the refreshing of manufacturing plants to The digital world, the world of data, is not
generate the sorts of data needed to deliver a world that happily accommodates siloes.
real transformation. The world of manufac- It’s a world where the more data you have
turing operation technology has a significant access to, and the more adaptively you can
number of proprietary protocols and updat- respond to that data, the more likely you are
ing these can be very expensive. Given that the to be successful. So you have to be more col-
prime output of the manufacturing process laborative and work in partnerships across
is the product, not the data that goes around silos, whether that’s inside or outside any
it, it’s a really difficult call to then spend a sig- single corporate entity. That means working
nificant proportion of your operating budget more closely with your supply chain, but it
on instrumenting your space to generate data may also mean working more closely with
that may not, at first, appear directly relevant your competitors. Those sorts of behaviors,
to the output of the product itself.
the idea that you need to partner broadly
The challenge is, though, that competi- and widely to be successful, an openness and
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tors who do make that investment decision willingness to take an outside-in approach
are seeing, or will be seeing, significant ben- to innovation, and understanding that the
to be shared.
efits in their ability to meet changing cus- marketplace may have new ways of think-
Data wants to
tomer demand, which is trending evermore ing about what you are doing, and that those be augmenting
toward shorter production runs and much ideas might come from completely adjacent other data in or-
greater customization and personalization. markets, not from your own industry at all,
That kind of adaptive manufacturing ap- but from somewhere completely left-field. der to create the
proach is something that is fundamentally Those are all skills that I think the manufac- sorts of interest-
made possible by being able to collect data turing and industrial sector is going to need
on manufacturing processes and manage, to get better at in order to continue to see the
much more adaptively, how you go about benefits from data innovation as they prog-
producing your product to meet the new de- ress and mature.
that can really
Plus, the world is becoming evermore Q: Finally, if you had to focus on one thing
connected. So as new economies come to as a watchword for the future of manufac-
the forefront, whether it’s the Middle East, turing, what wouldthatbe?
the Far East, or Eastern Europe, those new A: It would be “inquisitiveness”. I think
manufacturing economies have the po- that’s a natural instinct for most engineers,
tential to establish green field capabilities, most industrial designers, and most manu-
where data and connectivity come out of the facturers. The notion of asking questions,
box. So they can hit the road running with of being inquisitive, of looking for answers
more efficient production rates than existing in unusual and exciting places, that has to
legacy manufacturing estates that haven’t be the thing that makes the difference be-
been able to make the transition.
tween an organization that can be success-
ful at generating value from data innovation,
Q: What ne w skills will leaders need to
succeed in this fast-changing, digitally-
and an organization that can’t. So for me,
“inquisitiveness” is the watchword for the
future of manufacturing because that’s the
A: I think the strongest differentiating mind- thing that we need to possess, and to reward,