Smart Manufacturing Plant Strategy Tests Organizational Dynamics

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By: Babette Ten Haken|

Photo credit: Fotolia

A smart manufacturing plant strategy tests organizational dynamics. Executing smart manufacturing plant strategy should start simply rather than trying to boil the IIoT ocean.

Simultaneously targeting optimization of every process and system without creating a supportive IT infrastructure is a recipe for chaos.

The dynamics of implementing smart manufacturing plant strategy create a tug-of-war between the traditional roles of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT). How can companies utilize the strategic flexibility offered by the advantages of streaming data and advanced analytics while simultaneously insuring operational system-level control, stability and security?

Last week’s IMTS 2016 Global Automation and Manufacturing Summit (GAMS) in Chicago focused on how and why creating a smart manufacturing plant strategy drives cultural transformation. The IIoT manufacturing ecosystem calls for convergence between plant operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) within the enterprise.

“Too often businesses jump three steps ahead with a desire to optimize without even the basic [IT] infrastructure in place to collect the data required for the optimization analytics. Getting connected with a standard approach to getting device data, bringing it to a Big Data environment and organizating the data in the right context are all critical to moving to the next step.” Rich Carpenter, GE, Product General Manager, Panelist, IMTS2016 GAMS

The IT department’s customer is OT within the smart manufacturing plant ecosystem.

To implement smart manufacturing plant strategy, IT must learn how to work with OT. The IT department’s focus is packaging IT platforms and applications into formats which are easily deployable within, adaptable to, and readily understood by operators, managers and process engineers on the plant floor.

Determining a new way in which software platforms are inclusive of what happens on the plant floor is going to be critical to the future of the CIO (and the role of IT) within the smart manufacturing plant.

The two disciplines, IT and OT, historically tend to get along like oil and water. Implementing smart plant manufacturing strategy tests how successful these disciplines are in adapting their respective approaches to why they utilize technology. Their target is to complement, rather than inhibit, each other.

Is this mandate even possible?

Within legacy business models, IT and OT tend to operate as separate entities. However, within the dynamic, inter-related smart manufacturing plant ecosystem, neither can implement IIoT initiatives without collaborating with the other. That initiative is translational. IT folks need to leave their corporate silo and learn more about what happens on the plant floor. There is nothing theoretical about a plant floor: everything happens real-time. Operations folks need to leave their environment and determine whether what they are asking from IT is feasible.

“All of this will require changes in operational behaviors for the maintenance personnel and increased coordination with their IT counterparts. In return IT will have to become much savvier about how the Operational Technology functions and continually work to provide easy-to-use applications that supply maintenance personnel with relevant and actionable information.” – Chris LeBeau, ATS, Global IT Director, Panelist, IMTS2016 GAMS

Deploying smart manufacturing strategy leverages smart plant workforce creation and engagement. 

The IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) is redefining, if not reinventing, manufacturing. Technical advances in industrial Internet of Things software, hardware and application interfaces represent a meshing of people, software, business processes, manufacturing processes and equipment.

The impact of the IIoT on smart plant manufacturing strategy flattens traditional organizational hierarchies. How and why your organization hires, whom you hire, and where these individuals are located (global, virtual, mobile, Cloud, on site) eventually impacts an organization’s business model.

Key to creating and deploying smart manufacturing plant strategy is creating an engaged and inclusive workforce from plant floor to C-Suite. This workforce buys into overall strategy and understands the importance of their own role in driving efficiencies and productivity, including impacting Line of Business Value, throughout the organization.

Most importantly, this workforce is collaborative. IT and OT become partners with each other instead of maintaining a legacy, and potentially adversarial, relationship.

Empowerment of these important employees is a key strategy for manufacturing businesses that translate into bottom line business results. The key component to this strategy is engagement through the power of information. And the key to information is technology.” – Franz Gruber, CEO, Forcam, Panelist, IMTS2016 GAMS

Within a smart manufacturing plant strategy, the CIO becomes the architect of IIoT change.

Deploying smart plant manufacturing strategy redefines the role of CIO. When the plant floor becomes the collaborative customer of IT, targeted outcomes become translational throughout the organization. Rather than one project and one deployment, all data and deployments become interrelated, interconnected and interoperable within the smart plant ecosystem.

The CIO becomes a key collaborative architect in creating data sharing and transparency throughout the smart plant ecosystem. In my Playbook, that scenario calls for organizational innovation, not just IT cultural innovation.

The pace of IIoT technology advances is relentless and unforgiving. Your organization cannot “sit this one out.” Certainly, there is no room for complacency in the dynamic smart plant ecosystem.– Babette Ten Haken

The 2016 GAMS event underscored that seeking flexible, easily deployable technology solutions becomes the key to catalyzing organizational change in how we work. It becomes the role of IT to translate and communicate the value of these solutions, and to collaborate as they are implemented real-time.

Small solutions, implemented successfully, create an increasingly engaged and collaborative workforce from shop floor to C-Suite. The CIO and IT have front row seats as architects of those dynamics. – Babette Ten Haken

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About The Author

Babette Ten Haken

Founder & President, Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC

Babette Ten Haken is a catalyst, corporate strategist and facilitator. She writes, speaks, consults and coaches about how cross-functional team collaboration revolutionizes the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) value chain for customer loyalty, customer success and customer retention. Her One Millimeter Mindset™ programs draw from her background as a scientist, sales professional, enterprise-level facilitator, Six Sigma Green Belt and certified DFSS Voice of the Customer practitioner. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Visit the Free Resources section of her website for more tools.

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