Why Your Factory of the Future Initiative Will Likely Fail in 2020

Posted by Matthew Littlefield on Thu, Jan 16, 2020

A recent LNS Research article highlighted the need for Industrial Transformation (IX) exemplars, identified three major reasons why IX programs stall, and four major areas that companies need to focus on for ensuring a robust and scalable IX program.

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Categories: Industrial Automation, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing, IT/OT

6 Standout Questions from the Industrial Transformation in Aerospace and Defense Webcast

Posted by Tom Comstock on Wed, Dec 18, 2019

On Wednesday, December 11, 2019, LNS Research hosted a webcast on “Industrial Transformation (IX) in Aerospace & Defense". The presentation covered the scope, scale, strategy, budget, organization and technology choices of Industrial Transformation (IX) Programs globally and in the Aerospace & Defense (A&D) industry specifically. We also looked at another regulated industry, Life Sciences, to validate our conclusions as to why A&D companies are leading in IX. The session concluded with detailing the 5 Best Practices for driving IX. Here we will look at the 6 most common questions that came out of that session.

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Categories: Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing

IX Exemplars Needed

Posted by Matthew Littlefield on Thu, Dec 12, 2019

Industrial Transformation, or IX, is new. There is no play book. There is no proven methodology. There is no exemplar. The improvement programs of the last generation are clear – Toyota and Lean, GE and Six Sigma, Dupont and Operational Excellence, among many others. But why were these companies successful in these endeavors – and why did they share them with the world?

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Categories: Industrial Automation, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing

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

Rockwell Automation TechEd and PTC LiveWorx 2019: Momentum Accelerating [MondayMusings]

Posted by Matthew Littlefield on Mon, Jul 29, 2019

I had the pleasure of attending Rockwell Automation TechEd and PTC LiveWorx in back to back weeks last month. Both events generate a tremendous draw in the industry and set attendance records, however, it may be the last year that happens. There are rumors that 2020 will see a new co-located event; times are a-changing! Although there were differences in the themes, attendees, and presentation style, there was also much in common ― especially about a shared vision of Industrial Transformation and joint customer momentum.

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Categories: Solution Vendor / Software Vendor, Industrial Automation, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing, #MondayMusings, Connected Worker

PowerPlex 2019: One More Manufacturing ERP Vendor Early to Embrace IIoT [MondayMusings]

Posted by Patrick Fetterman on Mon, Jun 03, 2019

Plex Systems held its annual PowerPlex user conference in Detroit the week of May 13, 2019, with just over 1,000 attendees and a few dozen sponsors across technology partners and systems integrators. A group of high schoolers were also in attendance, demonstrating their very cool entries for the FIRST Robotics competition; during the event Plex announced a $40,000 donation to this organization that works to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology.

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Categories: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Solution Vendor / Software Vendor, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing, #MondayMusings

Is Industrial Transformation Like Dating?

Posted by Tom Comstock on Wed, Mar 27, 2019

Commitment matters, whether it is in a romantic comedy, real-life dating, or Industrial Transformation (IX). In a relationship, it is imperative that there is a “real commitment” for the relationship to progress and succeed. To make romance hard, romantic comedies and scuttlebutt tell us that determining if your partner is committed to the relationship can be difficult. Despite their pronouncements of love, “real commitment” can be elusive.

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Categories: Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing