The Impact of Evolving Technology in Manufacturing

The Impact of Evolving Technology in Manufacturing

By Surbhi Krishna Singh, CEO, and Co-Founder of FireVisor Systems

Surbhi Krishna Singh, CEO, and Co-Founder of FireVisor Systems

How has technology evolved in the field of manufacturing?

Development of technology in manufacturing is gradual compared to software industry which evolves very rapidly. It takes a much longer time to test and implement new technology on a factory floor. A minor change requires time to validate as there are many different process parameters involved. All of these need to be tweaked and tested several times throughout the implementation process. On the contrary, as the evolving process is gradual in manufacturing it makes it much more robust. Also, every change in the manufacturing process radically improves the product or gets it in the hands of people much faster. So the change might be gradual in the manufacturing space, but then it makes the entire value chain much more stable.  

What are the predominant hurdles in the Industrial Floor?

One of the significant difficulties for companies in our industry is that implementing AI or Big Data involves communication between very different kinds of hardware and software frameworks even if they are in the same vertical. One of the ways to accelerate the process of improving with and maximizing benefits from their own data is to have a standardized framework across industries. As every factory has its unique ecosystem, the uniformity is lacking. Moreover, a factory floor within the same industry uses different types of machines, which makes the software implementation process difficult. To counter this we are establishing a library of APIs which can be integrated with different kinds of environments.

"So the change might be gradual in the manufacturing space, but then it makes the entire value chain much more stable"

How have you aided the company with your years of experience?

As CEO and Co-Founder of the company, my primary intention is to understand manufacturing and standardise the framework for quality improvement, irrespective of vertical. Having been a process engineer myself, I know that the 5M and 1E in Ishikawa’s fishbone diagram namely Man, Machine, Method, Material, measurement or Environment are the root cause of nearly all deviations. If these metrics are not followed strictly, it can potentially cause a defect. so I constantly try to use my experience and standardize the root cause analysis, since most of them can be broadly traced back to these silos. While building the software, the UI needs to be relatable with the five M’s of manufacturing

Another important focus area is to always see things from the eyes of the person on the factory floor. Unless one understands the process from an engineer’s perspective, no product will make sense because at the end of the day it’s the engineers who know best what works. Having in-depth knowledge of one factory floor can help to assist another factory in the same industry. When we present our software product to members of a particular factory, we constantly ask them for feedback. It also gets reflected in our hiring process as we hire people who have interacted with some level of manufacturing and understand how things work on a factory floor. We build very interactive software that is easy to understand. All the nomenclature, the interfaces are designed for manufacturing and process engineer, line technicians and operators.

What ideology do you follow while interacting with your clients?

Our ideology is aligned with the long term vision of making self-aware factories. We come across many requests from different industries and use cases within the manufacturing landscape, but only associate with specific problems that are along the line of our long term vision.

What advice would you like to give to the newer startups or entrepreneurs in the manufacturing technology landscape?

The fundamental objective is to listen to what client needs and deliver accordingly; this is very generic, but with time it's becoming less evident in our industry. In some cases, one might think that a product feature looks excellent or the data handling feature appears impressive and it might be impactful for internal users, but that is always an assumption you should validate with your clients. In reality, a simple feature like changing the frequency of updates makes life easier for the customers, and a complicated new architecture to handle data better might have no direct impact on them. The customer’s outlook should always be prioritized, and it's our responsibility to make things simple and usable for them.

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