Continuous Improvement is the Name of the Game

Continuous Improvement is the Name of the Game

Domino’s Pizza is one of the biggest digital transformation success stories in the last decade. A big part of that came from its continuous improvement approach. Domino’s digital transformation started with a simple software for quick and transparent online orders. It then branched into a mobile app. And then voice command ordering from the Alexa device. Today, the company continues to improve its digital technology with drone deliveries and robot vehicles. 

Continuous improvement is all about incremental, or agile, developments. You start simple to build a foundation and then improve from there. Like with Domino’s, at first it was just a simple software system but over the years progressed into high tech autonomous robot delivery. 

So, in an industrial sector, how can you approach your digital transformation with continuous improvement? Phillips 66 is a great example of continuous improvement with the technologies it has deployed in its refineries: 

The first project is often something simple to achieve, but will still bring your company value. In the industrial world, that is often a project to collect more data. Phillips 66 took this route and deployed an array of IoT sensors to collect data points from its refining operations. Sensors give the company much greater transparency into whats going on and the ability to draw key insights. What’s great about this project is that it is simple. Sensors are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, and the data will provide value to multiple departments across the company. 

Once a foundation has been built you can expand into more complex technologies to bring more valuable. In the case of Phillips 66, they developed a digital twin of its refining process. A digital twin is essentially a digital replica that can run rapid simulations and produce insights. The company uses the simulations to figure out where the refining process can be optimized for better performance going forward. 

Automation is typically one of the last steps in digital transformation when following the continuous improvement approach. At Phillips 66, the company invested in autonomous robots to inspect all of its storage tanks. The robot can enter the tank, while it is still full, and inspect the integrity of the walls and floor. That way the tank can stay in service and the company can still check for existing or potential leaks. 

Starting too ambitious with digital transformation can be dangerous. It is a much more successful route to begin with the simple technologies and work your way up to something bigger. That way, each project along the way will be less risky, but still bring value to the company.