Monday, July 30, 2018

The Value of MES to Your Smart Manufacturing Transformation

This blog is a MESA Member Point of View

By Patricia Panchak

Click to download the slides from Virgin Orbit’s session at MESA’s 2018 North American Conference.

When Virgin Orbit launched its digital transformation journey, one of its goals was to identify and implement technologies that would help it build a digital thread. The idea was to digitize the business’ processes end-to-end—"from the launch event, which is the company’s key event, and back all the way through test, integration, manufacturing, design, and all the way to the original requirements—either engineering requirements or business customer requirements — that drove decisions such as what the vehicle should perform, how it should perform and so forth,” said Andrzej Goryca, Senior Enterprise Systems Manager of the company.

That wasn’t the end goal, of course. As a relatively young company—it’s built about half a dozen rockets, so far—the ultimate goal was to design, build and launch rockets into low-earth orbit, even as they “design, build and launch our business—to take the business to the next level,” Goryca said.

Monday, July 23, 2018

How Data Analytics Changed Profits and Culture

This blog is a MESA Member Point of View

By Patricia Panchak

Click to download the slides from Vecima’s session at MESA’s 2018 North American Conference.

You don’t have to be a large enterprise with a big IT staff, a team of data scientists and a large budget to implement culture-changing data analytics in your organization, according to Paul Little, Business Intelligence Analyst, Vecima Networks. The company conceptualizes, designs and manufactures cable network equipment and software for cable and networking vendors such as Comcast, Charter and Cox.

At the 2018 MESA North American Conference, Little described how the $71 million (Canadian) company made just such a transition.

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

Click to download the slides from Trelleborg’s session at MESA’s 2018 North American Conference. 

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

Join MESA's Smart Manufacturing Community and its LinkedIn Group for more research. 

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]