Smart Factory. High tech, higher challenge?

How to shape a successful transformation and avoid major pitfalls
Markus Uellendahl | Tobias Helberg | Julian Zawila | Hendrik Thyssen | Dominik Hilpert
Oct 2023 | Strategy Paper | English

Smart Factory. High tech, higher challenge?

How to shape a successful transformation and avoid major pitfalls

96 percent of companies have embarked on their smart factory transformation, trying to improve not only productivity, but also reliability, flexibility, sustainability and the attractiveness of their production sites. However, only 8 percent have fully met their expected targets. This is not only due to a limited view that focuses only on automation of physical processes, but also due to insufficiencies in understanding and managing the transformation.

This Strategy Paper identifies the eight most common pitfalls in smart factory transformations and provides proven mitigation approaches to achieve the next big leap in performance of factory operations. In addition, to support the move from fragmented steps to a holistic program approach, it outlines the Porsche Consulting Smart Factory Framework, starting from a clear vision of the transformation of processes and technology to the empowerment of people and organization.


Only 8% of surveyed organizations state that their smart factory expectations have been fully realized.


Up to 20% reduction in factory costs can be achieved through the successful implementation of a smart factory


pitfalls must be avoided to make smart factory transformations a success.

Management Summary
  • The objectives for successful implementation and operation of a smart factory must be derived from the overall corporate strategy of a company.
  • Five dimensions are expected to improve with smart factories: productivity, reliability, flexibility, attractiveness, and sustainability.
  • Most companies do not meet their own expectations since they fall short in achieving defined smart factory goals through their own transformation efforts.
  • To attain the expected impact, companies need to actively manage eight common pitfalls and cover all topics from undefined vision and objectives to missing use case implementation.
  • Smart factories must be understood and treated as a holistic transformation program and journey, not as a single project.

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