What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) refers to software “robots” that can be taught or programmed to mimic human actions like typing, copy-and-paste, open files, read files... do many tasks across programs and applications just as human workers do. It is especially suitable for tasks requiring no subjective judgement, that can be described simply. The RPA software … Continue reading What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

The blurring definition of waste in a 4.0 world – Part 2 of 2 – Robotic Process Automation

In part 1 of this series I took the example of Additive Manufacturing vs. traditional machining to explain the blurring definition of (Lean) waste and value. In this post, I propose another take with Robotic Process Automation (RPA). With RPA, some tasks considered unnecessary and wasteful in the classic Lean point of view are automated … Continue reading The blurring definition of waste in a 4.0 world – Part 2 of 2 – Robotic Process Automation

The blurring definition of Lean waste in a 4.0 world – Part 1 of 2 – Additive Manufacturing

Until recently in the Lean community, the definition of waste was “simple”: waste is any activity consuming resources without producing value for the customer. In this definition time can be  considered a resource and “customer” is extended to anyone beneficiary of the outcome, like a patient in a hospital getting faster and better care. Focusing … Continue reading The blurring definition of Lean waste in a 4.0 world – Part 1 of 2 – Additive Manufacturing

The success of a 4.0 transformation is strongly dependent on the initial conditions

The success of a 4.0 transformation in manufacturing (and industry at large) is particularly dependent on the initial conditions for its implementation. The “founding fathers” of Industry 4.0 and the organizations who help its implementation soon recognized the importance of a suitable “ground” as well as a number of prerequisites for a 4.0 transformation to … Continue reading The success of a 4.0 transformation is strongly dependent on the initial conditions

Could industry 4.0 extend Lean’s lifespan?

When Industry 4.0 arrived with all its bells and whistles, many would have thought “haha, this is the long awaited next big thing to replace Lean”. Now, as the time goes by, it seems more and more that Lean is regarded as a mandatory prerequisite to Industry 4.0, which in return could unexpectedly extend Lean’s … Continue reading Could industry 4.0 extend Lean’s lifespan?

A collection of Proofs of Concept doesn’t make a Digital Strategy

I read and hear it over and over: when it comes to Digital Transformation, Smart Manufacturing or Industry 4.0, companies face an indigestion of Proofs of Concept (PoC). Those are most often haphazard uncoordinated bottom-up initiatives, that last long without proving much. Worse, there is enough evidence that the technical solutions work and many available … Continue reading A collection of Proofs of Concept doesn’t make a Digital Strategy

Data continuity for faster decision making and agility

Speed, time-to-market, fast response and agility are becoming increasingly important in fast changing and competitive markets. In such environment, value or benefits decrease rapidly in time. Conversely, being fast, reactive and agile enables reaping the most of the value.  Brick-and-mortar companies going click-and-mortar or the digital transformation way have to get rid of the inherited … Continue reading Data continuity for faster decision making and agility

Why your digital transformation may well start with brown paper and sticky notes

Call it digital transformation, smart factory, IioT or industry 4.0, your high-tech company transformation program may well require mundane brown paper and sticky notes at the very beginning. A random collection of Proofs of Concept does not make a transformation program It is a lesson learned over and over, a transformation program is not a … Continue reading Why your digital transformation may well start with brown paper and sticky notes

Will 5S resist 4.0 tech?

April 2019, in the corridors of our offices I picked a statement made by a young consultant about one of his clients: "It's a real mess in their warehouse, they do not manage storage and have no defined storage locations. They lose an incredible amount of time searching for goods. Introducing RFID tags would allow … Continue reading Will 5S resist 4.0 tech?

Industry 4.0 on the edge of the chasm

March 2019, eight years after its official launch and many experiments, Industry 4.0 is on the brink, looking at the chasm. For the concept Industry 4.0 to become reality, it has to move from a random collection of scattered Proofs of Concept to full-scale projects. It must convince a critical mass of decision makers, users … Continue reading Industry 4.0 on the edge of the chasm