Industrial processes are full of data and information. When all these bits and bytes are adequately collected and processed, they are used to optimize the production process. For example, by automatically adjusting the process . Or for making the right decisions at the right time. This also applies to cosmetics manufacturer L’Oréal.
Like many other companies, L’Oréal faces increasingly demanding customers. Consumers expect cosmetics that are perfectly tailored to their skin type, skin color and personal preferences. “That requires the continuously development of products,” says Stéphane Lannuzel, Chief Digital Officer for Operations at L’Oréal. “And we need to put these products on the market much faster. Usually via online sales channels, with a difficult-to-predict demand.”
Technology helps to gain more insight into the wishes and purchasing behavior of consumers. With this info manufacturers can adjust production accordingly. To address this challenge L’Oréal combined sensors, laser measurement, cameras and advanced conveyor belts. This happens in a totally new production line in the Belgian plant in Libramont.
The redesigned production line processes dozens of different products simultaneously. And deliver highly personalized products tailored to the individual skin. Lannuzel “It is a great challenge to make such a large organization more agile and flexible.”
In the context of Industry 4.0, L’Oréal chose IBM’s Watson IoT platform to be able to take the right actions at the right time. To this end, the activities of purchasing, production, packaging and delivery have been brought together in an overarching process. Technologies such as IoT, augmented & virtual reality, and artificial intelligence form the basis of this smarter factory.
L’Oréal is expanding its own workforce with the knowledge, expertise and technology of IBM. Stéphane Lannuzel: “Our Industry 4.0 is a co-development of our people together with IBM. We jointly brainstorm and work with design thinking methods.” During these sessions, different pain points and opportunities are identified, which are solved together.
“With the new platform we collect data from various sensors within our production systems. This enable us to process this data and apply it in the process.”
“Through partnership with IBM we become more agile. This is needed to develop new products and services and to deliver high-quality products,” says Olivier Chapel, Manufacturing Excellence Organization Group Manager.
Thanks to artificial intelligence, L’Oréal also has more insight into the root causes of possible problems. Chapel: “AI will help us to become more efficient and at the same time improve our performance.”
Click here to watch the video about Industry 4.0 at L’Oréal.
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