Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Critical First Steps of a Smart Manufacturing Transformation -- Spoiler alert: It’s not About Selecting Technology

This blog is a MESA Member Point of View

By Patricia Panchak

When Trelleborg Group set out on its Smart Manufacturing journey, it found technology wasn’t the problem so much as it was people’s understanding of the technology. The operations technologists (OT) in the manufacturing facilities thought they were ready to embark on a digital transformation, but the company’s information technology (IT) leaders disagreed. Bridging this gap became the first order of business, said Tomas Norbut, IT Infrastructure and IoT program manager, at MESA’s North American Conference

Norbut explained the disconnect as follows: “There’s a gap in knowledge between understanding that your processes could be very, very mature, but the abilities to digitize those processes can be very, very immature,” he said. That’s true even when the company has a well-developed, mature manufacturing program, as Trelleborg does.

Monday, July 9, 2018

New Research and Tools Help Smart Manufacturing Initiatives

This blog is a MESA Member Point of View

By Conrad Leiva, MESA International Board Member and chair of MESA's Smart Manufacturing Working Group

I was fortunate to participate at the MESA International workshop on Smart Manufacturing this spring listening and speaking with many leaders and practitioners working on innovation initiatives for their manufacturing companies under the general theme of Smart and Digital Manufacturing transformation. 

The digital transformation trend that started a few years ago continues stronger than ever. The digital business strategy for these companies has two main goals: (i) digital business optimization with goals of improved customer experience and improved productivity, and (ii) digital business transformation with goals of new business models and increased revenue through product and service offerings that leverage new levels of digital product data in this era of IoT.  

MESA International’s survey, performed with Industry Week, shows that among U.S. manufacturers, the preferred term for this digital transformation is Smart Manufacturing (around 50%) followed by Connected Enterprise, Digital Manufacturing, and Industry 4.0 (each around 10-15%). [1]