Vignesh Markandan

Vignesh Markandan

Business Head of Hitachi Digital Services

Vignesh Markandan, Business Head Hitachi Digital Services, on the Technology that Promises a Bright Future for Supply Chain

Introduce yourself and your role.

I am Vignesh Markandan, and I am Business Head of Hitachi Digital Services, where I manage profit and loss across transportation, manufacturing, consumer goods, retail and businesses. I lead a team of experts, and Hitachi’s capabilities provide me and my team the opportunity to work closely on both operational technology (OT) and IT.

What led you to this industry?

I have been passionate about the technology industry, first using a computer as a teen. The impact technology has on society has been a huge motivation for me throughout my career. 

What is Hitachi Digital Services? 

It’s a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, and is an edge-to-core digital consultancy and technology services provider, helping organisations realise the full potential of AI-driven digital transformation through IT-OT convergence. 

Through a technology-unified operating model for cloud, data and IoT, Hitachi Digital Services delivers outcome-driven end-to-end value creation for our clients. We help improve people’s lives today and build a sustainable society tomorrow.

What impact do you have on supply chain?

Hitachi leverages cutting edge technologies for solving complex supply chain problems and plant-scheduling problems. We provide industry cloud offerings that accelerate our clients’ digital transformation journeys, and that allow clients to seamlessly manage business process availability through site reliability and data-reliability engineering practices. We provide industry templates for faster out-of-the-box ERP implementations. to deliver outcome driven transformations.

What technology is most helpful to supply chain?

Hitachi has been an OT company for 110 years, and this has been made possible through industry-leading manufacturing practices. The Hitachi Omika works factory is 50 years old and is recognised as being a lighthouse factory by the World Economic Forum. This is a mark of our smart manufacturing prowess. 

This strong foundation helps us develop smart-manufacturing solutions that leverage technology to provide plant safety, inventory management, and end-to-end supply chain management.

For solving optimisation problems in supply chain, as well as plant scheduling, GenAI is helping us bridge skills-gap issues, by developing guided modules to increase the productivity of less experienced workers. AI- and ML-based predictive maintenance models also allow our customers to adopt many of our capabilities in a streamlined fashion. 

What are your plans for supply chains and factories of the future?

Over several decades IT and OT within most companies have been two data islands, and for this reason have not been used to their true potential. 

Given this challenge, the supply chains and factories of the future will rely heavily on IT-OT convergence. This will create a data fabric that allows organisations to seamlessly use data to serve customers, improve product quality, optimise supply chains, and improve sustainability. 

We are focusing on IT-OT convergence to enable a data fabric that allows organisations to achieve more-holistic outcomes.

What do the next 12 months hold for you?

We’re likely to focus on acquiring skilled employees, and also on training employees in newer skills that leverage AI in day-to-day operations. We also expect technology adoption, including automation, to ramp up, and that more-sustainable manufacturing processes will go on-line. 

Hitachi is geared to helping customers make such changes seamlessly, through a process of change management, technology adoption, and sustainability initiatives.


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