Transformation-The Future of Manufacturing

Transcript

NARRATOR

The future of project management is changing fast. On Projectified™ with PMI, we’ll help you stay on top of the trends and see what’s really ahead for the profession—and your career.

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STEPHEN W. MAYE

Hello, I'm Stephen Maye, and this is Projectified™ with PMI. I'm here with my co-host, Tegan Jones, and in this episode we're talking about manufacturing in the digital age.

Just as technology has upended almost every other sector, innovations in areas like robotics, artificial intelligence and 3D printing are reshaping manufacturing in a major way. Companies are rethinking every aspect of their production process as they look for ways to streamline their workflows and outpace the competition. It’s a time of exponential change in the industry, which is opening up a whole new universe of possibilities.

TEGAN JONES

But to take advantage of these opportunities, companies have to be willing to make big changes—and it seems like a lot of them really are. A recent survey by McKinsey found that digital manufacturing is a top priority for nearly 70 percent of industrial companies around the world. And if you look at major manufacturing hubs like India and China, that figure is a whole lot higher. 

So just to be clear, when McKinsey talks about digital manufacturing, they’re talking about three main things: connectivity, intelligence and automation. It’s really about how advances in these three areas work together to make factories more productive and efficient. 

STEPHEN W. MAYE

And this is where we start to see the internet of things really making a big impact. We often think of the internet of things in terms of connected consumer devices: the Apple Watch or Google Home. But industrial IoT projects are attracting a lot of investment—and manufacturers are really leading the way. 

What that looks like is something I recently discussed with Siddharth Verma, global head and VP of IoT services at Siemens. And we’ll get his take on what’s next for the sector a little later in the episode.

TEGAN JONES

We’re also going to see what it takes to make cutting-edge manufacturing projects a success. For instance, Gartner’s 2018 CEO Survey found that while manufacturing CEOs are enthusiastic about investing in their digital futures, they’re struggling with implementation. And their biggest stumbling blocks were shortfalls in leadership and execution capabilities, followed by a lack of vision and creativity.

So we’re going to talk about how project leaders can overcome those obstacles with Sanjoy Paul, who is the chief digital officer for manufacturing at Wipro, the global IT and business services consultancy.

STEPHEN W. MAYE

But first we’re going to hear from Jerid Hayward, an automation and robotics project manager for Stanley Black & Decker in Hartford, Connecticut. He’s seen the impact of these technologies firsthand on the factory floor. So he has some thoughts on how project and program managers need to prepare themselves for changes that are on the horizon. 

Let’s hear from him now.

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JERID HAYWARD

Stanley Black & Decker has nearly 100 factories all over the globe, and we’re working in various stages at these factories to automate, connect these factories, form higher-level data analytics across the global factories. We’re now in the fourth industrial revolution, so this is really differentiated by the speed of technological breakthroughs that are happening, a massive scale of industrial internet of things, and a massive scale of connected networks and incoming data generation and analytics.

So what we’re doing at Stanley is really real-time orchestration and optimization of the business of physical and digital processes, not just within the factory but across the entire value chain. And resources and processes are automated, integrated, monitored and continuously evaluated based on information available in real time.

I think one of the challenges is when you’re getting into these projects that are really on the cutting edge, there’s not a lot of documentation out there, there’s not a lot of standards that have been set, and you’re really going into uncharted territory. So you have to constantly be looking for new information, you have to constantly be working in a mode where you don’t have all the pieces, and you don’t have the understanding of everything, but you have to work with what you know. And you have to have a vision of what you want to implement and what you want the future of your factories to look like. You have to be able to operate in that kind of environment. 

In today’s world, a lot of companies, including Stanley Black & Decker, are really looking for people with specialized skill sets and really education and training, and ideally experience, on some of the latest trends in manufacturing, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, the latest trends in robotics. So a lot of companies that are hiring or promoting are really looking for a greater level of specialization. Project management is not really enough. 

I have a coworker here who is one of our technical leads in automation robotics, and he’s always up on the latest trends. And I was talking to him one day and said, how do you get to this point? How do you know what’s coming up in these latest trends? And he said, honestly I spend four to six hours a week on YouTube. He said well before companies have time to write product documentation or vet their products and put them online to sell, they’ll make videos about what’s up-and-coming. And that’s one of the best ways to learn about up-and-coming trends.

