Sunday, May 29, 2016

Holacracy a New Way of Work can it Apply in Industrial Operational Space

I have spent the weekend listening a ready more on Holacracy, (http://www.holacracy.org/) and attended a training two weeks ago. While the concepts are familiar to me in that it follows the AGILE Software thinking and approach to putting a framework in place that enable :

·         Agility through understanding where you are and what you have to do so you can make changes
·         That enables empowerment of the team, individuals
·         The distribution of authority to enable empowerment to execute

The whole approach makes total sense to the new operational transformation environment, and I believe could be applied to manufacturing. Providing a framework for the more efficient execution, planning of work across an organization.


If you look at the Agile case studies from John Deere where they applied agile , top to bottom the results speak for them selves:


While agile is applied in the software work, what we seeing in industrial operations, is not a transformation in technology (yes it is being enable by technology) but it really is a transformation in the way companies plan, execute, work. This work could be planned work from a business side, to work generated on the plant that needs to followed up a resolved, shifting workers from an average of 35% planned work in a day to greater than 70%.

Holacracy and Agile are systems that transform the way in which work is planned, and executed, with constant empowerment of people to change and evolve the system.


As I look into both frameworks and try to apply them in my own life, I cannot see why they would be a possibility for transformation of culture to achieve better work in the industrial work space.

It is important to note both systems are aligned and they are a framework, they require discipline and execution within the framework to enable the agility. Too often in manufacturing and the industrial space people put technology and systems in as “silver bullets” and expect them to solve everything. But they are only tools, there needs to be an operational cultural transformation as well and combined you gain real change.

If you have not heard about Holacracy and are looking at a transformation in the way your company works have a look at it.  http://www.holacracy.org/, there are many You tubes and discussions on it!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

What kind of a “driver” should the front-line worker be in the factory of the future?

This is a question I get asked a lot, and it is valid question. With the change roles, changing scopes of responsibility, and changing demographic / way of working, certainly the generic roles of the past 20 years will not work.
But getting back to the “driver” type of the future no matter role. So many people say why not eliminate drivers and humans all together, nothing new this is “lights out manufacturing” but is it practical. I believe not and the reason is the demanding world of today which demands change. 

Certainly where we have consistent planned know execution automation makes the whole sense, but :

  •         our product run sizes are reducing
  •          product change overs are increasing
  •          new product introduction is increasing
  •          Agility is key



The ability to absorb and handle change in operations, products and personal is becoming foundational in our operational system of the future.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Imagining the possible – if we didn’t have the burden of IT legacy

For years organization, IT infra structure/ architecture have caused silos, and boundaries to be set up between departments and different levels in an organization. The IT/ OT convergence of has been driving to integrate or break these down, but too often it is gluing the existing structure and with this comes a lot of the limitations of the original structure.


Many IT systems have institutionalized the “pyramid and boxes” design…along with its fundamental design flaws that are at the root cause of our integration challenges. The different streams have different time, different context, different language. This drives the glue to how to map these different context/ time slices etc.
Imagine if we took a different approach of “integrated digital streams” aligned centered on the product/ service for the customer/ market. Imagine if you could have a system as shown below:


From static silos of data (low-res snapshots) to integrated digital streams (high-res movies), where the streams of data are aligned , captured for one goal of competitive delivery. 

This requires a different thinking to the traditional IT, and too often when engaging customers they are struggling with gaining this operational agility, often hamstrung by the traditional organization/ and It structures. 
The diagram above provides a vision of if we were freed to think of solutions outside today's boundaries.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

New World of Work will be center to Factory of the Future

Last week at a conference, a couple of my colleagues and I had the opportunity sit and debate the changing world order that will make the “factory of the future”. The three of us are involved in the major opportunities we see in the market and it provides us the real opportunity to engage with companies with transformation plans, and engage with thought leaders. We decided to approach the discussion of the future factory by approaching it from different industries, as well as markets.

Sure enough we ended up aligned on the core to the “factory of the future” will around what two companies labeled “New World of work”. I have mentioned this many times in this blog around “smart operational work”.

We were able group companies who looked at the future thru "new technologies" and how they could apply them, (I seem to visited a number of this type in the last month) vs those companies that we believe will be the leaders with the successful approach of “how they must operation, work” in the new world.

We defined the new world means the next 5 to 10 years with characteristics of:

  •       Brand loyalty at customer reducing, so “Brand Promise” is key
  •        Agility to satisfy is key
  •        Shrinking mid tier market as the larger companies continue to consolidate to address the supply of new products and service markets. (especially in consumer products).
  •        Dynamic workforce where workers rotate locations/ roles, experience in a role will be less than 2 years.
  •        Supply chains with limited inventory requires transparent/ agile manufacturing across the sites.
  •        “Constant Change” in assets, process, people, products is the natural state in the 2020.

The diagram below is an interesting on Agility:


The Sense of time shortening causing the decisions, lifetimes of products and lines and roles getting for ever shorter. The ability to rapidly introduce, change in not just product but also delivery, and supply is key in order to satisfy.

