Digitalization and automation are the words of the year when we talk about the latest technology in the world. Everyone is trying to devise different methods to automate and digitalize other work processes of our everyday life. And without a doubt, the digitalization of varying work processes is where the future is heading. By gathering information and processing it, it turns into a digital format. Digitalization is helping businesses and individuals grow more in terms of efficiency, reducing costs, ensuring compliance, and accelerating the growth of the whole company.
As we can see, digitalization has become a must, especially when talking about different work processes that are very common in our lives, regarding the healthcare, infrastructure, automotive, energy, and other working industries. But wouldn’t it be awesome to have just one platform that gathers all working industries and digitalizes all their work processes into just one platform?
Norlean Operation Analyzer (NOA), a very innovative Spanish startup, has the solution for it. 4imag, during the MWC Conference in Barcelona, had the chance to meet with their team up close and discuss their innovative DTO (digital twin organization) cloud platform. In our interview, Iñigo Gonzalez Portillo- Norlean’s Business Development Director, shared with us some very insightful information about their up-and-running startup and what they offer in the market that makes them different from the rest.
What are the origins of Norlean creation and the story behind it?
“NORLEAN MANAGEMENT AND PRODUCTIVIDAD S.L., NORLEAN, was established in 2017, thanks to the efforts of technologists and managers, highlighting the figures of its promoter team, Daniel Prieto Renda and Tomás Pérez Moreno.
Daniel, with his doctoral thesis, sought to develop a methodology to analyze the behavior of production systems with computer simulation tools based on the simulation of discrete events integrated with the lean manufacturing philosophy. In this way, he sought to develop an evaluation mechanism for decision-making without having to make high investments and guaranteeing a small margin of error before the different scenarios were proposed. Through various studies and his work, Daniel defined a methodology that allows, through the integration of discrete-event simulation and lean manufacturing philosophy, its general application to any production system in any sector.
Tomás’ extensive experience in company management was key to the analysis of the integrated management of the different value chains, allowing its application not only to industrial processes but to all the critical areas of a company: strategy, people, production, sales, logistics, costs, and finances, among others.”
What is the main goal that Norlean wants to reach in the market?
The main goal of Norlean is to become a leading company in the field of digitization and process optimization, bringing its platform (or software once we have developed it) to different sectors and countries. This year, we developed our first SaaS in the health sector. It is called NOA HEALTH. Noa Health is a solution based on the NOA digital twin generation platform that automates, standardizes, and optimizes the process of allocating and scheduling patients and resources in radiation oncology units.
This solution is based on mathematical optimization techniques to model the allocation and scheduling problem and find the solution. In addition, the solution is deployed in a web environment, with an interface specifically designed to facilitate usability by unit staff, allowing for easily scalable deployment and support of the solution. Noa Health is a global solution that enables hospitals to optimize the treatment of patients with cancer. Its leading utility is to minimize the average waiting time or maximize the number of patients scheduled to receive radiotherapy sessions in the accelerators.
On the other hand, last year, we opened two business offices in UK and Taiwan, and one of our objectives this year is to increase our presence in these countries and open news business offices.
Norlean name is accompanied by DTO term (digital twin of organization). Can you explain to our readers the meaning and the benefits of it?
“According to Gartner’s definition, a digital twin of an organization (DTO) is a digital representation of a real-world entity or system. A digital twin implementation is an encapsulated object or software model that reflects a single physical object, process, organization, person, or other abstraction. Data from several digital twins can be aggregated to obtain a composite view of several real-world entities, such as a power plant or a city, and their related processes”.
Digital twins, through process simulation, allow, among other things, production planning, forecasting of economic and financial costs related to the processes, or knowing the energy expenditure of a factory or plant.
Our experience demonstrates that there are some benefits that digital twin offers:
- Increase the competitiveness of your company.
- Improve the decision-making process, as it will allow you to discover opportunities for improvement quickly.
- Simulate scenarios with infinite situations.
- A mathematical algorithmic data analysis tool is perfect for determining intelligent resolutions.
- Plan and schedule production.
- Calculation and visualization of all costs.
- Optimization of logistics and distribution.
How many fields can you implement this solution, and how easy is the implementation of this service in these different working fields?
Our platform is versatile; we can simulate everything that data and processes. Right now, we have success stories, and we are working in different sectors, such as:
- Bottling and canning.
- Energy (We are focused on water treatment plants)
- Health (Noa Health)
- European projects in the meat industry and stone fruit industry
- Car industry
What is the process workflow that is followed behind these automated predictions, analyses, and optimizations?
“We always follow the same way of working:
Analysis: This phase is of vital importance as it is when all the processes, data, and the use of the digital twin of the organization (DTO) will be defined. The objective of the analysis is to collect relevant information for the proper generation of the twin with respect to the organization to be analyzed. For this purpose, the following will be used:
a. Data from the client’s computer system.
b. Import of files (Excel, XML, …).
c. Sensors, Artificial Intelligence.
The customer’s contact person must be familiar with all the procedures and information to be digitized. Once the information has been collected, the processes must be detailed, and the data must be related to each other. In addition, in this step, the 3D designs of the process will be established, which will be necessary for the visual realization of the customer’s process.
Usability: Uses, interaction, and simulation interfaces will be precisely detailed. The design of an interface will be carried out in which all process inputs and outputs will be displayed. The interface will be hosted in the cloud, which will allow greater usability and access by the client, allowing simulations to be carried out from anywhere.
Programming: The relevant information will be transferred to the NOA platform, and the Beta Digital Twin will be developed through mathematical models and AI algorithms.
Connection: Data inputs and outputs will be defined, as well as the place of installation of NOA: it could be in the NORLEAN cloud or the client’s Cloud server. The cloud will allow us to have:
a. Calculation capacity
b. Ease of access
c. No infrastructure investment is required
d. Data security
e. Cost reduction.
Activation: The first tests will be carried out to evaluate the implementation of the twin.
And last but not least, Delivery of the output.”
Is it possible to reach full automation and optimizations in the everyday working processes?
“At Norlean, we have two totally differentiated project areas:
Projects tailored to the processes of each company: This area is complicated to automate fully because of different reasons (data, human action, input), but we could achieve a 95% of automation.
SaaS for healthcare, where we have already fully automated the different processes, optimizing waiting lists for radiation oncology patients. So it mostly depends on the project areas, but one thing is for sure, automation is a must when we talk about different working processes of our everyday life.”