Creating a Path To Stability And Reliability
You could hear the crickets after James Newman, Augury’s Head of Product and Portfolio Marketing at Augury, asked an audience of manufacturers if anyone “knew 100% how their business is going to be in 18 months”.
No hands are raised. And indeed, today’s manufacturer faces a daunting list of uncertainties – including workforce shortages, supply chain disruptions, asset downtime, production losses, an invigorated focus on sustainability, and the race to Net Zero.
However, during the North American Manufacturing Excellence Summit (NAMES) on May 2, 2023 in Fort Worth, Texas, James offered a path forward on facing these challenges – including how to “Bridge the Chasm” between endless pilot purgatory and scaling a value- and AI-driven digital solution across all your sites.
As James put it: “We’re here to tell you how Production Health enables companies to solve operational problems for the machines and processes they use to create products, transform the way their people work, and drive bottom line value across multiple business objectives – and doing this all at the same time.”
Avoiding That Plane Crash
James was joined by Nick Ott who is the Director of IT and CSP at Canfor, a world leading manufacturer of wood products. Nick talked about how his company could address their challenges around having too much unplanned downtime by partnering with Augury.
In fact, Nick had come to this very same event two years earlier to specifically find a company that did what Augury does. As a pilot, he owns a small 50-year-old plane. And in the name of avoiding some fatal unplanned downtime, he monitors the engine, downloads the data and shared this with a specialist company for analysis.
11X ROI In A Year – And More
“At one point it hit me. How is it that a company can do that on a 50-year-old engine, but yet we don’t have that same kind of insight into our multimillion-dollar pieces of equipment?” recalls Nick. “And when I had the opportunity to talk with some folks from Augury, I came to understand they offered a similar kind of platform.”
“And today, we’re heading to the year anniversary of the first pilot,” says Nick. “In that year, we had an 11-time return on investment. Plus, we’ve been able to scale the program across 20 sites over the last 18 months.”
For Nick, a key to success was having a partner that was hands-on for the full digital transformation journey. “When we looked at similar technology in the past, we couldn’t find someone that provided everything from the sensors to the platform to the AI – not to mention the support for our teams, not only to get the data, but to interpret it and give suggestions on what to do to prevent downtime issues.”
And while unplanned downtime dropped dramatically as hoped, Nick also saw additional benefits for the workers in terms of increased safety and improved work-life balance. “It’s not only improving the production but the day-to-day.”
The Pragmatics Of Transformation
After Nick gives some boots-on-the-ground advice on how to adapt innovation to the factory floor, the session concludes with series of pragmatic questions from an obviously engaged audience, such as:
- How do you create buy-in across an organization – from C-Suite to the maintenance team?
- What are some concrete steps you can take to inspire IT and OT to work more closely together?
- What are the specific benefits of having cross-functional teams?
- What are the next steps when continuing one’s digital transformation journey?
As James concluded: “Well, this was certainly a great way to kick off the day.”