The fact that each of us engaging different industries such as oil and gas / process, to consumer manufacturing saw the core catalyst the leading companies have identified as the transformation in the way their company must react, capture and execute work. Shifting from isolated plants, and people to teams of plants and people that work as an aligned operational team to achieve a goal.

The “New world of Work” is fundamental built on :

  • New ways of working with dynamic workers that share, collaborate and are connected but assume experience from the system, they trust the system
  • New Processes around agility, new product  introduction that leverage the skills and approach of the “digital Native” collaborative worker, combined with new technologies to enable new processes and operational awareness. The ability to see situations early, continue to learn, and act fast to changing conditions is key.
  • New technologies provide the opportunity to deliver these new ways of working, with new processes. The likes of leveraging the data, through “big data” to use the past to determine the future in a natural manner. The industrial internet of things (industry 4.0) will enable smart devices providing new levels of embedded autonomy in machines and processes, shifting workers to “exception based” management, but with greater responsibility.

The diagram below shows this shift, which will require different tools and approaches.


So as you look at your plans, are you stepping back and looking at the way you will work, then understanding the profile of operational team, how they will developing the processes to satisfy this work and required agility, and then looking at what technology you can leverage to accelerate the success in a sustainable and evolutionary way. This last comment is key as the natural state of the new world is one of “change” and the systems and culture must be able “master” naturally.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Is the day of User Guides / Manuals coming to end as Learning and Guides Merge???

I constantly work across teams, and companies, and listen now to challenge of the “dynamic workforce” that is rotating on sites and the challenge of “knowledge management/ transfer” constantly raises it’s self.
I was going to do a this weeks blog on a different topic, but a call this morning and one yesterday from engineering partners and customers around “knowledge transfer” and need to reduce the “time to experience” constantly comes up.  So I decided to chat about this challenge.
We have it within product development, how to transfer knowledge to field and set learning just does not work, so “self service” “E Learning is the big thing. But what the engineering house wanted to discuss was about their traditional project documentation, as they feel they waste a lot of time on documents that get out of date, and in many cases are not used.
This is again the same debate we have internally and I read in the forums as the traditional “User Guides” are giving way to videos, and then people debate what is the difference between E Learning, and user guides.
The question was asked why can’t our user question experience be short e learning's, and then if you have someone who wants to end to end learning these short E learning's and structured for a logical flow.
This is certainly where the software market is going, and seems logical for the Solution market. As the solutions developed on stand product need to evolve to solutions, the “learning experience” has to shift to in line, and native.

We have seen out operator training systems accelerate the retention, of data, and process for success. Shift to experiment and hands on, visual experience has an impact. This leads to the discussion of if video, recordings, , embedded simulation cases need to be part of the knowledge system.

Without a doubt “knowledge transfer” in our dynamic world is key, and maintaining the value of knowledge in a form that can easily consumed.
What is required is a knowledge system that:
·       Enables natural access in the context
·       Access remotely on different devices
·       Ability to easily add new knowledge and information.
·       Knowledge Management is key to tune, clean up knowledge, so the system is effective 5/ Rich search ability

The key here is an open system that enables crowd sourcing of information from many different roles, from within the company and from outside, but those who can contribute. The challenge in the industrial world traditionally contribution from roles was limited, this was due to main reasons;
·       The culture and atmosphere have not promoted the sharing, contribution
·       The systems did not enable natural, easy contribution, to one place that enables effective information.

Both of these factors are in transformation:
·       The systems / technologies are now available for knowledge, information systems to common, and easy to use and contribute. A notable example is Wikipedia that has millions of people contributing, and millions using. Key is it is simple to add new and extend knowledge posts from where ever you are. But they have a common hosted system, and they have a team of people reviewing and managing the information, so the system' s value is maintained. But I doubt the “word” is the best mode for rapid intake.

·       The culture of gen y is decidedly different to baby boomer even early gen x, they naturally search, share and contribute. Without this cultural transformation,  the concepts of Wikipedia and Facebook would not have worked, and grown to become such a natural part of the modern lifestyle.

It is time that the concepts of a Wikipedia / Youtube capability become a natural part of the industrial landscape, where the tagging of knowledge can provide the context and linkage with the supervisory system. The supervisory system must naturally call this knowledge system, passing context, and the natural ability to contribute and search.

All operational people no matter device should feel, like they do on Facebook, to add comment, capture events, capture experience from the system, and tag with context to increase search ability and use.
So will we have user guide/ solution manuals or will evolve to online learning, that is adhoc, and evolving vs a “snapshot” in time.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Operational Continuity Foundation is Rapid / Early Decisions by Systems and People.

I was involved in an interview last week for an article in a magazine, like so many of these we had an expectation of the subject the editor wanted but as started it was clear that subject and expectations where different. Basically the editor wanted to understand about “big data” being applied in a particular industry, again it was someone with a technology concept the market is throwing about vs really understanding the business / operational challenge the industry is facing.


