With the fourth industrial revolution redefining the way manufacturing companies operate, many firms are embracing technology to speed up processes in a bid to stay ahead of rivals.
As one of the world’s leading tyre manufacturers, Apollo Tyres has begun to digitalise its offering as the firm seeks to transform its production line. Lisa Zinn, Head of Global IT & Business Services, believes that due to the world constantly evolving, it has become vital that the company adapts to the latest trends. “We’re living in a world of inter-connectivity which changes the way we live, work, produce and consume,” she comments. “Through the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), high-speed networks, open architectures and intelligent infrastructures we are witnessing an environment that intelligently communicates at a rate we have not seen since the first Industrial Revolution. As this revolution continues, it becomes increasingly critical that we are able to leverage the reliable communication and seamless interaction between systems to produce business and customer benefits, as well as cost effectiveness in the tyre manufacturing industry.”
Motivated by the emergence of new technologies, Apollo is becoming more data driven as an organisation, having incorporated new processes into everyday use which enables the company to better predict the future. “Since I first joined in 2016, I believe the way we conduct operations has become more data and fact driven,” Zinn recalls. “We’ve been able to predict and plan more, as well as utilise our ability to scale and forecast an improvement.”
In order to ensure Apollo Tyres implements technology progressively, Zinn believes that it’s important to understand which new developments will provide the most value to the organisation, as opposed to introducing the latest technology for its own sake. “We have a system of prototyping and tooling selection which assures we make conscious and informed choices prior to applying technology,” explains Zinn. “As an organisation we’re continuously working on ways to better access, connect and leverage our data across the supply chain and manufacturing operations as well as in our product development. This leveraging of digital services has enabled more visibility, better control and overall efficiencies, and has improved value throughout the supply chain.”
Establishing a market leading position is a key strategic goal for Apollo Tyres and Zinn reflects how important it is that her company continues to innovate digitally in order to stay ahead of its rivals. “Our greatest challenge is ensuring a high speed of innovation whilst maintaining the continued operation of legacy systems. A changing business environment across the organisation has challenged us to reexamine how we function and develop as a business partner.”
The importance of developing and maintaining key partnerships with other companies in a bid to achieve mutual success is fundamental. Zinn recognises the significance of partnerships, highlighting a number of key relationships on the company has formed as part of its digital transformation journey. “We have a number of key partners, from the Big Five to smaller niche partners who we collaborate with on initiatives. We have more recently moved towards a model where we actively engage our partners, not just on individual projects but on longer term roadmaps to digitise as well as sustain,” she says. “We are working with our partners as part of the journey and thinking process. We have also moved towards a more active engagement between software and hardware OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) alongside implementation partners ensuring that our initiatives not only take into account project delivery but also longer-term product roadmaps of OEMs.”
In an industry as dynamic as manufacturing, it’s key that companies look to diversify and accelerate their businesses in order to remain leaders in the field. Zinn affirms that her company can’t afford to rely on previous success and must remain eager to grow in the sector. “Apollo is a strong family brand, with good roots in India and an ever-expanding global footprint. We’re driven by family values, a hunger for growth and a sense of empowerment in our employees which ensures we meet and exceed our objectives,” says Zinn. “It’s vital we never stand still and ensure our core is stable whilst always exploring and taking on new challenges, including geographies where we believe we can make our mark.”
Looking ahead to the future, Zinn has clear ideas on how Apollo Tyres can remain sustainable and continue to achieve success in the region and beyond. “It’s important we continue to achieve strong growth in the OEM market in Europe as well as attaining sustainable growth in Asia, the Middle East and Africa despite rising raw material prices and external threat factors,” she explains. “In the near future, our immediate focus is on safety, people, technology and brand building. At all levels we have personal targets related to each of these regardless of where we are placed in the organisation and we all have a role to play in these focus areas to ensure our growth.”