There are so many resources and educational opportunities out there. So explore, be creative, and find ways to regularly gain new knowledge.

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STEPHEN W. MAYE

Staying ahead of the curve, especially when it comes to emerging technologies, is a great way to make yourself more valuable to your organization. And robotics and automation are definitely two areas where project and program managers who want to work in this sector would be smart to hone their skills. 

TEGAN JONES

And that’s partly because the robots that we’re seeing today are much more complex—and way more prolific—than what we’ve seen in the past. In fact, the number of industrial robots worldwide more than doubled between 2013 and 2017, according to the International Federation of Robotics. And they predict that there will be 630,000 robots in global factories by 2021.

STEPHEN W. MAYE

And you need to know how these robots work within a larger connected factory. Getting ahead in this moment is all about understanding data. What data does the company have? What data does it need? How is that data being collected, stored and analyzed? 

TEGAN JONES

And that brings us to our conversation with Sanjoy Paul. He’s the chief digital officer for the manufacturing business unit at Wipro, and he’s based in Houston, Texas. 

STEPHEN W. MAYE

I’ll be interested to hear how he’s helping his clients capitalize on new opportunities. Let’s go to that now. 

[MUSICAL TRANSITION]
TEGAN JONES

Smart sensors put the world in the palm of your hand. With little more than a tap of a touchpad, we can now control a staggering array of digital devices. Plus, we can access in-depth data about how different tech tools interact with users, the environment and each other.

This has been a game changer in the manufacturing sector, where smart factories are helping companies rapidly boost performance and profitability. Sanjoy Paul says he sees three key trends spurring big shifts in the field.

SANJOY PAUL

The main trends that we are seeing are remote asset monitoring, where the objective is to collect data from the assets remotely in order to do predictive and prescriptive maintenance, so that that can trigger remote diagnostics and orchestrated resolution.

The second trend that we are seeing is digital twin. That is, you can do ‘what if’ analysis, you could do maintenance and services, that is, you could do simulations on the virtual model, which is the digital twin, before you do execution on the physical asset. And also, people are talking about digital twin of a process. Like, can I have a digital twin of the supply chain.

The third thing that we are seeing is smart field services. And this is triggered by remote asset management, where you know there is a potential problem, or the problem already has happened. So in which case you have to allocate the right resources with the right skill set and the right equipment, so that the work can be completed in the first attempt.

TEGAN JONES

Smart sensors can also inform better project decisions. But to make the most of the data at their fingertips, project teams need to focus on the fundamentals.

SANJOY PAUL

The project managers need to have a good flow of information between project team, distributed globally, and the customer to facilitate real-time access to project information and enable effective decision making. And that leads to efficient time management, as that enables the project manager to set a realistic timeline, balancing the life of each project team member, as well as stick to the agreed deadline.

TEGAN JONES

Using this data during project planning helps teams stay aligned to strategy, and deliver the intended results.

SANJOY PAUL

You cannot compromise on quality. Even if you try to manage the timeline, make sure the quality stays number one. So that you have to manage very carefully. Today there are lot of tools available, which you can monitor the progress, do the performance management to ensure that task progress is not encountering any delays or unforeseen setbacks.

TEGAN JONES

Looking to the future, Sanjoy sees big transformations on the horizon. And he says project professionals should be ready for rapid change.  

SANJOY PAUL

Manufacturing has been a laggard, but this industry will embrace digital technology at scale. Today they’re dipping their feet in IoT, dipping their feet in digital technologies. But I can bet in the next three to five years, digital will become mainstream. It will happen at scale. Because the benefits are so much, from the business ROI perspective. And it will be a completely different world, so far as manufacturing is concerned.

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STEPHEN W. MAYE

It’s interesting to hear Sanjoy come back to a theme we’ve heard so many guests touch on in regards to digitization: this idea that you need to strike a very intentional balance between speed to market and quality management when you’re dealing with innovative projects.

TEGAN JONES

Especially since the manufacturing sector has been a bit slower to adopt digital technologies, it definitely seems like there’s a push to make up some ground.