It did not take long for us to evolve the conversation into the number the main things companies must harness:

  • Operational Continuity: Maintaining their producing plants at the maximum output, with greatest efficiency, and best product margin
  • Agility: to supply the market with the correct product at the right quality, and right price and the right time in an every dynamic market
  • Asset Management/ Utilization: This is both fixed, mobile capital assets (non breathing assets, such as plants, trucks, ships) and the human assets (breathing assets). We find that as globalization increases the buying and selling of capital assets increasingly happen, introducing of challenge of  how do incorporate existing systems, automation, and practices into your overall value chain to provide the above “Operational Continuity” and “Agility”. Same when the asset is sold how you dis engage it cleanly especially with IP in the products and process. Combine this with the dynamic Human Asset landscape where human assets are moving regularly between plants and locations. Causing on a site not to have the required experience to make decisions, but people are in a role of having to make the decisions. YES the asset world for both capital assets and human assets is shifting form traditional stability in both classes for the last 20 years to one of both dynamic.

This comes back to conversation I started last week around “Achieving Consistent and Right Results in an Agile World” and the need for systems that have both:

  • Embedded knowledge and experience: key in this system is have a culture and system that naturally enables knowledge to captured and arranged, managed to be current and while native consumption of this knowledge is simple.
  • Augmented Collaboration of Experience: That in this dynamic world the need for a community of human assets of different experience in role and locations to contribute naturally to a decision in real time, augmenting the embedded knowledge. 


This calls for a system that enables people and systems, all of different levels of capability, and experience to work in coordinated way to reach a decision and act. The above diagram is a simple one of the core items of Action orientated Augmentation system.
Unconditional to success is:
  • Detect the situation requiring attention as early as possible, pin pointing the location and cause as best as we can. The traditional alarm, “as is” is too late. This does not apply just to process situations but also operational/ supply chain situations that effect “Operational Continuity”.
  • Understanding: This means the right person, or people, or system is notified with the required context of the situation. To often transitional systems are application based, so you alarm to control room, or SCADA system. There needs to shift to notify to people and roles, with acknowledgement of acceptance so that correct people are investigating and acting. Yes this will mean systems require unique logons, and shift to named users as people will be connected more, across applications and devices, and accountability in a team situation is fundamental so tasks do not get dropped. But core to understanding is the ability not to be just notified but to investigate, from the provided context the situation based on the workers experience, to collaborate fast with peers, and contribute an opinion.
  • Decide: Based on the incoming opinions from systems, and people, and raid decision can be determined based upon experience, knowledge, and technology. The decision could be made by a system or person based upon the inputs.
  • Actions: The appropriate actions and process to resolution can then taken across people (one or many) and across systems.

All the way along the system will rapidly manage the process of detect, understand, decide and act, and then track the success and increase the embedded knowledge. 
This is not a question of a new technology like "big data" it is about having a framework that works across your operational landscape to empower people, and systems to leverage existing knowledge and experience to evolve the Operational Success of the company.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Achieving Consistent and Right Results in an Agile World

As Sunday draws to a close, I sit out looking over to pacific the waves crash, and birds fly, it is my time of reflection.

Last week I talked about some of the observations from the last month on the road. But this week I debated with a number of thought leaders and we all aligned on the challenge of a dynamic workforce, and dynamic operational/ business environment, means that chance of “Lights out Manufacturing “ are slim.

One company I was engaged with last week their thought pattern was still about replacing the personal on the plant, going to total automation. While I agree with automation, it is required for consistently and velocity of production. But I struggle with agility.

Two days latter I was at another company and they were all about empowerment of people, they wanted to automate process, and operations to free up people to add complimentary agility and “out of the box” thinking.  As one C level said to me, our market is changing as fast as we ever seen, and
Stepping back and looking at both these companies the second company was more automated than the first and the second was investing in automation more than the first. But their attitude was to gain consistently and free up people from repeatable tasks, and increase the responsibility of people, and empower people to make decisions fast.  


The diagram below really depicts what I started to introduce last week, and what this second company believed in.
That they needed to design their systems and people to play “natively in the dynamic world”, and they have realized that “embedded Intelligence and knowledge” will be key and must grow proportionally with increasing data. They also realized that with agility comes the changing operational environment and situations which will require “augmented intelligence” with the human brain can work out. The key thinkers in the industry are not looking to dependency on 1 to 2 people, they are leveraging the concept of “crowd sourcing” thru a active community of people. As we look at the operational/ automation world of the future the key pillars will be:

  •     Ability to capture knowledge and intelligence into the system to automate process, and operations. Key is this is not just traditional automation in PLCs/ DCS etc, it is capturing repeatable knowledge and decisions. So the system must bread a culture of contribution and use natively.
  •    Ability to have a community of workers who can share collaborated “naturally” with ease, no matter the location of the users and state. Foundational to this is  the ability trust the information, the measures so a common understanding of the situation, and basis for decision can be made.

Leading to natural decisions, and action paradigm across the team as seen below. I will expand on this more next week.