Smart Factories: Converting workers into problem solvers?

Smart factories, industry 4.0, IIoT and everything else covered by the digital transformation umbrella raises fear about the future of human jobs, or to be more specific, the income source of employees. To my surprise some promoters of these factories of the future have a ridiculously simple solution: convert the actual workers into process supervisors … Continue reading Smart Factories: Converting workers into problem solvers?

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Can Industry 4.0 rejuvenate Total Productive Maintenance?

In this post: TPM in a nutshell Linking Industry 4.0 (smart factories) to TPM TPM autonomous maintenance in 4.0 environment Can Industry 4.0 rejuvenate Total Productive Maintenance? The youngest among my blog readers may not understand what I mean with Total Productive Maintenance, this pre-Lean management approach to maximize machines and equipment effectiveness and aiming … Continue reading Can Industry 4.0 rejuvenate Total Productive Maintenance?

What is Industry 4.0 – Juergen Kanz

"Industry 4.0" was coined in Germany and is becoming the European name of what is also known as Smart Factory, Smart Manufacturing, Industrial Internet among others. Note: German and French write "industrie" instead of "industry" In this slightly more than one hour video, Juergen Kanz, Systemic Thinker and Theory of Constraints expert, introduces to the … Continue reading What is Industry 4.0 – Juergen Kanz

Is 3D printing the ultimate postponement? Part two

In the previous post of this series, I used somewhat extreme examples to illustrate the benefits of postponement with additive manufacturing i.e. 3D printing (space exploration, ships amidst oceans and warfare). In this post I use more common examples about how the promises of these new techniques will disrupt existing businesses and bring new benefits … Continue reading Is 3D printing the ultimate postponement? Part two

Is 3D printing the ultimate postponement? – Part one

Imagine the first habitable base on mars. Your challenge is to pack the first cargo spaceship with all the necessary for the staff to face all maintenance issues, until the next cargo spaceship can lift up, say three months later. Chances are you’ll include a 3D printer and enough of printer’s raw material, simply because … Continue reading Is 3D printing the ultimate postponement? – Part one

Future of Lean and additive manufacturing

In a previous post titled “How much non-added value additive manufacturing can take out of actual processes?” my prospective thinking was all about technological disruptions and the impact on companies. The same question is valid for the future of Lean. If as I assume much of the non-added value can be taken out of actual … Continue reading Future of Lean and additive manufacturing

Lean in digital age: sensors and data

In near future, technology and especially connected objects - smart things stuffed with sensors and so-called wearable devices - will supercharge Lean improvements. One example of such already used device is given in a Mark Graban podcast about Hand Hygiene & Patient Safety. In this podcast (Episode #205), Mark’s guest Joe Schnur, VP Business Development … Continue reading Lean in digital age: sensors and data

Technologies alone will not regain competitive advantage

Smart factories, high level of automation, robots, cobots and industry 4.0 concepts will not be enough to regain competitive advantage for Western European* companies. The reason is very simple, these technologies will be available to everyone and there is no real barrier to entry. These technologies won’t be very expensive and the ease of mastering … Continue reading Technologies alone will not regain competitive advantage

3D printing as additive manufacturing

Every day sees new surprising applications of 3D printing and most of them are forerunners of disruptions, larger applications, breakthroughs, etc. The fast maturation of 3D printing techniques and their proven abilities make them stand as symbol of the factory of the future. In this near future additive manufacturing with 3D printing should tackle the … Continue reading 3D printing as additive manufacturing

Robots won’t take your job, investors will

In a previous post I outlined cobots utopia where collaborative robots extend the worker’s abilities and compensate some human weaknesses. In this perspective cobots could keep aging workers on the job and help to improve industrial jobs’ image, often quoted Dirty, Dangerous and Difficult. The cooperation between robots and workers could increase manpower productivity, hence … Continue reading Robots won’t take your job, investors will