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.

Monday, March 28, 2016

On the Road Discovering and Listening: Again Operational Work Transformation Leads the change

Sorry, I have not been home for a month, and need to just listen to what people are trying to do, explore new opportunities.
While I found many new thought leaders, and opportunities, when you investigated the core goal, outcome of the project or theme of the people it was a "CHANGE IN WORK EXECUTION".

Much of what I have written about over the last year came up over and over again. Very few people articulated the project as a transformation in the way they work, but when you applied "Outcome Driven Innovation techniques" it was clear two things where happening:

  • They wanted to execute a "functional job" faster and more consistently now moving to that job decision and action been taken by a community / circle of people.

  • They expected more jobs to executed by the same team, and in the same period, this aligned with the increased responsibility that operational teams where taking on.
Again the driving strategies and challengers people where seeing are:

  •  Transparency with trust to see/ understand the current situation of the operational landscape across sites as if one operational plain. Note the word trust, this particularly was on data and information, moving away from local excel, or reports to trusted data that is in context and validated.

  • Embedded Experience/ knowledge to enable faster decisions but more importantly consistent actions across a changing demographic of workforce.
But an interesting point came up a couple of weeks ago in discussion or capturing knowledge, one group made clear that "embedding experience and knowledge into the system was the ultimate goal" but that this was not reality, and that Augmented Experience will come from a combination :

  • Embedded knowledge and experience, but it was clear that this was not just a system, but the culture of workers contributing in context regularly is a major step in the knowledge journey for companies.
  • But also a "community of experts, contributors" who can be tapped into in real time. They are able to see the situation in real-time, in context and with trust on what they seeing, and can then apply their own experience to enabling the decision. This again needs new thinking in how to enable, and culture to work in teams.
While this is not new to this blog it was good to continue to validate as I traveled, driving the energy needed to create potential solutions for this space.  

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Operations Innovation & Transformation – Fleet Management

We saw the expansion of control system, operation system extending beyond the fall walls of plant(fixed plant), in mining, oil and Gas, and Food and Beverage, and a month into this year we have this trend growing. The challenge being placed is how can we bring, apply the same approach found on fixed plant to fleet, or mobile plant. This blog takes a look at the network of fleet management across plants, next week we need to move to mobile plant.
The 4 quadrants described in the article “Operations Innovation & Transformation – the 4 Types” positions the lower left quadrant as a strategy for using a “fleet” of physical assets in a new way.
In this quadrant, a group of similar industrial operations (2 or more) adapt their performance objectives, business processes and accompanying hiring and information strategies to optimize the “fleet”.  The move is to unifying the industrial enterprise over multiple sites (in groups or as a whole), with a more holistic view in terms of operating strategy and performance management.
This innovation can be limited by the distribution flexibility among the locations, but several corporations have achieved success with this.  One example is keeping most of the locations operating at a constant or “base” portion of the combined market demand, and using the more agile locations to deliver the “swing” or variable portion of the demand.  Another example is allowing all locations to serve their local markets without contribution from any other of the “fleet”, but they all adapt their operations to meet a shared performance objective, such as yield or efficiency.

A key method used to sustain this strategy is the increased automation of work.  This is a significant step beyond scorecards, dashboards or rigid workflows.  The following 2 examples show how real-time performance measures (different from traditional KPI’s) and proactive procedural automation sustain this differentiation:
  •  A “fleet” of similar industrial operations have some distribution flexibility so that they can deliver a portion of each other’s market demand.  Each operation delivery point and each operating shift for that segment are benchmarked with the others, and all delivery points and their shift performance carry a real-time performance score.  Some delivery points are more agile, and some operator shifts have fewer errors than others (quality, over/under delivering, reworks).

Coordinators (different industries have different names for this function) use workflows to negotiate upcoming changes in demand and the operating shift and the coordinators use the same visual demand, using a “tram line” display.  Information to the right of the center dashed line is forecast and planned.
  •          A “fleet” of similar industrial operations within a single location or nearby locations has distribution flexibility, but they only share in real-time benchmarking (such as efficiency) and online performance guidance.  The following is an example when all physical assets are used, with equal output at this point in time:
  • All of the physical assets share real-time benchmarking performance on efficiency and availability.  Now consider what can happen differently when supply or demand changes suddenly, such as an unplanned outage within the industrial operation or within a client’s operation:

In the left-hand diagram, losing capacity can cause all of the “fleet” to shut down, if fast and accurate guidance isn’t available and used to either import capacity (if feasible) or negotiate reductions in demand with one or more of the customers.
In the right-hand diagram, a client’s unplanned outage causes some or all of the “fleet” to operate in zones which might be unstable and trigger unplanned outages, if fast and accurate guidance isn’t available and used to either shut down one of the physical assets or export some of the product (at a discounted price).

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Composite Frameworks What are They, the shift to Model Driven vs Custom: How do they Play?

As we look at MES and Operational solutions the role of the consistent operational execution and experience is key to achieving operational consistency. No matter the product at the back end the "operational experience" must be role based and transverse the products in the back end, and transform the experience from application configuration to "task/activity" based experience.

Traditionally companies have built User Interfaces to an API, with the calls needed to execution actions and transactions; these have worked well especially within a plant. But a key to operational systems being effective and agile is their ability to adapt on a regular basis, this requires a sustainable and evolving system. This is especially important in form/ transaction activities where information is provided and where actions/ data input, and procedures  that need to be carried out. But the challengers of operational procedures:

  1. Operational Process cross-over functional domains and applications
  2. Lack of governance
  3. AgilityResponsive manufacturing business processes
  4. Increase the performance of their people assets
  5. Too much Custom Code, making it unmanageable and evolutionary
So like the Business System who started introduce BPM (Business Process Modeling) leading companies in the industrial space are looking and asking why they cannot apply the same techniques in the Industrial/ production sector.

There is no reason why not! Yes the time line is more real time, triggers are real-time, and we many roles with different time dimensions. But this also aligns with what the industrial world is very comfortable world with that of “stable in control loops” we do this in automation with feedback (information) and correction (actionable procedures), what we are looking at are “operational loops”.

Providing a graphical configuration environment for the capture and defining of operational process including the validation of data input, and guide actions, working inline with the user Interface/ forms etc. Providing a framework for building of reusable forms, and reusable procedures that can be managed as templates and standards to enforce consistent operational practices. Empowering the operational domain people to develop, evolve and manage their procedures.

Most of all empowering the different roles in the plant, that operational close loop moving to an “activity” centric system where information, and action is driven from a consistent operational model and practices.