in a big way. The rework level was slashed to a significant level.

From a marketing perspective, we worked heavily on social media, digital marketing. In the analytics space, we moved from the run of the mill Big Data systems to predictive analytics.

Another big focus was on mobility. We came up with very innovative features and templates with respect to mobile apps. We became the first company in the two wheeler segment to upload the user manuals on the mobile phones, which is linked to an individual’s number. The free service coupons for vehicle owners were digitized.

In the supply chain space, we did some projects linking our factories and suppliers. This led to huge amount of savings in the organization. This was to the tune of 4-5 times the investment we made on the respective IT project. Each of the investments were of `1-2 crore each. In each of the areas – marketing, finance, supply chain, operations, sales, we undertook 1-2 big projects. On the enterprise analytics side, we converted the BI platform to SAP HANA. This was an action packed year on both the business and IT front.

In 2017-18, enterprise mobility, analytics, social media, linkages with suppliers, the digital twin simulations, all of these are ongoing and will continue.

One more project that I am personally handling in my capacity as a chairman of Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures (SIAM) IT is AutoDX, wherein we are linking and clubbing all the automotive industry into one single system. Last year we crossed 3 million transactions on that platform. This year, we are giving it a bigger thrust and connecting more companies and suppliers.
In 2017-18, we may continue to adopt IoT, augmented reality, virtual reality — the PoCs for which were done last year. These initiatives will get a huge focus this year. The digital marketing piece will also be on our list. Last year, we moved the HR systems on the cloud and this year, we will make further developments in that area too.

Our IT budget is increasing by roughly fifty two percent this year. The huge jump in the IT budgets is due to adoption of advanced technologies like AR, VR, IoT, digitization and policy changes such as GST. Over the last 10 years, our IT budget has increased. This year, the jump has been significant. The IT security budget will also see a spurt.

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