Presenting the Sixteenth Annual ARC World Industry Forum
Transforming Industry through New Processes and Technologies
February 6-9, 2012 - Orlando, Florida
ARC World Industry Forum Addresses Transforming Industry from Multiple Perspectives
Following a full day of well-attended workshops and supplier press announcements on Monday, Forum participants convened for the thought-provoking presentations and roundtable discussions for the Forum's general session. More than 660 participants, representing 254 different companies, attended the Forum. This included 83 owner-operator companies, indicating good participation from the end user community.
The Tuesday morning general session included three keynote presentations and associated executive round table discussion. While all focused on the Forum theme, "Transforming Industry through New Processes and Technologies," each approached the topic from a different angle, providing Forum participants with an interesting, multi-dimensional perspective.
Industry-Transforming Processes and Products
Andy Chatha, ARC Founder and President, gave the leadoff keynote presentation. According to Andy, his picks for the top four transformative technologies — social technologies, mobile internet, cloud computing, and advanced analytics — do not apply at the industrial controls layer. Instead, each provides opportunities for improvement at higher levels of the enterprise.
As social technologies become increasingly mature, they can provide people across an industrial organization with easy access to the information they need to do their jobs better and improve overall performance. Smartphones, tablets, and other mobile Internet technology-based products provide people with access to the information they need from any location at any time. Cloud computing-enabled virtualization technology can offload much of the cost and the responsibility for providing server hardware and implementing and supporting virtualized applications from an industrial organization's own typically under-staffed IT group, to a third-party provider.
Last, but not least, Andy discussed advanced analytics as a transformative technology. "Analytics is my favorite," he said. "Now that it's much faster and easier to use, you have to see it to believe it! I didn't realize the full potential myself until we started using the technology ourselves to develop our new cloud-based analytics capability. Several of our larger supplier clients are already using this new capability, which we call MIRA (Market Intelligence & Rapid Analysis) to extract more value from ARC's vast amount of market research data."
In closing, Andy summarized that while each of these transformative technologies is powerful on its own, when you combine cloud computing with advanced analytics, a mobility platform and devices, and a collaborative social platform, you'll have a much more powerful organization.
Transformative Technologies and Processes at Boeing
Diane Chong, Vice President Assembly, Factory, and Support Technology at Boeing, kicked off her presentation with an attention-getting video. The video showed how the company assembles its popular Boeing 777 commercial jetliner using parts and subassemblies manufactured and transported from suppliers located around the world to the company's huge assembly plant in Everett, Washington. The video used fast-motion video techniques and an awesome music soundtrack to show off the company's continuously moving assembly line, which makes extensive use of robotics and other advanced technologies to help the company's skilled employees create this impressive aircraft, in which they obviously take great pride.
Following the video, Ms. Chong explained that many different factors impact Boeing's business. These include the global economy, supply chain, competition, security concerns, customer expectations, environmental pressures, globalization, geopolitical complexity, the talent pipeline, and technological innovations. The company faces continuously shifting risks and needs.
Ms. Chong concluded her presentation with a discussion of workforce development issues. This is an important topic at Boeing, since a significant percentage of the company's employees, which she acknowledged as the backbone of the company, are age 60 or over. She explained several workforce development initiatives the company has created, including helping teachers incorporate manufacturing into the curriculum and bringing students to the company to learn firsthand the opportunities that exist and how things work.
Safeguarding the Supply Chain
Ron Guido, Vice President of Brand Protection at Johnson & Johnson, started his presentation with the statement, "We all share a common competitor: counterfeiters. If you have good products, chances are that counterfeiters are paying attention to them." Mr. Guido believes that counterfeiters are violating the global supply chain. Multiple issues fuel the product counterfeiting and diversion problem.
Since Johnson & Johnson's credo is to place the health and safety of its customers above all else, it is very concerned about counterfeit products, particularly those that could place the public at risk. With dozens of manufacturing and distribution centers, safeguarding against counterfeiters is a huge challenge. Mr. Guido stressed that best practices for brand protection involves people, processes, and technology.
Developing, Demonstrating, and Deploying New Technologies for Industry to Use to Save Energy
Leo Christodoulou, Program Manager at the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office, delivered the final keynote presentation at the Forum's general session on Tuesday. According to Mr. Christodoulou, the U.S. government views manufacturing at both the tactical and strategic levels. Related strategic issues include global warming, energy imports, etc. At the tactical level, it's critical to have effective and efficient manufacturing.
"Industry and manufacturing are important because, together, they employ 12 million people in the U.S., including 60 percent of all engineers and scientists," said Mr. Christodoulou. "On the other hand, industry and manufacturing also consume 30 percent of all energy." To help rectify this situation, the Advanced Manufacturing Office at the U.S. Department of Energy is working to assist U.S. manufacturers in several areas, all focused in some way on reducing energy consumption. These include developing, demonstrating, and deploying next-generation materials, manufacturing processes, and technologies.
Following the three keynote presentations, Andy asked John Berra, Senior Advisor and Past Chairman at Emerson Process Management; and Helmuth Ludwig, CEO of the Industry Sector North America at Siemens to contribute to the conversation by briefly providing what each executive considers to be a good example of innovation in industry.
Mr. Berra chose to use the accomplishments of one of the company's customers as an example. This (unnamed) customer had the mission to build ten grassroots ethylene plants simultaneously, using ten different engineering procurement contractors. Rather than taking the typical (and safe) conservative approach when faced with this challenge, this owner/operator boldly decided to embrace innovation with an approach that had the potential to help these grassroots plants remain competitive over the next 10 to 20 years. According to Mr. Berra, this innovative approach helped the company complete this ambitious project in just 27 months and save an estimated $90 million dollars in startup costs.
Mr. Ludwig chose to use several examples of innovation from within Siemens. For achieving industrial productivity, he pointed out how the rapid production changeover capabilities inherent in today’s intelligent machines can enable manufacturers to improve efficiency by 90 percent. Mr. Ludwig also believes there are enormous opportunities to improve energy efficiency. As an example, he pointed out how the MGM resort in Las Vegas has reduced its energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas footprint to a significant degree by installing variable speed drives on its HVAC chillers.
A lively panel discussion involving all the above executives concluded the opening general session of this year’s ARC World Industry Forum.