STEPHEN W. MAYE

And we’re about to hear a bit more on that from Sid Verma, who’s the global head and VP of IoT services at Siemens in San Francisco. I recently spoke with him about what it takes to manage the complexities that come with the type of major changes we’re seeing across the sector.

TEGAN JONES

It certainly seems like there’s a lot of work to be done. So let’s hear how he’s making it happen.

[MUSICAL TRANSITION] 
STEPHEN W. MAYE

Sid, thanks so much for joining us today. I know you’ve worked in manufacturing for nearly 20 years, so I’m really interested to hear your thoughts on how things are shifting in the sector. Let’s start by talking at a high level about what’s happening on the ground. In your opinion, what trends or innovations are having the greatest impact on manufacturing projects right now?

SID VERMA

If you look at the manufacturing sector, they have kind of not kept pace with the IT sector. I mean, most of the segment developments in the world have come from there. So, the example would be the ability to manage and process large amounts of data. We always talk about the big data, right? But it was always around the IT infrastructure. So the business in manufacturing started adapting some of those tech innovations, and they are making a big impact. So the example here is IoT. IoT has always been there, the way manufacturing works, but now they are able to collect information from different sources and then do remote monitoring, be able to process it and make intelligent decisions.

However, the other side is the core manufacturing processes itself are changing. And that is the actual adoption of embedded technologies, which have become faster and cheaper. And the third thing that I call the emerging or totally innovative area where we are doing something totally new, like the 3D printing and additive manufacturing, which is being able to process mill things out of nowhere. So I’ll put that in, like, three buckets for myself when I say what’s happening in manufacturing. And they all kind of come under that Industry 4.0 bucket nowadays.

STEPHEN W. MAYE

That’s fascinating to see the kinds of changes that we’ve become accustomed to from the IT or technology sector getting pulled into and adopted by manufacturing, and then of course, as you describe, even core manufacturing processes beginning to change as well. How are manufacturing industry leaders responding to these shifts? How are their businesses changing?

SID VERMA

So I have been working across multiple industries with the clients trying to help them adopt new technologies. And you expect the answer is: wow, it can save me so much, or make my life better or safer, let’s do it. It doesn’t always happen.

The way the answer, I frame it, is at the top they’re very enthusiastic because now we, again, in North America, can start being competitive in manufacturing with the help of these technologies. But the middle and the lower, there is a huge transformation happening where the skill sets do not match, there is a requirement they need to learn, and most of the time it feels too far.

So there’s a lot of resistance in the middle layer, but from the top it looks like no-brainer to do it, and they are very enthusiastically adapting all this.

STEPHEN W. MAYE

So do you see senior leaders taking specific steps to reconnect and understand more deeply what’s actually happening? Then I’m also interested to hear what you’ve seen in terms of how are these manufacturing companies responding to addressing that skill gap, that expectation gap, that pain of that middle and lower layer making that transition. Interested to hear what you’ve been seeing.

SID VERMA

From a talent perspective in manufacturing, they are having a serious problem with hiring the right people. And the reason being the Caterpillars and the Fords of the world, other big companies, big brands, but if you go down to one level to their supply chains, they’re not well known, and they traditionally hire a more, like, ops kind of people, majority of their hires. And they’re situated in not so glamorous big cities where people from Silicon Valley don’t like to move too often. That has created a huge gap of the people that they want in the new world.

So what people have done is when you start to run a pilot with new technologies to improve a process, they train their people along with it. And the good company and the good managers can keep the skills before and have supportive help, like hire new intern or like a junior person who have a lot more IT skill set or AI skill set or a digital skill set, and they’re more interested to learn. But they keep them under the wing of somebody who’s senior. So the senior companies or the companies which have been around for longer time understand this, and that’s what they have been doing.

STEPHEN W. MAYE

Yeah, yeah. And as you describe that, I’m thinking of the kind of exponential impact on complexity, you know, working across these functions, bringing functions and disciplines together in a much more meaningful way to execute major projects and programs. It sounds like a significant increase in complexity in the typical project or program.

SID VERMA

Oh, well, that would be an understatement.

STEPHEN W. MAYE

I get the award: Understatement of the year, right?

