Don’t Let Traditional Thinking Limit Your Modernization

Don’t Let Tradition Limit Your Modernization

The terms migration and modernization often are used interchangeably. But they are different. Those differences can have sizeable bottom-line consequences, and determine whether you can achieve your manufacturing goals.

Modernization is an encompassing term that includes updating, upgrading, improving and even retrofitting; migration falls under the modernization umbrella, and usually refers to a hardware and/or software conversion.

What these have in common is this: the effort is made to do things differently so you get more productivity and less downtime, higher quality and lower energy use.

In a word: improvement. 

It’s a concept you’ve undoubtedly tossed around at your production meetings. Competitors always are trying to do something faster, better, less expensively – begging the question, “What can I do differently to do better?”

The answer is: modernize.

Before you say, “Can’t afford that,” let’s pause and talk about the big reasons you would modernize: to achieve faster time to market, lower total cost of ownership, improved asset utilization and enterprise risk management.

Those are the big goals. Maybe, specifically, you have one goal in mind, to reduce scrap, satisfy new regulatory requirements or get more flexible so you can expand a line. 

Let’s Not Get Ahead of Ourselves

Whether you’re goals are encompassing or specific, once you’re set to move, you need to resist the urge to just plow ahead. Because even if you have your results in mind, first you need to know how to get there.

It’s time to strategize and take these three steps:

  1. Analyze
  2. Plan 
  3. Execute

Seems straightforward enough. And it is, if you’re starting from a place of truth. Do you know what’s in your plant? I’ve talked to many people who thought they knew, only to do an installed base evaluation – with results that completely shocked stakeholders. Products facing end-of-life posed an enormous obsolescence risk.

Start in the Right Place

An installed base evaluation that documents the existing system and defines the final system creates a migration roadmap to help you achieve your modernization goals.

Once you know what you need to do, you can decide which route is best for you:

  • Self-service (easy to use hardware and software selection for a quick conversion to newer technology)
  • Packaged migration with a scalable, phased migration 
  • Custom quoted modernization for large, complex installations

Modernization Value Proposition is Improved Visibility

Regardless of where you start, modernization’s value proposition for a connected enterprise is improved visibility. Visibility has the twin advantages of ultimate scalability and clearly demonstrable value.

Ask yourself, “What is the one data point of handful of KPIs that could help me run my operations more efficiently?” Use that to improve visibility for a pilot roll-out.

Be the hero at your company by modernizing what you do, and how you do it. 

Learn more about how you can identify and reduce obsolescence risk.

John Riess
Posted August 29, 2016 By John Riess, Global Marketing Lead, Commerical Marketing, Rockwell Automation
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