Materials Services has now consolidated its know-how in the area of production process digitalization (Industrial Internet of Things and Industry 4.0) in thyssenkrupp Materials IoT GmbH, or tkMIoT for short, with the aim of supporting other companies in their transition to digitalized production. Materials Services is passing on its knowledge to customers, enabling them to benefit from the experience it has gained in the optimization and automation of production processes over the past 15 years.
Platform for digital transformation
One of the first core products is toii®. The IIoT platform developed in-house creates the conditions for machines of different makes and generations to communicate with each other around the world. The aim is to automate processes along the entire supply chain and make them more efficient.
"With toii® we have succeeded in bringing the digital transformation to the core area of our business: in the plant shops, machinery and warehouses," says Axel Berger, CEO of tkMIoT.
"We now want to help other companies take this step too." Materials Services has successfully implemented toii® at more than 30 sites since 2017. One plant has increased its annual production by almost 10,000 tons while other locations have reduced downtimes by up to ten percent.
Digital transformation is essential
"The pace of innovation has picked up significantly in recent years and processes are becoming increasingly digitalized and connected," says Axel Berger. "In this environment it is becoming more and more important for companies to have competent partners they can rely on for innovative solutions to help secure competitive advantages and gain a foothold in Industry 4.0. We established tkMIoT to respond to this need."
The step is also an important component in the further strategic development of Materials Services: With its "Materials as a Service" approach, the largest materials distributor & service provider in the western world is systematically expanding its service portfolio.
Start-up meets tradition
tkMIoT supports its customers throughout the transition to Industry 4.0: From advice on implementing IIoT technologies to support during the entire lifecycle of solutions and operation of the underlying platform. The company has an experienced team with extensive experience in industrial projects and combines a start-up culture with the traditions of a global group with more than 200 years of industrial experience.
AI as an essential component of the holistic digitalization strategy
Since early 2019 an artificial intelligence solution (AI), supported by Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure, has been integrated into the processes of the largest materials distribution and service provider in the Western world. "alfred" supports his colleagues at Materials Services in dynamically managing the global logistics network with 271 warehouse sites and more than 150,000 products and services.
As with his namesake – Alfred Krupp – all information comes together at alfred. As a first step, alfred will help to optimize transport routes and thus save the transport of thousands of tons of material per year. In addition, materials will be available more quickly at the right locations in the future. In the medium term, Materials Services will be able to make all processes along the supply chain more flexible, for example, in order to better take into account specific customer requirements for delivery speed, pricing or material quality.
Klaus Keysberg, CEO of thyssenkrupp Materials Services, summarizes alfred’s strengths: "Artificial intelligence is one of the technologies that will make a decisive contribution to competitiveness in materials distribution in the future. With alfred we are taking an important step towards making our processes even more efficient and optimizing our value chain. At the same time, he gives us better insight into our customers' needs so that we can align our offerings accordingly. In the medium term, this holistic approach will also open up new business opportunities for us".
With around 480 locations - 271 of them warehousing locations - in over 40 countries, thyssenkrupp Materials Services is the biggest materials distributor & service provider in the western world.
The wide-ranging capabilities offered by the materials experts enable customers to concentrate more on their individual core business and span two strategic areas: global materials distribution as a one-stopshop - from steel, tubes and pipes, nonferrous metals and specialty materials to plastics and raw materials - and tailored services in the areas of materials management and supply chain management.
An extensive omnichannel architecture offers 250,000 customers worldwide round-the-clock access to more than 150,000 products and services. A high-performance logistics system ensures that all deliveries are integrated smoothly into customer production processes on a just-in-time or just-in-sequence basis.