Much of what is considered conventional wisdom in smart manufacturing today can be traced back to work that started decades ago – work that continues to transform and shape the future of advanced manufacturing.
The acceleration of this work came when, through connectivity and software, we could bring together a thousand points of light, working in parallel but not together, into a more laser-focused beam. The result of the collaboration is greater productivity for manufacturers around the world.
Pioneers rarely know how their work will influence the world until they can look back with the clarity and perspective of the present, and examine the path and the potential of the future.
Years ago, when I coined the term ‘The Connected Enterprise,’ I did not realize the role this effort would play in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and our ability to find value in the blurred lines between the physical and the digital.
The phrase simply encapsulated what I was hearing from customers about what they needed – connected devices that open new windows of visibility into processes; data and analytics that enable better and faster decision making.
Our solution and the way to achieve those goals: seamlessly connect people, processes and technologies through The Connected Enterprise.
No Easy Answers
What I just shared seems simple, but it’s not easy. It’s the result of decades of posing tough questions and listening to sometimes difficult and unexpected answers. But that’s when we all learn the most.
And the conversations keep getting more intriguing and challenging. As the worlds of operations technology (OT) and information technology (IT) come together, I find myself working more often with experts in one area who are completely unfamiliar with the other side of the coin.
And in this space is where we find our greatest opportunities to make a difference.
Proud to Partner
When I say ‘we’, I am including the value academia brings to the work and the innovations.
We partner with academia because industry needs greater insight and influence into what students are learning and discovering, and what this future workforce expects from a career related to smart manufacturing. Academia needs greater insight into real-world applications to ensure that they are preparing students for what’s happening now and what’s possible in the future.
The meeting point between these worlds is where innovation is born.
Award Recognizes Decades of Research
Receiving the 2019 M. Eugene Merchant Manufacturing Medal of ASME/SME is an honor made even more meaningful because I was nominated by a customer and thought leader in this area. The award validates that our customers appreciate our work and how it is helping them to achieve their goals.
While my name is on this plaque, this is recognition beyond my work. I am the ambassador of our company, representing the smartest, most innovative people in our industry.
We again are on the cusp of great change. Manufacturing as we know it will be much different in just a few years, with a new generation emerging to build upon technology that is dramatically improving productivity and creating meaningful jobs, where people and machines work side by side to do things we never before imagined.
Together, we are expanding human possibility.