Realize Live 2023 Day 2/3: Manufacturers need more than innovation
Innovation and a willingness to push new ideas forward is valuable and needed, but the ability to be agile and flexible is critical.
- Manufacturers and engineers offered their insights on how to be innovative at Siemens Realize Live in Las Vegas.
- Innovation is a powerful tool, but companies also need to be agile and flexible and be able to react to a changing market and landscape.
Manufacturers embarking on their digital transformation journey need more than innovation and a willingness to take the plunge. Those are important traits, no question, and they were on display during the general sessions at Siemens Realize Live 2023 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Consider Jane Poynter, for example, the founder and co-CEO of Space Perspective, whose company is sending people to space in a balloon one person at a time.
“We have a gentle way of going to space and we want to make it fun,” she said. “We even have a space lounge.”
Then there’s Easton LaChapelle, the co-founder and CEO of Unlimited Tomorrow, which makes prosthetic arms and limbs for people using a combination of advanced and additive manufacturing at affordable prices. LaChapelle, who started the company at 18, encouraged people to use curiosity as a tool.
“It’s a thing in all of us and it’s incredibly powerful,” he said. “You can turn ideas into reality.”
In his case, he said the idea started when a little girl saw his robotic arm that he had developed for a robotic fair and realized she had a prosthetic limb that cost $50,000.
“I realized right then I need to solve this,” he said.
That’s true for a lot of engineers. They need to solve the problem by using their considerable skills in mechanical, electrical, coding or whatever to try and make the world a better place.
The potential of digital transformation and Industry 4.0 and all the other manufacturing buzzwords trying to create a world of tomorrow offers enormous potential. Companies are realizing this every day, but this realization is tempered with a world that is faster than ever and consumers who want their products yesterday and they want it customized.
Don Hnatyshin, senior vice president, chief supply chain officer, Molex, said in his keynote Wednesday his company is trying to move to the speed of the market.
“Servicing customers and moving at their speed is extremely critical,” he said. “Making sure the alignment of your product development is also critical.”
The supply chain issues are nothing new and many of the hidden problems were exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. What had worked at least well enough no longer sufficed.
“The pandemic exposed many issues and for us, we have a global supply chain. Working with engineering and understanding the issues was critical to get better insights into intelligence,” Hnatyshin said.
The trick, he said, is to be agile and flexible and react to the situation as it comes up and have the tools necessary to make these transitions a seamless one.
“We need to proactively identify risks and mitigate those. But most importantly, we don’t want to stifle innovation, but we want to manage risk.”
Giving engineers the safety net with digital transformation and Industry 4.0 and more can give engineers the confidence and the tools they need. Those tools, applied correctly, can send people to space, give them a nice lease on life with a hand and so much more.
Curiosity, after all, is a very powerful tool.
Chris Vavra, web content manager, CFE Media and Technology, email@example.com.