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.
“We tend to overestimate risk and under estimate value when we’re evaluating digital technology implementation,” stated a keynoter during the 25th annual ARC Advisory Group Forum. Another keynoter told us that if we are evaluating digital transformation initiatives using a spreadsheet, we are off base. Some things have too great a risk of not doing. A Wall Street analyst told us that over the past year industrial software companies outperformed industrial companies. Software for digital transformation is where it’s at. Check out the new Schneider Electric initiative promoting software defined control based on IEC 61499. This is an outgrowth of the Open Process Automation initiative that seems to be gathering some momentum. Software is eating the world–or at least the industrial one.
Podcast 218. I worked with data ever since it was handwritten or typed. I would count finished goods and raw materials inventory, draw up production schedules, calculate costs–all in written format. A long time ago. We can just generate much more data these days. Drawings and design become databases. Counts are automated with RFID and bar codes. We can contextualize, analyze, visualize. The question is–are we using it adequately to make better decisions?
Podcast 215–I moved to a new state a few months ago and have been searching for a good local, independent coffee shop with ethically traded coffee–in vain. So, I go to Starbucks a few times a week. The concept of quality at Starbucks is not the coffee, which is probably why people doctor it with flavored sugars and milk. Its quality has always been environment. One of my first jobs was with Airstream, manufacturer of quality recreation vehicles. Everyone in the company was aware of the need for quality.
The question for you today is are you contributing to building quality, ethical products that serve your customers and society?
On a personal development note, I leave you with Seven Daily Habits from Richard Koch in The 80/20 Principle.
Rockwell Automation unveiled a new Website design. It has one modern design strategy that drives me crazy, but otherwise it is a great leap forward in automation company sites. I’m sure I had zero influence, but I’ve been preaching this concept of emphasizing blogs and useful articles over product lists for at least 15 years. Overall, glad to see it.
I have unleashed my 214th podcast on the world. This is an essay about stressors of the times and how to deal with them. From the old Yoga teacher and Zen guy. Namaste.
Did you ever get a bright idea for a new product or service? You might have even sketched it and written a product outline. Then you filed it. One day you noticed someone else had taken that same idea and created a billion-dollar company? Bright ideas and doing the work.