At MESA’s 2016 North American Conference co-located at IndustryWeek Manufacturing & Technology Conference and Expo, Conrad Leiva led an unConference session on the topic of Smart Manufacturing. Conrad leads MESA’s Smart Manufacturing Working Group which has developed many great resources this year. Resources include a one-liner for Smart Manufacturing, several blog posts on the topic, videos on 5 questions about SM, and a whitepaper on the full vision called the Smart Manufacturing Landscape Explained.
Here’s a dialogue of questions and answers from Conrad and the crowd. You can download slides from the presentation here..
Q_Conrad: WHAT IS SMART MANUFACTURING? WHAT IS DIFFERENT?
A_Crowd: Connecting our enterprise to the customer down through the suppliers with as few steps as possible
A_Crowd: Optimized and connected supply chain
A_Crowd: Having capability to have shop floor run itself: near real-time scheduling, etc.
A_Crowd: Adapting and self-correcting; make sure there is calibration at all times; more autonomous
A_Conrad: All those answers are great and all fit into the MESA definition:
“Smart Manufacturing – The intelligent, real-time orchestration and optimization of business, physical and digital processes within factories and across the entire value chain.” -MESA Smart Manufacturing Working Group
Q_Conrad: DOES THAT DEFINITION GIVE YOU SOME MORE IDEAS?
A_Crowd: Putting RFID on inventory so that it knows the parts and the quantities coming into the factory; and it can react accordingly. Right now we have to do that manually to setup the line to make the 20 flavors.
A_Crowd: Fulfillment center to deliver products to the packers rather than pickers to the part. Deliver entire shelves; to orchestrate those moving parts.
Q_Conrad: WHAT DOES SMART MANUFACTURING LOOK LIKE?
A_Crowd: Cross schedule adherence and upstream manufacturing -- they were able to calibrate an almost just-in-time contract with their suppliers as the information was shared with their logistics and suppliers.
A_Crowd: Observation on what crowd agreed on: Being able to define strategies; how is it linked to value drivers, and tie to a roadmap. It was business-driven ways to improve.
Example: we want connectivity into the supply chain and for it to be structured information: xml, etc.
Q_Conrad: WHAT TO DO ON THE JOURNEY TO SMART MANUFACTURING? WHAT ARE THINGS WE ARE DOING TODAY TO GET THERE?
A_Crowd: Start in small groups and then expand it out
Q_Conrad: ARE COMPANIES READY TO INVEST IN INNOVATION? OR ARE BUDGETS HOLDING US BACK?
A_Crowd: Not too many in crowd raised hand to say budget is a problem
Q_CONRAD: IS IT ECONOMIC (WE DON’T SEE THE BENEFITS OF IMPLEMENTING NEW PROCESSES) OR CULTURE (WE AREN’T READY TO OR WILLING TO CHANGE)?
A_Crowd: There is a fear of the security risks (especially for chemical industry). Is the technology ready to provide the security to keep it safe?
A_Crowd: Resistance from IT departments because of responsibility of what happens on the plant floor like lines shutting down; “IT departments work for manufacturing but don’t see themselves as manufacturers”
A_Crowd: One manufacturer moved their IT under the manufacturing department because they were not getting the needed connection and service
A_Crowd: Align with lean practices and continuous improvement teams; that will give them obstacles to break down
Q_Conrad: CAN LEAN AND SM BE ON THE SAME LEVEL? OR HOW IS SM GETTING ONTO THE STRATEGIC LANDSCAPE?
A_Crowd: Since we put our ERP onto the cloud, regulatory (like OSHA) and strategic initiatives align because that’s how they are supposed to.
A_Crowd: Yes, makes sense to align IT with your lean journey. It’s easy to blame IT, but it’s really a failure of leadership. It’s the corporate vision that is supposed to drive alignment throughout all of it.
A_Crowd: The execution of that strategy is paramount
A_Crowd: Top down business case or business driver
Q_Conrad: HOW TO GET TO THAT BUSINESS STRATEGY?
library----importance in getting the
vision defined for the c-suite; and the education and skills to get it
Q_Conrad: WHAT EXAMPLES DO YOU HAVE OF GETTING THE NEW WORKFORCE READY?
A_Crowd: Strategic change management; internal with external stakeholders.
A_Crowd: Take them out of manufacturing and put them into IT; and vice versa; we have a cross training program. 6 months at a time. Employees like it and want it.
A_Crowd: A “convergence center” for new students; workforce of the future
Q_Conrad: WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO EVOLVE THE IT INFRASTRUCTURE?
A_Crowd: Going through our strategy, we wondered once we connect everything, where will the weaknesses be?
We decided to bring in a 3rd party to do a “Hackathon” and we found that the hardest part (weaknesses) was the M2M (anything from printers to the machines on the shop floor); and now they are authorizing all the devices on the port level as well as wireless.
Q_Conrad: What was the result? Should we be worried?
A_Crowd: You should be terrified because hackers can get into your machine easier than your laptop or phone. We are sharing lessons learned with vendors, other printer manufacturers and with CISCO and we introduced the hackathon company to these vendors.
A_Conrad: That is a great thing to do to get started on the journey… go after the problem head-on.