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A Clubhouse conversation on Industry Reimagined 2030

with Doug Berger, team leader and Nikunj Mehta, moderator

March 24, 2021


[Nikunj] Doug, start us off by providing background on the origins of Industry Reimagined 2030?


[Doug] As I engaged in the transformative potential of Industry 4.0, I started to think about the bigger picture. What are we up to? We are saying that Industry 4.0 is truly transformative. What would transformative look like on the ground, in terms of measurable outcomes at the level of society? While I am interested in transformative outcomes at the level of individual companies, Industry Reimagined 2030 was born out of exploration with a variety of thought leaders, influencers, policy experts about the overall declining state of U.S industry and how we will transform that.


I assert that today’s worldview of U.S. industry is one of ‘inevitable decline.’ Industry Reimagined 2030 invites us to stand in the future of 2030 where we have brought about a sea-change in U.S. Industry to a worldview of ‘vibrant opportunity.’ The measurable outcomes would be:

· $1 trillion dollars in additional manufacturing sector GDP

· 50,000 world class companies

· 5 million additional manufacturing jobs

· A 30% reduction in environmental footprint


[Nikunj] Why is setting 2030 the right time frame?


[Doug] If we think about what the world looked like in 2010 in terms of technology-enabled transformation, few would have predicted the way the world turned out ten years later on the commercial side of enterprise, in eCommerce, social media and the gig economy. In the year 2000-2009 we built the technology foundation and starting around 2010 transformation reached an inflexion point driven by the consumer. The consumer saw tremendous benefits in convenience, availability and having a personal voice. Vendors and suppliers created platforms and business models, previously unthinkable.


In the decade beginning 2010 we built industrial foundations with IIoT, artificial intelligence, digital sensors, data analytics to have the same transformative impact one decade later. Consumers and customers now demand exactly what they want when they want it. Geopolitical uncertainty demands new thinking on resiliency and risk management. These are the drivers over the next decade.


[Nikunj] Will this transformation happen with the same rapidity as previous technology generations?


[Doug] One of the factors holding us back is a technology-centric view of the world. If you stand in the shoes of a company executive, you are looking at cash flow, competitive advantage and long term company viability and you are in a strategic conversation. The way we have been speaking about technology is tactical not strategic. We have been talking technology that essentially focuses on capital utilization, using metrics such as OEE, % unplanned downtime, mean-time to repair. We have been looking at manufacturing as an asset constrained capability and that removing constraints will increase productivity. As it turns out that understanding is incorrect.


The data says that productivity is not directly a function of technology. Productivity is essentially a function of people and process. We have an imbalance that is holding us back. An imbalance between great advances in technology and not having modernized our management thinking and upskilled our workforce. Unfortunately, this imbalance is being propped up by technology vendors whose self-interest is to sell technology rather than focus on outcomes in cash flow, competitive advantage and in closing a customer’s strategic gaps-to-goals,.


[Nikunj] What is happening in our society to be able to achieve the bold objectives you are setting out to achieve?


[Doug] Earlier, I made the statement that we are living in a worldview, paradigm, zeitgeist of inevitable decline. The easy answer around U.S. industry is off-shore manufacturing. The easy answer for students graduating from high school is stay away from manufacturing. Those jobs are going away. The easy answer for education programs is there is insufficient demand for manufacturing related training. We are in a reinforcing, vicious cycle which must be reversed. Is there a future that could be a vibrant opportunity in all these areas? The answer is a resounding YES. However, inside the current worldview that vibrant future gets eroded very rapidly.


I like to use the William Gibson quote: “The future is happening now, it is just unevenly distributed.” We do not have to be futurists or visionaries. We just need to turn our attention to evidence that is present and amplify that message. That is where our collaboration with national organizations is gaining momentum. They realize that fragmented messaging is working against their larger aims for advancing U.S. industry and they see the advantages to synchronize and bring coherence. Part of the motivation for national organizations to participate in Industry Reimagined is that they want to cross the chasm to reach the mainstream 350,000 companies. 95% of companies are not being engaged by these wonderful national organizations.


The second thing is happening is making technology readily deployable to reach across the chasm to mainstream small and medium enterprises. We have the technology. We have, in the spirit of disruptive innovation, already reached the early adopters. Vendors are recognizing the opportunity is the next 100,000 mainstream customers. Today’s technology is relatively expensive and relatively complicated to install when you are a 50 person manufacturing company. Following the trajectory of disruptive innovations, it is predictable that the price point will rapidly decline, and the simplicity will exponentially improve.


In education, we have not created micro-modules that engage people in a learning modality that has them easily able to upskill themselves. There is the need for gamification and micro-certification.


The real gains will take place through forums where companies learn from one another. This is where the Manufacturing Extension Partnerships, Association for Manufacturing Excellence and Young President’s Organization excel in establishing cohort groups.


[Nikunj] Final thoughts?


[Doug] Standing in the future with 50,000 world class companies over the next 10 years, what do we have to bring to the party? We must be much more business outcome oriented in all our conversations and then consider a balanced approach among people-process-technology to achieve the outcome. What owners and executives invest in are projects that produce outcomes!

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