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Manufacturing Analytics Summit 2014 Chicago: Day 2 Highlights

Highlights from the presentations by Analytics leaders from World Fuel Services, Vigilent Corporation, Caterpillar and SunEdison on day 2 of Manufacturing Analytics Summit 2014 in Chicago.

To keep up with the pace of development in modern business, it is essential to invest in more sophisticated and innovative manufacturing processes. Investment in analytics offers this opportunity as it allows organizations to streamline their manufacturing process, improve efficiency and reactivity to customer demand by utilizing real time data. For any company manufacturing its own products, this is an essential area to gain an advantage over competitors.

The Manufacturing Analytics 2014Manufacturing Analytics Summit (May 21 & 22, 2014) was organized by the Innovation Enterprise in Chicago, IL to bring together analytics leaders from manufacturing sector to share their success stories and key learning. The summit addressed the issues mentioned above and brought together business leaders who are implementing and experimenting with new analytical methods for manufacturing - driving remarkable improvements in their organizations. Executives at the forefront of analytics shared their innovative approaches, providing insight into how they have gained valuable information from raw data.

We provide here a summary of selected talks along with the key takeaways.

Highlights from Day 1

Here are highlights from Day 2 (Thursday, May 22, 2014):

Maurice PintoMaurice Pinto, Director, Global Operations, World Fuel Services delivered an interesting talk on "Collecting and Applying Logistics Analytics". He started his talk with explaining what does a simple transaction means from different perspectives - plain English, business, and logistics. Supply chain has a wide variety of data objects, all of which need to be collected efficiently in order to speak the common language of commerce.

Next, he demonstrated through an example how does crude oil supply chain data systems look like today, how it is slowly changing and how it will look into future; highlighting the increasing move towards cloud-based infrastructure. During data collection, it is important to provide alternatives for when it is difficult to collect certain data. Also, standards such as ISO, ANSI, IEEE or API (American Petroleum Institute) must be used to reduce data complexity and ease the integration of different systems. Next, object oriented thinking should be leveraged to design data architecture for managing all these supply chain objects.

Decentralize resources in order to unleash creativity and speed to market. Focus IT on the core value-add of managing data and connecting to internal/external systems. De-emphasize creation of front-end systems. Also, if a firm is not in the business of software development, simply outsource that work to focus on its key capabilities. Talking about execution, he noted that a product needs an imperfect 1.0 version to be released rapidly. Focus should be on passing the test of human intelligence and achieving the critical mass. In conclusion, he suggested that organizations should be careful to not kill innovation. Let the innovators be creative and then "organize" their innovation.

Curt WardCurt Ward, VP of Manufacturing and Quality, Vigilent Corporation gave an insightful talk on "Using Critical Metrics to Build a High Quality, Reliable & Globally Competitive US Based Supply Chain". When time to market, product innovation and quality are critical components of a company’s business strategy then the supply chain process and infrastructure must be established, monitored and measured to continuously improve. The challenge is to establish strong US based symbiotic relationships within a supply chain which are structured, aligned and mutually leveraged to achieve repeatable high product quality, quick turn product innovation.

Drawing upon his extensive supply chain experience, Curt suggested that it is far better to focus on Critical Few metrics rather than on Important Many metrics. He suggested the following metrics for maintaining an efficient and effective supply chain:
  1. Quality (product specification and ISO 9001 results)
  2. Total Cost (materials + labor + cost of quality)
  3. Schedule (reduce lead times and meet schedule)
  4. Issues Resolution (timely, proactive and complete)
  5. Partnership (partners should care about the total finished product, regardless of what part they make)

Kishan ChalumiuriKishan Chalumiuri, Senior Engineer, Caterpillar shared valuable suggestions based on his work on continuous improvement through technology in the heavy manufacturing industry, during his talk titled "Data Collection and Transformation – Video Analytics, Digital Manufacturing and Immersive Technology". Revamping factories and designing new products need considerable amount of data from factory.  However, majority of the existing data collection and transformation methods are expensive, time consuming and inconsistent.

In its pursuit to harness technology to meet these challenges, Caterpillar has developed various systems to collect and transform data using digital manufacturing and immersive technologies to support lean product and factory development. He described how his firm is doing low cost data collection using "GoPro" cameras. He also explained how digital manufacturing is addressing "Design for X" issues. Finally, he demonstrated how the above initiatives along with others are improving quality and velocity of facility design process through immersive technology.

Vinayak GuptaVinayak Gupta, Renewables and Technology Global Operations Executive, SunEdison introduced and explained the concept of OPPM (One Page Project Manager) in his talk "Driving Operational Strategy and Excellence Amidst Solar Chaos". New product initiatives (in Solar Energy industry) are plagued by a lot of challenges such as long customer qualification cycle, supply chain continuity, safety and long term reliability. He explained about the concept of OPPM (One Page Project Manager) defined in the book by Clark A. Campbell, and how he tweaked the OPPM concept to fit SunEdison needs (by defining deliverables and adding project metrics). Explaining the role of OPPMs, he mentioned that OPPMs set project boundaries for:
  • Temporary (timing) – In process activity
  • Actions (specific tasks)
  • Permanent (what deliverables must be met to “lock-in” the objective)
  • Result (what is the objective)

OPPMs help the project by clearly defining the objectives, limiting scope creeps, ensuring proper communication and thoroughly evaluating the results.