Process Innovation

We are applying innovation and advanced technologies to our business processes — transforming how work gets done — to become more efficient and effective in our manufacturing facilities and our back office. Our embrace of Industry 4.0 and functional transformation is strategic, well funded and focused on delivering value across our global enterprise.

Industry 4.0 & Core SFS

We have been a manufacturing company since 1843, sustaining our growth through a keen focus on quality, efficiency and environmentally supportive practices. Our SFS Operating System has evolved over time to support continuous supply chain improvement. To further our industry differentiation, Core SFS now fully incorporates the principles of Industry 4.0 — the Fourth Industrial Revolution, powered by connected intelligence. As Industry 4.0 begins to take hold across our enterprise, we are not just making our manufacturing processes better at the local level, we are transforming how things are made across The Company by keeping people at the center.

Manufactory 4.0 — Center of Excellence for Advanced Manufacturing

Industry 4.0 needs a nerve center. We launched the Manufactory in Hartford, Connecticut, in 2018, as a resource to our businesses, supporting our rapid world-wide implementation of advanced manufacturing technologies. Our global Industry 4.0 organization has built a team of over a hundred specialists, many of whom are stationed at the Manufactory. The Manufactory is always on, connected live 24/7 with our plants around the world. The team collaborates across businesses, surfacing and sharing best practices and new ideas from the shop floor instantaneously, problem-solving for local plants, providing shared services and actively creating with local champions a global ecosystem around a strategic vision of advanced manufacturing.

While the Industry is engrossed in proving Industry 4.0 technologies, we have already started deploying Industry 4.0 technologies at scale to deliver program-level productivity and customer agility benefits in our manufacturing facilities.”

Sudhi Bangalore, Vice President, Industry 4.0

Digitizing the Factory Floor Worldwide

We operate more than 100 manufacturing facilities globally, including 30 in the United States. Over the past few years, our handful of “Lighthouse Factories” have demonstrated the transformative power and efficiency of various Industry 4.0 technologies. Now we’re scaling up. By the end of 2019, over 30 factories will have partially implemented Industry 4.0 technologies — from manufacturing execution systems to 3D printing, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, robotics and co-botics.

Engineered Fastening’s Giessen on the Path to Smart Factory

Our plant in Giessen, Germany, was one of our first three “Lighthouse Factories” and has been a leader in incorporating digital intelligence into manufacturing. The facility leads in the development and deployment of agile automation production systems and other Industry 4.0 technologies. Workers have digital visibility into every aspect of the manufacturing process. Elevated operational equipment effectiveness is good for both machine health and human health, as optimized scheduling has been shown to reduce recordable incidents. Giessen’s rapid evolution from digital to virtual to smart factory by 2020 continues.

Functional Transformation


cloud and co-location hosted systems


reduction in number of ERP systems


of annualized savings through intelligent automation

In the third year of an evolving multiyear plan, our functional transformation journey has taken advantage of significant technology modernization and process standardization. We have exited all company-owned data centers, migrating applications to cloud providers or co-location hosting facilities. We have modernized our telephony infrastructure globally, converted all wide area networking to software-defined SD-WAN to leverage the growth and adoption of internet services, and have adapted our web portals to better support e-commerce. We also significantly reduced our application and ERP systems footprint, while establishing a single, unified transactional system enabling global finance shared services capability. Further, we began intelligent automation, creating virtual robots to augment and streamline human work, starting in the back office but expanding to the front office in the future. Ahead is the next wave of enablement, automating global HR processes in the interest of scaling up our HR spend rather than growing it, even as we grow as a business. More than just back-office efficiency, we are ensuring we become a more effective, more sustainable and more scalable digitized global industrial going forward.