I made a guest appearance on a manufacturing podcast I just learned about last month–the Make It Right podcast with Kevin Snook and Janet Eastman. Very smart people. I hope I added something.

The episode title is Digitalization–Shaping the Future of Manufacturing. Digitalization – Industry 4.0, IiOT, Smart Factories – or whatever you choose to call it is changing the manufacturing landscape. Sensors littered throughout factories collect and share data to monitor and enhance operations, and data collection can start as far back as the source of a product’s raw materials. This mountain of data will have a huge impact on four primary areas; 1) operational efficiency; 2) predictive and preventative maintenance; 3) supply chain management; and 4) inventories and logistics. This week on Make It Right we talk digitalization with Gary Mintchell, an independent podcaster and blogger for the manufacturing sector.

Sometimes I think those terms are simply marketing phrases. On the other hand, there is substance underneath each. We touch on each of the four areas. One pet peeve though is the emphasis that people have on “predictive” maintenance. When I work with the IT developers, they know about predictive analytics. Running with that thought, they extrapolate to predictive maintenance as a sort of panacea. I tried to steer the conversation toward predictive as just one of the tools for good maintenance practice–along with preventive and condition-based and even routine rounds.

The real breakthrough I see happening begins with the quality and quantity of data now available from the IoT, digital twin, and digital thread technologies. Step two is bringing people from all the relevant disciplines into the same room. Each has a screen with information relevant to them displayed at their station. When an event or situation or question occurs, they can chat, check their relevant screens, and determine appropriate courses of action. They can also plan for future shutdowns or turnarounds.

A much better way to run a plant than the “blame game” of blaming the innocent.

And put this podcast right next to mine on your favorite podcast app. (I use Overcast.) You might review each of us, too, to help others find us.

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