This article was originally published in the Winter 2018 issue of The Record. Subscribe for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.
Please stand on your head for a moment. Does the world look and feel different? Will you make different decisions than when standing on your feet? It’s not as daft as it may sound. Manufacturing on the edge is a term we hadn’t heard about until very recently, and it’s just like standing on your head: it enables you to see a whole new world.
So, the question is, are you willing to think radically? Are you willing to turn the world upside down and imagine new manufacturing business models and then implement them? Can you get to grips with the idea that every product and process will have a digital twin? Why and how can you make money from this concept?
Education is key to success here. How can we truly understand what manufacturing on the edge really means? Probably not by standing on our heads. Probably yes by engaging with academics, industry and even government officials.
A big problem I foresee are teams of people launching technology projects without any deep understanding of the overall goals. Already we are facing stories of failed projects, financial losses and general concern that companies are not sure what to do. Simply standing on your head will not cut it.
Our education institutes are not yet ready to offer smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0 courses. However, there are some other organisations that can help. Places like the Manufacturing Technology Centre in the UK or the Manufacturing Operations Management Institute (MOMi). The latter has a series of programmes offered globally which could be the first step to ensuring that your team is well prepared. As far as I know, they do not force you to literally stand your head!
Mike James is chair of the board of directors at ATS Global and a leading global expert in Industry 4.0
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