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Digital shift – Data-driven decision making at Sandvik

At Digitalize in Stockholm 2021, one of the industrial and societal panels was hosted by Sandvik together with Seco Tools. Digital Futures had a chat with the moderator Vandana Kabilan Tekn. Dr., Head of Digital Solutions, Sandvik Rock Tools Services.

Hi Vandana, you pointed out in the introduction of your panel how digitalization means different things for different people and in different contexts. What do you mean by this?

– Digitalisation is a buzz word that has gained momentum, specifically given the pandemic. To some, it means moving from a paper and pen world to the world of excel or word documents. To others it would be using voice based , AI based tools to help assist their day to day work. Some of us are quite adept in using apps like Spotify or using fitness apps in team challenges. Now we see, more of the same coming into the enterprise workplace – for productivity or even simply for fostering the sense of belonging and networking.

At Sandvik, you talk about three key pillars when it comes to digitalization. Can you describe these pillars?

– It begins with having a clear strategic business vision. Our vision on where we would like to see ourselves in the coming few years. Our strategic purpose fuels our drive into why we want to do what we do. Stefan Widing, our President and CEO, explains this very well, “We have to grow in areas that are necessary to manage the shift to digitalization and the shift to sustainability.and at the same time ensure that we maintain a technology leadership in our core areas.” Find out more on Sandvik’s website.

The second pillar is of course our people and processes supporting them to make the digital shift. Having a purpose gives us the basis to strive to innovate, to think outside of the box for solutions. The third pillar is a technology which is a foundational enabler. The tools that we use to shape our solutions and processes in our journey towards digitalization.

You mention that Sandvik has an increased focus on growth, digitalization, sustainability and agility. Being a rather traditional type of business, what have been or are the challenges when it comes to the adoption of emerging technologies for digitalization?

– People are the central success factor for any such digitalization and growth strategy. People need to believe in the purpose, need to be motivated and driven to move sometimes out of their comfort zone . New technologies bring with it a certain nuance of newness or unknown territory. As Petra Sundström, VP Head of Digital Offering at Sandvik Rock Processing, says in the panel discussion, “It is easy to talk about making the change and what we want, until we can see some tangible results in front of us. It is difficult for an engineering company like us for us to visualize what these new technologies and digitalization can actually do for us. Moving from the abstract vision to tangible products that is one of the challenges.”

You are underground and overground – with a core business focusing on equipment manufacturing, processes and mining. In the discussion during Digitalize in Stockholm, several of the panellists highlighted the need for implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). What other trends do you see coming up in your business?

– As mentioned earlier some of the key challenges is around visualization of an idea . How do we know if an idea is feasible or will it have the business impact we hope it will? Hence , we would like to try and adopt new technologies and take it for ‘test drives’. That is, we want to try and put together solutions or apps quickly—do rapid prototyping , test and not be afraid to fail fast. If it doesn’t work out then we move on to the next great idea our people have. For this , we also like the idea of composable architectures – a lego block kind of architecture where the different components are all self encapsulated. We can add more building blocks , remove some and replace with newer models/ components . Thus a flexibility and openness to try new emerging technologies.

2021 has been rather special and now holidays are coming up – what do you wish for in 2022?

– In Sandvik Rock Tools Services , Digital Solutions – my wish would be for more cool technologies to test drive, a world that comes back to some sort of new normality where I can actually travel to far and new places in person rather than just watching nature documentaries.

Did you miss Sandvik’s panel at Digitalize in Stockholm 2021? Not to worry, revisit the panel on Digital Futures Youtube channel here.

Vandana Kabilan Tekn. Dr. , Head of Digital Solutions, Sandvik Rock Tools Services

William Smedberg, Analytics & BI Manager, Seco Tools
Michael Baudin, Tekn Dr., R&D specialist, Seco Tools
Petra Sundström, VP Head of Digital Offering, Sandvik Rock Processing
Dean Kangleas, VP Rock Tools-Services, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions
Michael Söderholm, Nordics Account Director, Outsystems
Jonas Dahlberg, Sr Sales Manager Data&AI, Microsoft

650 participants from over 45 countries across all continents – from India, Brazil, Germany, Norway, Canada, Uganda, Norway just to mention a few – gathered for this year’s hybrid version of Digitalize in Stockholm. The outline was on painting the digital futures – a vision of 2040 – how we through digital transformation, have the opportunity to impact our future positively.

Recorded keynote talks, panels, and breakouts are available on Youtube – see PROGRAM for links to videos OR go directly to Digitalize in Stockholm on Youtube – Click here to view Day 1 and Day 2