Industry 4.0 Tools
August 17th, 2022
46 mins 27 secs
About this Episode
Augmented reveals the stories behind the new era of industrial operations, where technology will restore the agility of frontline workers.
In episode 27 of the podcast (@AugmentedPod), the topic is: Industry 4.0 Tools and Analytics. Our guest is Carl B. March, Director, Industry 4.0 at Stanley Black & Decker.
In this conversation, we talk about what industry 4.0 means, the importance of upskilling the entire manufacturing industry, and the lessons from Stanley Black & Decker's digital transformation journey.
After listening to this episode, check out Stanley Black & Decker (@StanleyBlkDeckr): https://www.stanleyblackanddecker.com/ as well as Carl B. March's profile on social media: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carlbmarch/
You may want to also be aware of the 'Israel meets New England' smart manufacturing event on June 9 and its organizers, the Israeli Trade Mission and Amhub New England:
- The New England Advanced Manufacturing Hub (AMHUB NE): https://mfg.works/amhub/amhub-new-england/
- The Government of Israel’s Economic Mission to North America: https://embassies.gov.il/washington/AboutTheEmbassy/Pages/Economic-Mission.aspx#:
- ISRAEL meets NEW ENGLAND: Advanced Manufacturing in Factories and Workplace: https://mfg.works/israel-meets-new-england/
Trond's takeaway: Industry 4.0 requires a mindset shift, not just technology adoption. It's not just about you--whether you in this case is a big company or a top leader--rather, it is about bringing people, partners, SMEs, and the entire ecosystem along. To do so openness to learn, having a strategic roadmap so not chase all shiny objects, and investing in lighthouse factories that can illuminate the possibilities are each important ingredients.
Thanks for listening. If you liked the show, subscribe at Augmentedpodcast.co or in your preferred podcast player, and rate us with five stars. If you liked this episode, you might also like episode 20, The Digitalization of Körber, episode 14, Bottom up and Deep Digitization of Operations, and episode 9, The Fourth Industrial Revolution post-COVID-19.
Augmented--upskilling the workforce for industry 4.0 frontline operations.
TROND: Augmented reveals the stories behind a new era of industrial operations, where technology will restore the agility of frontline workers.
In Episode 27 of the podcast, the topic is Industry 4.0 Tools and Analytics. Our guest is Carl B. March, Director Industry 4.0 at Stanley Black & Decker.
In this conversation, we talk about what industry 4.0 means, the importance of upskilling the entire manufacturing industry, and the lessons from Stanley Black & Decker's digital transformation journey.
Augmented is a podcast for leaders hosted by futurist Trond Arne Undheim, presented by Tulip.co, the frontline operations platform, and associated with MFG.works, the manufacturing upskilling community launched at the World Economic Forum. Each episode dives deep into a contemporary topic of concern across the industry and airs at 9:00 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time, every Wednesday.
Augmented — the industry 4.0 podcast.
Carl, how are you today?
CARL: I'm doing great, Trond. Good to see you.
TROND: Yeah, this is fantastic. We've spent a lot of time together, Carl. We've gotten to know each other. This industry 4.0 is bringing us together.
CARL: Quite a bit. And there's so much going on in this space, especially here in New England. So it's an exciting time.
TROND: Yeah, for sure. Carl, I wanted to talk a little bit about you and your background. You're an engineer. And now you're deeply steeped in industry 4.0. Maybe I'll just ask that question, why did you become an engineer? And how did you end up where you are right now? Was it an obvious path for you? Or did you always want to go into manufacturing?
CARL: I guess from the beginning, I was always a tinkerer, so just growing up and hanging around mechanical equipment, my desire was always to break and fix. [laughs] So eventually, I got wind of a teacher who, in fact, was my music teacher. And he asked me what did I want to do? I said I wanted to break and fix equipment and all of these things. And he said, "Well, you want to be a mechanical engineer." [laughs] So I kept that with me from maybe nine years old, and that's the path I went. Eventually, I did my first degree in mechanical engineering. And then eventually, I did an automotive systems engineering graduate degree.
TROND: Wow. And so then, in the beginning, you were headed for the automotive industry.
CARL: Yeah, yeah. It was always a desire around cars. So my father had all the cars that needed to be fixed. And where I'm from, we're in the Caribbean. I'm from Jamaica originally. It was one of those luxuries that you had where you just dispose of your vehicles once they start giving some problems. So we fixed the cars. [laughs] That's what we had to do.
TROND: [laughs] So you ended up with a bunch of cars then, not just fixing them, but you ended up with a bunch that are not used.
CARL: [laughs] Exactly. And taking parts from one and putting on the other. [laughs]
TROND: That's funny. That's funny. Well, so you did that for a while. And you were in automotive, which is an exciting field in and of itself. And then you went into consulting for a bit as well. So you've done a little bit of that.
CARL: And so the interesting thing is once I did my first degree, which was mechanical engineering, I had the opportunity to start working in the manufacturing environment. And I actually started off in mining and refining. So I was in alumina refining for a while, and then I went back and did the automotive degree. And then, coming out of that, it was the wonderful time in Detroit where everything was a bit uncertain. So though I started off in automotive there, after that degree, I went back to my roots of reliability engineering, which is more along the lines of operational excellence in the manufacturing environment.
TROND: You know, it's kind of fascinating today because automotive has gone full circle.
CARL: Yes, it really has.
TROND: It's like, nobody...who would have guessed [laughs] that automotive was going to go from glory days to, like, it's all over to a renaissance of mobility?
CARL: I've gotten the opportunity to observe that, especially as a consultant, as I eventually went into consulting. More than half of my 20-plus years in manufacturing has been in the consulting space. So, while consulting, that's where I really started to see many sectors, from the very advanced sectors in aerospace and automotive down to what we call base materials, which is going back to the dirt, the mining and refining pieces. And just seeing the range of technology adoption across all fields as it relates to operational excellence was an eye opener for me.
And when I think about this topic of industry 4.0 which really it's not an old topic. It really came about in 2011 or so, which was the mid of my consulting career. And that's when I made a pivot in my consulting, where I started to focus a lot more on the technology enablement within these respective spaces.
TROND: Well, let's dig deeper into it. Because you're indeed, you know, you're with Stanley Black & Decker. You run a lot of their industry 4.0 activities, especially on the analytics and the value stream side. But let's get into the topic more because, as you said, 2011 is not a long time ago. And I hear industry 4.0, by the way, seems to be more of a European term than an American term. Here it’s like smart manufacturing because manufacturing is the main thing. But at Stanley, you guys somehow chose the international term industry 4.0. Why don't you, for the benefit of all of us, just tell us how you define it? What is --
CARL: So industry 4.0 is this terminology referring to the fourth industrial revolution. So it stems back to the first industrial revolution having to do with mass production and steam being used as a driver. Then eventually, it went into the second, where we started to get some computers in the space and started to be able to take advantage of some of those things. The third having to do more with automation. So we started to put a lot more robots and robotics within the manufacturing space.
And interestingly, then we started to do a little bit more sensorization. But in the 2011 or 2010 period of time, that's when we started to make a lot of advances in big data, cyber-physical systems. So that's where those applications started to come into the manufacturing environment, AI, artificial intelligence, anything related to analytics in the manufacturing environment. That's where we're starting to consider the industry 4.0.
And one other thing, there are probably three main elements that differentiate the fourth industrial revolution from its predecessors; one is vertical integration. Vertical integration is what we call from the top floor to the shop floor. You're able to pass data back and forth and get information on what's happening at any given time, at whatever level it is in your production process.
The second is horizontal integration. And that's where you start to look across your value chain. So you're looking at data coming from your supplier, and data coming from your customer, and data within your own manufacturing environment.
And then the third one is integrated product lifecycle. So this is one of the most interesting pieces of industry 4.0 in that you're actually getting feedback, even though the customer doesn't even know you're getting that feedback. And you're getting feedback into your product lifecycle and your product design. And you're designing it to manufacture well, and you're designing it to basically fulfill the purpose of the end consumer, so all of that feedback loop that's taking place there. And what enables it is a part of what we refer to as industry 4.0.
TROND: That's super interesting. And can you comment a little bit on how that translates then into Stanley Black & Decker's digital transformation journey? Because, arguably, and I meant to have it here, I have, you know, I have a bunch of tools in my arsenal. [laughs] I might actually run and go get that. But they weren't always digital; mine happens to be battery operated. And hopefully, I can run and get it in a second; I really wanted it in this tape.
But it has been a journey for you as well, and I guess it's a continuing journey because sensors and all that stuff take quite a bit to transform an entire kind of suite of products into a set of connected arguably industry 4.0 tools. So I'm curious, where would you say you guys are in that transformation process?
And how ready is the world for a fully sensorized reality where everything is connected? I guess the maximal vision of industry 4.0, which is this idea of industrial Internet of Things where everything is starting to connect and yield analytics. Because you took the...these are also difficult things to do, right? The vertical integration, all of these things are difficult. But this full vision, we are a step away from that so far, this full sensorization.
CARL: Yeah, it has not all become a reality as yet. And as you can imagine, the maturity is going to be different depending on the sector, the industry that you're dealing with. But if I was to look back for a second on the journey that we've had at Stanley Black & Decker, I joined the company maybe about three years ago when we made a very interesting pivot in the way that we were approaching industry 4.0. I'll speak on that in a second.
But prior to that point in time, Stanley Black & Decker has always been an innovator in this space. We do make tools, and we're the number one tools company in the world. But we also serve a lot of our other businesses, automotive and aerospace, in particular, in providing fasteners, et cetera. And as a result of this diversity, it made sense for a company like ours with 100-plus sites to be able to start working in smart manufacturing.
And the process was that there were a couple of chosen sites that were given a bit more license to integrate industry 4.0 elements within their four walls, and they were referred to as lighthouse factories. So it was very decentralized, not very organized from the standpoint of having certain standards that would scale well. And this is where we started to see a lot of productivity gains, efficiencies within those sites.
Then in 2017, we did a study internally and determined that let's go after this in the right way, which is to organize ourselves to have a program. And as a result of organizing this program, that's where I came in as one of the first few hires within the program to centralize what we're doing. And then, I ended up leading our analytics value stream. We also had value streams related to connected factory, automation, et cetera. And that's where we started to go after it in the right way.
And I think as a result of that, the gains that we've had and the learnings that we've had over the past three years have been tremendous. And if you compare this to the typical approach, especially that I've seen in my consulting years, is that there's a term that was coined by either McKinsey or the World Economic Forum, I can't remember now, called the pilot's purgatory.
A lot of companies I observed they'll start something. They'll start one use case here, another use case there, nothing linked. And they'll do some form of pilot, but it never scales. It would fizzle out in some way. Somebody would move on from one role to the next. The interest isn't there. So, as a result of that, they will continuously stay in the same place, and there will be no roadmap for movement.
TROND: And how do you avoid that destiny of the pilot purgatory? There are many theories on how to do that. And I would say probably every manager of some seniority would say, "Yeah, yeah, I know about that issue, and we don't have that issue here." [laughter]
CARL: But if we're honest with ourselves, it's very easy to fall into pilot purgatory because, first of all, it is very easy to move after the first shiny object or the next shiny object that catches our eye. That's just the way human nature is. One of the things that we've learned is the value of having a strategic roadmap and especially related to industry 4.0. So one of the things that I'm currently working on with our small to medium size enterprises, small to medium-sized manufacturers is we're trying to enable them with two things, one is to assess yourselves.
And we are currently using a framework from Singapore called SIRI, which is Smart Industry Readiness Index. We're making that available to our small to medium-sized enterprises for us to work with them on assessing where are you with respect to these 16 dimensions of industry 4.0? And you don't need to be at the very top band for any one of these, really. You need to look at where you are with respect to peers, with respect to the best practices, and with respect to where you need to be to meet your business objectives. So once we do the assessment, we are able to filter that out in terms of what should be prioritized on the strategic roadmap.
The second thing that we're offering is given what we've done so far; we have a wealth of experience in this space as well as what we've gathered in terms of partners who have been giving us use cases that can apply to these 16 dimensions. We're then able to work with the manufacturer to specify this is what your roadmap should look over the next three to five years if that's your planning horizon.
You focus on these elements first, these dimensions first, but more specifically, these specific use cases. And these use cases are foundational. These use cases will provide you with some return that will help to fund the rest of your program, et cetera. So I think those two things between the assessment and having a strategic roadmap are critical enablers to avoiding this pilot purgatory.
TROND: That's fantastic. We'll talk a little more about SIRI hopefully later because it relates to the work you and I are doing with the World Economic Forum and our AMHUB network. And we are hoping to bring it in really to play in New England, you know, across the sector. But before we get to that, I wanted to ask you a couple of questions about this physical manufacturing 4.0 facility where I believe you actually work out of sometimes in Hartford, this, I guess, 23,000 square foot center.
So it's a physical kind of advanced manufacturing center like its own little kind of demo factory and training center also, I guess, for your smart factory initiatives. How did that get started? Well, it's the middle of a pandemic. But what do you intend to use it for? And what were you using it for before the pandemic? Because I'm assuming you've had a quiet period like all of us.
CARL: Yes, we have. We've had quite a quiet period over the past year and some. But in 2019, we opened the space, and what we actually did...I'm referring back to when we started to go about this in a different way in 2017. We had one of our...well, our key leader Sudhi Bangalore was, brought in from the outside to lead this program. And he was named the VP of our industry 4.0. Since then, he's been also named as CTO for global operations.
But this was one of Sudhi's visions in that we would not only have the team to do this industry 4.0 enablement in a standardized and centralized way, but we would also have an innovation space that you can physically touch, feel, experience the elements of industry 4.0 all the way from automation. So you'll see the robotics. You'll see the automated mobile robots. You will see the automated conveyors, the machine centers all of these things, as well as data flowing back and forth and analytics being displayed.
All these things were intended to be experienced because within our own factory and network; the expectation was that some of what we'll be trying to get to our sights would be new. And we wanted to make sure that individuals, especially plant leaders, would be able to come in and really feel and experience what good looks like.
At the same time, it was also a vision of our CEO as well as our CFO to use the space within Hartford, and Hartford was chosen as a location for a specific reason because we wanted to work with the city. We wanted to work with the state around making Hartford some central innovation hub for New England and hopefully the nation. So that's where this space came into being. And we had a grand opening in April of 2019. So it was always intended for us internally, but it was always intended for the public in a measured way to be able to come in and experience it.
And then finally, I'd probably say that in terms of what we're thinking going forward, we hope to get back into the space sometime soon. We hope to obviously reopen to manufacturers in the region. But then we also want to be able to utilize more of our partners as well, our technology partners, so that they too can show some of their solutions in the space as well.
TROND: It's so important, I think, to emphasize that technology...well, because of the danger in the shiny objects that you just addressed before that, it is precisely for that reason because when you have this experiential sense of what the technology can accomplish, and on the shop floor, there is so much of that right? Robots. It's very visual and tactile. You can clearly much more easily see how you could adopt it. So it sounds quite important to have a demo factory like that.
TROND: What do you think is the path forward? So you said you guys are engaging with a bunch of different actors that are not your obvious partners. You're engaging with SMEs in a deeper way than before. You have startup engagements but at a very early stage with the STANLEY+Techstars Accelerator. So you're engaging with organizations that are very different than the mothership. Why do you have such a distributed strategy?
CARL: So, I think a lot of this comes from the innovative culture that we live in. We recognize that innovation comes from many places, disparate sources. And we recognize that we won't know everything. We don't know everything. And especially when we're trying to break new ground, we need to be able to tap into all the resources that we can in order to do so and in a relatively efficient but also agile and quick way.
So a couple of years, probably also coinciding with the 2017 time period, we started working with a group called Techstars. And as some might know, Techstars is an international organization that basically incubates relatively new startups and helps them along the way. And there's some partial investment, generally, with the program. But our first round of investments in Techstars was companies that were focused on additive manufacturing.
The current round, which was just completed maybe a few weeks ago, a couple of weeks ago, had cohorts that were related to artificial intelligence, analytics mostly. And we had a couple of robotics ones in there as well, local robots, which all of this is really to ensure that we're able to keep our pulse on everything that's going on.
So to your earlier question about the shiny object, noticing the shiny object is not a bad thing because you have to keep your pulse on what's going on. And as people innovate and as more and more people enter the space and as more things are democratized and commoditized, you want to make sure that you're able to pull in what's needed at any given time.
So that's what we've been trying to do in different ways within our industry 4.0 program, specifically within our Techstars program. And then, we also have another group called Stanley Ventures, which also directly invests in some startups as well. So we're doing it on multiple fronts.
TROND: That's interesting. I wanted to get into the learning aspect. And maybe the humbling part here is both for you and I, and I'll speak for myself, but we're expected to both be experts on industry developments and then simultaneously be evangelists for the same, which is sort of to intermix roles in industry always. But it's complicated. How do you feel like you are able to stay on top of all these things?
Because it's one thing as a company, as Stanley, to have all these investments to have all these things available, theoretically, that you could pull from. But then, now as an individual, I just wanted to address how you, just to take that as an example, how do you engage? Because you and I are both engaged, and we're supposed to be those leaders. And we are building networks that we'll get into in a second that are helping us do that.
But how do you reflect around your own ability to cut this balance between looking at all the shiny objects, making sure you don't miss any of them, and then advising not only your company and implementing stuff but then also being an advisor to the general ecosystem about what is worth looking at and where are things in the maturity scale to keep everything kind of calibrated?
CARL: Yeah, and it can be difficult. And that's where we have to strike a balance. When we started off our program, we recognized that we couldn't build everything internally. So we had to rely on a robust partner ecosystem, probably having somewhere close to 30-plus different partners doing any one given thing at any one time. And then the learning that we got from that was that as a result of that, we were able to get further quicker. We were able to understand a little bit more about the space and what's truly revolutionary and what isn't.
And then we've recognized over time that we still have to have some portion of our time still spent evaluating what's new and coming out. We're able to do that because we are organized in a way to do that, and we have processes around that. And we have individuals who are more focused on innovation versus deployment. And we're probably able to do that because we're a larger company. And this is just how we're set up. Now, the concern that we have for manufacturing, in general, is that the majority of the space is made up of small to medium size enterprises, which don't have this luxury. They have very few individuals.
TROND: I mean, it's just not possible.
CARL: It's not possible for them to do it, which is why we've made the pivot and said to ourselves if we're trying to uplift the entire system, and as they say, a rising tide lifts all boats, right? If we're to uplift the entire manufacturing sector and manufacturing ecosystem, we need to focus on those who make up the majority of it, which is 95%-plus small to medium-sized enterprise.
And we can filter through some of the noise for them. And how we do that is provide a consolidated technology map against a framework so that they don't have to go through the filtering and figuring out what's good, what's not, how much is this going to be worth to me, et cetera. Because we've actually done some of that on our own. And then we just provide to them that based on where you are and your dimensions that you need to focus on, these are the four or five use cases for that specific dimension.
Now, let's talk through and filter. Let's cut to the chase here; how much will this be worth to you? What will be the return on your investment based on what this costs and based on what it will give back to you in terms of impact value? And I think being able to assist in that way I think is critical to getting everyone else a bit more involved in industry 4.0.
TROND: Yeah, and to that point, you and I are both engaged in...so one of those 30 partners, I'm assuming you would count the World Economic Forum as part of those. And you and I are both engaged in the advanced manufacturing platform there and a bunch of initiatives.
TROND: We're not going to cover all of those, but there's one in particular that you and I are responsible for here in New England, which is the Advanced Manufacturing Hub, which is a global network of organizations which were the forum itself, which also started out with a centralized organization of the largest firms. So the likes of Stanley Black & Decker in all fields have realized a version of the same thing that you were saying that if the entire world of industry is going to really take up industry 4.0, they also need to work in a distributed way.
And these networks that we have joined in with...well, maybe you could just give your version. What do you think AMHUB New England is and should be doing? And what are some of the things you are excited about that we are starting to launch here? Because it's very new. It got picked up last year, launched under the worst [laughs] possible conditions during a pandemic. I mean, launch a social network during a pandemic, and you will realize what a tricky task is. But anyway, we're in year two. We're into it. There's still a pandemic, and we're doing some virtual events. What are you excited about? AMHUB New England, what is it to you?
CARL: I think the wonderful thing about the network is that we're not the first ones going at this. This is an ever-expanding network within the World Economic Forum. And everyone knows the World Economic Forum like you said, is a collection of all the leaders of the top companies. And then we're focused on the manufacturing space. So we're talking about the top manufacturers in the world coming together and trying to figure this out.
And the Advanced Manufacturing Hubs, I think we're probably close to 13 or so now in the network. It changes numbers every now and again, but we're not the first, and we've definitely had the opportunity to learn from some of our predecessors. We've had others in the U.S. that have been at this for a couple of years before we have that we're learning how they've integrated with public organizations, so integrated with the county and the state and non-profit institutions in the region to be able to go after their objectives. So that's one of the things that we're obviously trying to do: bring public organizations and get them involved along with the private.
We've also recognized, and I think we've had a passion within our own group here around upskilling. We recognize that this is a critical factor for enabling manufacturing in our region. We need to not only deploy and get new technologies, but we also need to upskill our workforce to meet the demands of these new technologies in our environment. So from my perspective, Trond, we have a lot of work to do.
We, fortunately, have a lot of manufacturers, most of them small, within the region who are interested who are enthusiastic about what the path ahead of us looks like. And I think within the next couple of months, or next few months, as we continue to engage that community, we will be able to provide them with more opportunities to upskill and get to where they need to be with respect to their workforce.
TROND: Yeah, and it's fascinating. I mean, you said the World Economic Forum has a bunch of related activities. But it's also true, and I just interviewed someone (That's a podcast episode that's actually coming out this morning.) who's on the panel that you are on, Michael Tamasi, as well so about manufacturing in New England. Because clearly, there's an established network and ecosystem here already we're building on. And this happens, I think, in all of the New England states and Connecticut, for sure. You and I have been engaging with some of the actors there. There are trade associations. There are state and federally-funded organizations like the MEP system and various other kinds of manufacturing networks.
So from my point of view, it's not substituting for all of this. It's just partnering with all of them and just trying to join the efforts that they're already doing but from the perspective of a global picture. So it's getting, hopefully, if we succeed, the best of breed essentially making sure that all of the activities that we are putting on make local sense here in New England, showcase New England, so there's a showcasing aspect of this, and we have a lot I think to be proud of.
I mean, there's Stanley Black & Decker, clearly a behemoth really in industrial tech and in the manufacturing sector worldwide, but there are a lot of other companies also startups contributing and making headway, and then we have a lot to learn.
I wanted to maybe just discuss for a second this event that we're putting on in June here on Israel meets New England. What do you think is the attraction of having two regions meet? So, in this case, it's Israeli startups. But in other events, we might bring in, like you said, the SIRI folks from Singapore who you're working with to measure progress and benchmark in the field, or we could collaborate with even with Michigan, which is another major, major U.S. manufacturing hub. Or it could be Italy or Spain and many of the other networks that exist worldwide. What do you think the attraction is to gain that kind of regional cohesion?
CARL: I think over time, we've recognized that gone are the days when we think innovation is restricted to a particular country or a region or anything like that. I think we're very much aligned on the fact that technology and innovation in the industry 4.0 space is not restricted. So it makes sense that when we think about sharing of best practices that, we go all over the world, and that's part of the reason why if you think about the World Economic Forum, it has a global network of advanced manufacturing hubs.
Each hub may focus a little bit differently on slightly different topics. Some will overlap, but they are also tapping into the expertise and the ideas from their local regions with the intent that we will go across regions and share with each other.
So this upcoming event, I think, is a wonderful one sponsored by the Advanced Manufacturing Hub here in that it's allowing us to see a couple of...or have a conversation with a couple of innovators from another region, and in this situation, it's Israel. But in the future, we will use other regions as well to bring them in, hear a little bit more about what they've been working on, what has been important in their region, which might be slightly different from us, and then have a bit of discourse between us around what the future holds for technology and innovation in general.
TROND: Well, let me profit from that segue into the future. What is next for you in the digital factory? And what does the next decade look like for you in terms of, I guess, your own business-connected industrial tools, perhaps? You're very, very engaged with the networks and the maker movement. And broadly, your thoughts in industrial tech and where that's heading, and maybe even some comment on this upskilling challenge that you mentioned, I mean, what will happen to all of these things?
It's a mixed bag of challenges that they're all somewhat related. You can't have progress in technology without the skilled labor force and all that stuff, and somewhat dependent on technology development. But what do you see happening here? Are we entering at least at the very least a decade where manufacturing will leap forward somewhat faster than it has done before? Will it start to change this impression that manufacturing is hard and difficult and we're dealing with a slow-moving kind of system? Or do you see that that's going to still be the case?
CARL: I'm quite optimistic. I think based on what I've seen at least in the past three years, I think, the way that manufacturing has moved, it gives me optimism that there will be a significant leap in what we're doing going forward. It took a little bit of time, as I said, from 2011 till about maybe 2016-2017, for people to start to really gain a certain amount of interest and get past a bit of skepticism.
At this point, there are enough proven use cases across the board that individual companies and individuals recognize that this is not just a shiny new object or fly-by-night use case. These are things that are here to stay and will be critical to business going forward. So I think as a result of that, first of all, there will be quite a bit of acceleration of efforts.
The second thing is we decry the pandemic and its effects and everything else. But I have to say that there are certain mindsets that have been shifted as a result of the experience. There's more of a need and interest around being able to monitor your remote operations. So now people are more interested in connectivity than there were before. They're more interested in insights and analytics than they were before. Because now they can't necessarily be by the machine, by the production process, by the production line 24/7 or 24 hours a day. But instead, they can benefit from all of these technologies that will allow them to get the most out of their equipment.
They also recognize how important the workforce is. We always decry automation has taken away jobs, but I'll say no; in fact, the studies that have been done show that those who lead in innovation actually also have an uptick in workforce of some 50% instead of the opposite, which is what the myth would typically tell you. So all of these things coming together, I think, will help us move forward quicker going forward.
And then the third piece that I will mention finally is around upskilling going forward. It's absolutely critical that we upskill our workforce. In the U.S. for many years, and we've seen the charts and the data around the amount of retiring workers in the manufacturing sector, so we have a lot of skills and knowledge that will be leaving manufacturing and have already left.
So to replace those individuals, we need individuals of the younger demographic who will, one, come in with knowledge of processes. But the ones that are coming in they're not interested in our grandfather's factory. They're more interested in what can I do differently in this space with the use of technology and innovation to do twice as much work in half as much time? Which is a good thing. We want them to come in with that mindset. And I think with the advancements in technologies; we will be able to do that.
But what would be critical is to be able to upskill them, give them the right skill sets around these technologies, around the production processes as well as there's going to be a tremendous amount of marketing and PR to get folks interested in manufacturing. Because manufacturing is a very exciting sector. It's buzzing, and it actually has quite a lot of open jobs, frankly, that need to be filled, but we need to upskill individuals to fill those jobs.
TROND: You have just listened to Episode 27 of the Augmented Podcast with host Trond Arne Undheim. The topic was Industry 4.0 Tools and Analytics. Our guest is Carl B. March, Director of Industry 4.0 at Stanley Black & Decker. In this conversation, we talked about what industry 4.0 means, the importance of upskilling the entire manufacturing industry, and the lessons from Stanley Black & Decker's digital transformation journey.
My takeaway is that industry 4.0 requires a mindset shift, not just technology adoption. It's not just about you, whether you, in this case, is a big company or a top leader; rather, it is about bringing people, partners, SMEs, and the entire ecosystem along. To do so, openness to learn, having a strategic roadmap so not chase all shiny objects and investing in lighthouse factories that can illuminate the possibilities are each important ingredients.
Thanks for listening. If you liked the show, subscribe at augmentedpodcast.co or in your preferred podcast player, and rate us with five stars. If you liked this episode, you might also like Episode 20: The Digitalization of Körber, Episode 14: Bottom-up and Deep Digitization of Operations, and Episode 9: The Fourth Industrial Revolution post-COVID-19.
Augmented — upskilling the workforce for industry 4.0 frontline operations.