As industry moves towards smart production, or ‘industry 4.0’, the adopters of integrated Roadmapping will have a significant competitive advantage.
In a recent study among industrial companies that continuously apply the Roadmapping methodology, only 15 per cent were using specific Roadmapping software, while less than a quarter were using Roadmapping for the planning of production technologies. This suggests there is considerable scope for companies to benefit from more effective use of this powerful technique.
Dr Sven Schimpf of Fraunhofer IAO led the research, which was conducted as an online survey from July until September 2015 in collaboration with TIM Consulting.
He says: “The increasing availability of technologies for smart production requires companies to place more effort on structured mid and long term planning of their production technologies.
“Roadmaps are well suited to integrate different planning levels that may involve markets, products, technologies and provide solutions for smart production.
“A key challenge is the fact that smart production technologies are far from the core competencies for small and medium sized enterprises. So most companies depend highly on information available from third parties. Wider use of roadmapping would allow information from external sources, such as customers and suppliers, to be integrated within corporate planning and ensure consistency of focus across different planning levels and business units.
“Using MS-Office solutions for Roadmapping is a good starting point to get people involved and it can be used to configure Roadmaps to specific needs and the required level of complexity.” Dr Schimpf comments.
“However, a key benefit from using software specifically developed for roadmapping is the collaborative aspect, which allows various different users to update an integrated roadmap.”
Where companies were using specific roadmapping software, the main tools mentioned were Accolade, ITONICS, IntraPRO Innovation and Planview although there are a lot more solutions available. Some tools focus on visualization and others on the integration between the different levels of the roadmap.
Currently, Fraunhofer IAO, in collaboration with TIM Consulting is conducting a study on Roadmapping Software. Envisioned publication date is towards the end of 2017.
Presentations from Endress+Hauser, Trumpf, IfM Cambridge and Fraunhofer made at an event in April 2016 are all summarized in the brochure “Roadmapping in Practice” available free of charge at the Fraunhofer Publica or on Google Books.
Practical Study on Roadmapping, Sven Schimpf, Fraunhofer IAO.