Dan Miklovic

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Don’t Let Your IIoT Program Succumb to Cultural Conflicts

Posted by Dan Miklovic on Mon, Dec 02, 2019

IIoT has become a primary talking point about not only Industry 4.0 (I4.0), but all of the other digitalization topics around I4.0 such as analytics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality/virtual reality and digital twins. The ability to get information from the factory floor and move it anywhere and to anyone cheaply and in real time has driven IIoT into virtually every manufacturer and asset intensive industry client and vendor community discussion lately. With so much focus, both from management and leadership and technical and engineering staff, why then, have so few industrial internet of things (IIoT) projects moved out of pilot purgatory and into full scale production. Some will argue the business case isn’t there yet, others will argue that the technology is not ready or scalable yet while others say something else is lacking like leadership support or adequate deployment and support skills. There is possibly an even more fundamental cause projects are stalling; cultural wars inside the organization are inhibiting progress.

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Categories: Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM), Manufacturing Execution System (MES), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing

Don’t Let Recent Robot Failures Sour You on Automation

Posted by Dan Miklovic on Fri, Nov 22, 2019

In the last several weeks there have been two big stories about major manufacturers abandoning robots, reverting to manual labor instead. Boeing struggled with fuselage assembly robots that were supposed to drill and rivet 777 aircraft fuselage sections and will revert to using human machinists instead. Adidas announced it was closing its “Speedfactory” plants in Germany and is moving production back to Asia where it has relied on humans to assemble footwear. Adidas has said that it does plan to introduce some of the Speedfactory technology into its Asian plants in the future. With two large multinational manufacturers seemingly reducing automation, in both low volume (Boeing) and high volume (Adidas) environments it may lead other manufacturers to question whether automation investments are wise at this time. The best way to answer that question is to understand the limits of technology, the organizational readiness to accept technology and assessing how technology will support the business strategy.

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Categories: Industrial Automation, Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing

The Pace of Technology Change is Turning Standardization in the Industrial Automation World Upside Down

Posted by Dan Miklovic on Mon, Nov 18, 2019

Technology has almost always proven most beneficial when it operates within an ecosystem. The adage “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” is especially true in the world of technology. Smartphones have changed the world because they operate within multiple technological ecosystems. If they did not allow phone calls to landlines or to subscribers of other providers, they would be of limited use. Without GPS much of the smartphones value would gone. Bluetooth makes lining the smartphone to other devices easy and provides not only wireless headsets but connectivity to vehicles and other devices. What makes all of this connectivity work? Standards. The same holds true in the industrial automation sector.

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Categories: Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM), Manufacturing Execution System (MES), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing

IX is Really, Really Hard

Posted by Dan Miklovic on Thu, Aug 29, 2019

In a previous article, Three Reasons Why Digital Transformations is So Hard, I did a deep dive into what transformation means compared to just evolutionary change. Two of the three reasons explored in that post deal with the idea that businesses have rarely approached a level of change that qualifies as transformative. The focus needs to be on the business processes and not the digital technology underlying its processes. Industrial Transformation (IX) is the path businesses need to pursue, emphasizing the results, not the technology used to drive those results. But looking back historically this raises the question “is business transformation the same as IX?”

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Categories: Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing, Asset Performance Management (APM), Digital Twin

Even When the Tech Decision is Easy, Making the Decision Can Be Hard

Posted by Dan Miklovic on Tue, Jul 16, 2019

Technology spending is a given. Especially today, when Digital Transformation is a fact-of-life in nearly every industry. Executives know they need to invest in technology to remain competitive. Industry leaders have tied their Industrial Transformation (IX) strategy to making the right technology investments. It is more than consultant-speak or media hype to say that companies that don’t invest in technology won’t be able to attract or retain top talent, and that technology drives global competitiveness.

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Categories: Culture

Three Reasons Why Digital Transformation is So Hard

Posted by Dan Miklovic on Wed, May 29, 2019

Digital Transformation has become one of the most hyped terms in business today. Google it, and you’ll get over 27 million hits in less than a second. Every tech vendor seems to have a blog about how its products or services can help a business with its Digital Transformation journey. With so many resources available, why is achieving true transformation such a struggle? To understand what’s going on, let’s go back to the basics.

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Categories: Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation

Infor’s Forthcoming IPO Offers a Lot of Promise But…

Posted by Dan Miklovic on Thu, May 23, 2019

Infor CEO, Charles Phillips, is discussing the proposed IPO that has been in the news since the beginning of the year. Serious talk of Infor’s IPO started in January, 2019 with the announcement of a $1.5 billion investment in the company by Koch Equity Development, an arm of Koch Industries and Golden Gate Capital. Of all the major enterprise application vendors, Infor is the largest that has remained a privately held firm.

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Categories: Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Solution Vendor / Software Vendor, Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), Asset Performance Management (APM)

Field Service Management and Digital Twins: The Next Big APM Play

Posted by Dan Miklovic on Thu, Mar 28, 2019

Field service management (FSM) has generally been the focus of the customer relationship management (CRM) function in many organizations. While a fair percentage of FSM activities have been in the B2C space, there has also been considerable focus in the B2B space as well. FSM initially focused on dispatching technicians to service either broken equipment or to do regular preventive maintenance (PM) to keep clients happy. The functionality was to get technicians to the right locations, with enough spare parts to service equipment and cost-effectively minimize outages.

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Categories: Asset Performance Management (APM), Digital Twin

Picking the Right Operational Technology Initiative to Drive an Operational Architecture Effort

Posted by Dan Miklovic on Tue, Feb 12, 2019

LNS’ Industrial Transformation Framework, has at its center, the Operational Architecture (OA) process where organizations align people, process, and technology at the convergence of IT and Operational Technology (OT). Ideally, OA efforts occur after a company defines its strategy and determines how technology should drive Industrial transformation.

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Categories: Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Operational Architecture

IIoT in Process Manufacturing: More Than Just Being Better or Faster

Posted by Dan Miklovic on Wed, Jan 23, 2019

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology has become one of the supposed underlying drivers of Digital Transformation in manufacturing, along with predictive analytics and enhanced data presentation tools like augmented reality (AR)/ virtual reality (VR). Most of the focus has been on how the vastly increased amount of information and data about manufacturing processes in IIoT equipped plants will drive analytics and AR/VR visualization tools to accelerate decision making at what is generally considered “level 3, 4 or 5” systems.

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Categories: Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation