How Dave is Running Digital Transformation Projects December 2020 edition
My preferred method of Digital Transformation work is with partnerships.
Typically this is with an existing service provider that has been doing a really good job at a facility and is looking to help lead their customer into the 21st century and beyond. Additionally, I will pull in other experts as the situation deems necessary.
No one is best in world at everything. The next generation of transformational projects will come from groups of world class experts.
What does Digital Transformation mean to you?
When I’m contacted directly by a facility, I want to understand what this transformational process means to them. Growing up I always asked a lot of questions. At some point I realized that some of the questions I asked where really good and got people to open up. It’s this lesson that I lean on when I start the baseline discussion What does “Transformational Process” mean to “Current Facility”.
Why do I ask these questions? Because I’ve learned that they vary widely.
When we’re talking about Digital Transformation online, everyone can be an expert. Everyone can have an opinion. There’s a huge difference when we get to the point of actually building a strategy and implementing it.
My goal has alway been to bring a phased approach to this process, similar to agile development, so we can provide the best ROI, enact as much change as possible in the immediacy.
See Digital Transformation Quick Start Guide.
Remember there are real people who are working in these facilities everyday.
We need to remember the goal is to leave these people in a much better position that the one we found them in.
This is where practical solutions becomes significantly more important than rigid “Industry Standard” solutions.
For instance if we need to add another Process Historian Server so the Operations and Business pieces of the business can access from their desks and not be forced to walk to an HMI on the floor. That is going to make a huge difference.
It is a text book Industry 4.0 solution? Nope.
Will it make people’s life easier and provide a huge amount of growth potential by unleashing the data? Yes.
When I’m brought in by a partner, we typically have an idea and a direction that we want to start. If there are capacity, quality, or waste issues many times we’ll start by looking at an MES (Manufacturing Execution System) implementation. Without fail, this always leads to more questions, more ideas, and the collaboration between the group leads to larger transformational “where do we want to go” conversations.
Once we start a process, can show quick success, can show ROI, show how profitable these changes become, then the conversation moves from one day we would like to go through this transformation to how quickly can we start?
Again, this has to be the goal of any group working on transformation. Pay for the phases as we go forward. Continue to pay for our own projects.
Move from being a cost center to a profitable business unit for the company.
Bring in Experts
No one is best in world at everything. There are just too many areas and disciplines to do more than scratch the surface. I certainly don’t pretend to be the only one doing the work.
My super power is knowing who to call. I can roadmap and help lead the implementation team. What you don’t want is me trying to retrofit a DCS to an ABB 800xA, while layering over an OSIsoft PI system as your process historian, using Augmented Reality goggles, and integrating the whole thing with a Microsoft Office 365 suite that we’re using both as Business, but also the operations backend with the goal of Azure as our cloud AI/ML system. This should be 3 or 4 groups that care about the outcome, coming together for one goal.
Relying on experts should be the goal to make sure that we get the systems set up correctly, we get the most out of the systems, and are able to continue to leverage those in the future.
No one has all the answers.
No one is an expert at everything.
By leveraging groups with their core competencies as part of the whole project, we set ourselves up for success.
If you want to know more about how I work or how this workflow works please feel free to reach out Dave@Capelin.io or give me a call (716) 725.9305
If you’re interested in know more of my thoughts on Digital Transformation, please check out the topic.