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Mechanical and plant engineering: Digitalising internal processes is the core element of Industry 4.0

Andreas Dangl

Created on 07. July 2020

Digitalising internal processes

In recent years, the dynamic of digital transformation has clearly gained momentum, particularly among the major mechanical engineering companies. Digital solutions are enjoying a growing presence on the market, and the mechanical engineering sector is seeing the emergence of an ever-growing number of digital platforms for the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). But that’s just one side of the coin.


A quote from the IMU study “Digitale Transformation im Maschinen- und Anlagenbau” , published by IG Metall, zooms in on the current challenges: “Very few companies know where they want to go with digitalization. As a result, the smaller mechanical engineering companies are adopting more of a wait-and-see approach to new business models. And most companies are still miles away from networking their own processes – the core element of Industry 4.0”.


To put it another way, many companies are further advanced when it comes to networking machines than they are in networking users for internal (administrative) processes.


This deficit is particularly pronounced with regard to cooperation with suppliers, site coordinators, and customers. The absence of clearly designed processes that transcend departmental and corporate boundaries, the prevailing chaos in documentation workflow – rife with media format interruptions – and the lack of integration into the existing application landscape all have a negative impact on the quality and productivity of project execution, placing an unnecessary strain on both internal and external employees, and putting the brakes on a company’s overall digitalization strategy.


Siemens leads the way

Siemens Gas and Power provides turnkey fossil fuel power plant solutions that include combined cycle power plants. The effort required for project management on this scale and the level of organisation needed for the data and documents involved is unquestionably immense. Siemens manages this with SAP Plant PDM.


A pivotal step in the digitalization process was to move the documentation management processes into the cloud in a way that eliminates the need to send documents by e-mail and enter them manually. Instead, documents can be made available automatically from SAP Plant PDM, and external feedback and approvals can be synchronized back into the system – both from a stationary workstation and from mobile devices.


The main pillar of this solution is Approve on Fabasoft PROCECO, the fully digitalized and process-driven supplier documentation solution based on cloud computing. With Approve, Siemens Gas and Power reaped a host of benefits that include:


  • Seamless cooperation among all project participants across all departmental and company boundaries
  • A consistent level of information for all users together with efficient and on-schedule process execution
  • Detailed versioning of all documents, ensuring full traceability of the individual processing steps
  • A significant reduction in routine tasks for employees and external partners through high-level automation and the solution’s ease of use
  • Continued use of the project documentation beyond the term of the project thanks to dynamic documentation
  • Rapid integration into the existing application landscape
  • Rock-solid data security based on clearly regulated access rights and the multi-certified cloud platform


By working in close cooperation with Fabasoft, Siemens Gas and Power succeeded in accomplishing one of the core challenges of digital transformation in mechanical and plant engineering in a remarkably short time: digitalizing its internal processes. “This meant significant productivity gains in project execution. We are also seeing a dramatic boost in quality in terms of the transparency towards customers and suppliers,” says Harald Hümmer, Head of System Quality at Siemens Gas and Power GmbH & Co. KG.


To find out more about how to choose the right process-driven software to coordinate, review, and approve supplier documentation, download our free white paper, “Cloud-based supplier documentation”.