Digital technology

3 Ways to Spot a Winner

How do you identify success in the new Industrial Revolution?

Recently someone asked me what company is going to emerge as the winner as all of this new technology infiltrates manufacturing. The question is a bit too broad to answer with any value, but I put together the following to try and find some general answer that might offer insight.

Look for employers using technology to work with people. Manufacturers will need to adopt new digital technology, but many will fail. Watch for companies that are following good engineering fundamentals. At the recent LiveWorx event, I offered a simple DMADVV process presented in a who, what, where, when, how format to start and continue a digital manufacturing plan. This QC code will take you to a DropBox where you can download a free template to start a digital manufacturing plan, or click here. However, the point was winners will use the data employees already have in their heads and communicate with them to find what technology will amplify and promote their work.  

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 Spot the difference and similarities. For example, I’ve heard from multiple companies that no one else offers generative design like theirs does, but so far companies are still exploring this so it is hard to tell specific differences. I’ve heard the same about simulation based on real world data points. While Siemens might tell a story about using digital twins to build a production line, PTC might talk about using it for augmented training and maintenance, and Dassault Systems might tell a story that is focused in a specific vertical such as medical. This shows the large reach of these tech companies to solve everything, but each narrative may signify where they are leaning and focused.

Additionally, many companies are partnering with others. I see giants such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon partnering with multiple large companies and organizations to form consortiums. This signifies a trend that will continue to blur lines between competitor and partner.

Watch for success in groups. Mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships blur the lines of where one company stops and another begins. As digital technology grows I expect to see more of this trend. Eventually, companies with the best contracts (and potentially lawyers) will be the ones who come out on top. If companies don’t play well with others, or can’t negotiate a flexible, open-source, collaborative future, that company might not have much of one.

Ultimately, it will not be the strongest or fastest companies or technologies that win, but those able to adapt the fastest to the current and future environments. The future of manufacturing will require less people for greater production. This will be done through digital tools that authentically communicate and amplify people’s abilities.  

The QR code above is to a DropBox with a free downloadable Digital Manufacturing Template. The QR code below is if you are interested in signing up for any MachineDesign.com newsletters.

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