SID VERMA

Yeah. I mean, there is no shortage of challenge when there is opportunity, I guess. So for me the biggest challenge is not understanding the limits or the potential of what the technology you’re proposing can do. I mean, everybody going around right now talking about digital twin and predictive maintenance and AI have never stepped on a production floor or actually ever tried to do a real project.

I mean, the jobs people have done forever are not the same things that we have been asking them to do. And so the change management aspect and bringing them along, that we all study in our MBA books, it’s not easy for everybody to do.

STEPHEN W. MAYE

Do you think that need that you just described—this people challenge need, and the need for effective change management, and to bring people along—does that have any impact on what we need from our project and program professionals, or does that responsibility fall elsewhere?

SID VERMA

I think it squarely falls on the project management group. And the adaption of these technologies here is not like, hey I’m going to upgrade your version of Windows 7 to Windows 10, and the box is going to move left. I mean, we have people whose job is going to change, people who may not even have a job. So change management has to be part, integral part of the project.

I guess you have to feel the project a level up to say the organizational change management impact, even though not in the scope of my project, but I will make a impact analysis and provide recommendations on communications and how to deal with that. 

When we did the projects at a manufacturing floor you see, we’re talking to the person for requirements, and we’re talking to them solution, and they see the solution will actually make their job redundant, or half of their team’s job redundant. I mean, you have to deal with it.

STEPHEN W. MAYE

Yeah, and that is not for the faint of heart and not for the novice. I mean, you need to come at that with a real understanding of those dynamics or you could end up with some really significant unintended consequences.

SID VERMA

Very true, very true. And the technologies are not like moving delta, small versions now. We are kind of doing a little bit big leaps and bounds nowadays, which is good from an operations and like, industry point of view that the industry will survive in U.S. and will be productive. But individuals’ place in this thing is uncertain.

STEPHEN W. MAYE

When you think about the project leaders of the future working in manufacturing—so project managers, program managers, people populating roles within PMOs—when you think about these project leaders of the future, what are the specialized or perhaps new skills that they need to be developing today so they can be successful in leading projects and programs in manufacturing tomorrow?

SID VERMA

So my suggestion or recommendation for the project manager of the future is to encourage people to go across these realms of industry, which is I keep saying, in my mind, it’s like the manufacturing or operations, then you have this engineering, which is the design and functions for them and the IT. If you have spent all your life in one domain, you learn the project management skills, but you don’t understand the environment that much. And there is quite a few things which are very different. Some things are subtle. And most of the things are same. But that 20, 25% can create a project manager not to be successful.

So allow or encourage people to actually go across multiple domains for projects. Even force them a little bit. And I guess over time our project managers will become multi-skilled.

STEPHEN W. MAYE

So when you look out across where manufacturing is going, how do you expect the sector to evolve over the next five years or even beyond, if you want to go beyond that? What does the factory of the future look like?

SID VERMA

The factory of the future will be very similar to what it is right now but a lot of the small things will be adapted to a new way of doing it. So, the main production line will be main production line for Ford, but I’m guessing the small parts which are integrated to make will be 3D printed. Their sales and services organization will use a lot of 3D printing. The factory will exactly work as is, but their efficiency will be much higher because things are connected for supply chain and machine, so we can do global optimization. So I’m seeing a subtle change in it.

But the other side of me always look at the leaps of technology change that happen. So the new ones I’m imagining, like how Tesla has been trying to fully robotize their production line, and they’ve found it’s like nearly impossible to do it. But we are going to get closer to that, correct? So, the factory of the future could be different if you are making something totally new and small or innovative, while the existing stuff is going to slowly move along as we move into the future.

STEPHEN W. MAYE

So it sounds like for the existing factories, or many of them, we’ll see some point solutions advancing, things like 3D printing. We’re going to see increase in efficiency, a move toward greater and greater global optimization. But for the new factories, we may see some leaps that look much more like full automation, and that will be fascinating to see. 

With that, Sid Verma, global head and VP of IoT services with Siemens, has the last word. Sid, it has been a pleasure talking with you. Thank you for being on the show.

SID VERMA

Thank you very much.

NARRATOR

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