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EPISODE #13 | July 1, 2022

Smart Manufacturing: Quickly Implemented and Useful!

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[Full Transcript Available Below]
SiliconExpert Podcast Episode 13 with Bob Argyle of L2L - Transcription

Host: Eric Singer

Producer/Director: George Karalias

[00:00:00] Bob: I've seen some pretty expensive solutions deployed. Some of these ones I've talked about that are highly complex, that took years to deploy. And when you get out on the manufacturing floor, they're using whiteboards and Excel spreadsheets and I'm like, why are you doing this? And it's, it comes down to the solution.

[00:00:22] Just nobody consulted us on what we needed.

[00:00:27] Eric: Welcome to the Intelligent Engine, a podcast that lives in the heart of the electronics industry brought to you by SiliconExpert. SiliconExpert is all about data driven decisions with a human driven experience. We mitigate risk and manage compliance from design, through sustainment, the knowledge experience, and thought leadership of the team partners and those we interact with every day expose unique aspects of the electronics industry and the product life cycles that live within it.

[00:00:54] These are the stories that fuel the Intelligent Engine.

[00:01:02] Today's spotlight is on L2L. L2L's smart manufacturing platform helps factories improve their performance by driving databased, continuous improvement across the production and plant management, a different kind of solution for the real world needs of manufacturers. L2L offers three different modules that eliminate plant floor disruptions and improve throughput.

[00:01:27] They're all totally cloud based and mobile ready and their no code deployment means that they generally complete these deployments within 50 days. That's a pretty unmatched speed to value in the industry. Joining us today is Bob Argyle. He's a 30 year veteran of the manufacturing industry who brings insight and knowledge of lean manufacturing and smart manufacturing technologies.

[00:01:50] Bob knows the plant floor, cuz he's spent time there in maintenance engineering and in operations management as CCO of L2L Bob works with customers in all industries from automotive to aerospace, to food processing to help deploy L2L smart manufacturing platform. Bob, thank you so much for joining us today.

[00:02:11] Bob: Yeah. Thank you for having me. Glad to be here.

[00:02:14] Eric: So before we start talking about some of the L2L solutions, I wanna hear a little bit about your background on the factory floor. I spent many, uh, school vacations working on a factory floor, myself. My grandfather ran a machine shop in Florida, and I know all about how incredibly inefficient those plant operations can be. And of course this was back before we had AIs or any other advanced technologies helping us to improve processes. So I'd love to hear about your experiences actually being on the floor before you joined L2L that, tell us a little bit more about your background there.

[00:02:50] Bob: Yeah, 30 years. A long time. So I'm, I'm getting up there, but, uh, I, I started in manufacturing right outta college. I didn't know this at the time, but I was working installing car stereos when I was gonna school. and it was an electronic store. And I still remember the day when I walked in and all the TVs were on the shuttle disaster.

[00:03:09] Yeah. So I didn't know. At the time that a year later I would be going to work on the redesign of the shuttle. Yeah. So I spent a couple years out there working in the industry. In the industrial control side testing. We actually. I was working on the team that actually tested the new booster design.

[00:03:30] And put all the instrumentation on the motors and monitored all the data and all that stuff. And wow. It, it was really interesting. It, it, wasn't your typical manufacturing operation, but I learned a lot there even. I was there for two years before I transferred over to the airbag division, which some of you may not may or may not know that airbag technology actually came out of the rocket industry.

[00:03:54] Eric: No, I didn't know that. How, how so?

[00:03:58] Bob: So the frontal air bags is basically a controlled explosion that ignites some gas generator, that creates the gas that fills the bag. So that's how it started, but I transferred over to that division. As things were wrapping up with the shuttle redesign and I wanted to get more into the coercial side of the business and I stayed there till 2010.

[00:04:21] The company was actually, you may, it, it was Morton at the time. They actually sold that division off to a company called Autoleve. That's one of the top automotive safety suppliers in the world. Supplying anything from airbags seat belts or sensors for your car, different types of safety devices.

[00:04:40] And there, I spent a lot of time working out in the automation. We had highly automated production lines. We didn't start out that way, but we did evolve to that. So I gotta go through in the nineties. I gotta go through the robotic evolution. I think people refer to it as industry 3.0 but, and I got to see the mistakes we made and I'm seeing the same things happen in today's world.

[00:05:04] With some of the technology, but it was great. I gotta live through the airbags, going from a few manufacturers, putting 'em in the driver and passenger to the last car I bought. I think I had 12 airbags in it.

[00:05:15] Eric: Wow. Yeah. We've come a long way in a couple decades.

[00:05:18] Bob: Yeah. And I spent a lot of time working, managing the maintenance and, uh, engineering department there.

[00:05:24] And, and when I left, I was actually an operations manager at the time.

[00:05:28] Eric: What did you study in school? Are, are you an electrical engineer by training?

[00:05:31] Bob: Yeah, electrical electronics. I got in this, in the manufacturing space. I really got heavily interested into lean manufacturing. We had Toyota working with us and mentoring us as a supplier.

[00:05:46] and so I would say my strengths were really lean manufacturing. I've forgotten all the, the electrical engineering stuff. A lot of it, but , I, I still got some of it still there, but yeah. So for the last, at least the last. 20 years it's been heavily in the management side of things and lean manufacturing or whatever people want to call it, but just really about continuous improvement.

[00:06:07] Eric: Yeah. And boy, what a great example, especially at that time to, to bring up Toyota, when we think back to that time in history or a little bit before that, back to the eighties, the movie Gungho and all the, really the revolution that had to happen in American manufacturing. Largely spearheaded by people trying to emulate what Toyota had been doing.

[00:06:30] Right?

[00:06:31] Bob: Yeah, exactly. And so I was really fortunate to be heavily involved in that they had folks when our plants had a gentleman that actually moved to, I live in Northern Utah. He lived here for I think, three years and, and helped mentor us in the Toyota ways.

[00:06:47] Eric: Wow. In, in those days when we talked about lean manufacturing and we weren't even talking about smart manufacturing, at that point, but now it's certainly become something that, that every manufacturer and everybody playing just about any part in a supply chain is acutely aware of.

[00:07:05] I think that most people understand, Hey, we need to improve our efficiency. We need to implement some kind of smart manufacturing at some level, but they may not know how it applies to their particular company. Is there a way that you can lay out for us how folks might think about taking that leap from the abstract.

[00:07:29] I know I need smart manufacturing to the concrete. Here's where we could be thinking about this specifically in our business.

[00:07:39] Bob: Yeah. So the way I like to think about it is a smart manufacturing is just another tool in your toolbox, right? I think others see it differently as maybe a much bigger thing than that.

[00:07:50] But to me, I look, I view it as the technology that's available today from the smartphones, we have the home automation that we put in our homes and those things it's really just to aid the people to make better decisions, to be more aware of what's going on and where attention needs to be. I see it as a tool.

[00:08:11] And, and what I'm seeing in the space is it's, it's really a tool to help better orchestrate the people, the machines and the processes. And it, it's a really powerful tool if it's utilized that way. So,

[00:08:23] Eric: and that's a really useful way. I think of breaking down those categories, people, machines, and processes, everything falls under one of those umbrellas or several of those umbrellas.

[00:08:35] And. Really it's. It strikes me that the way you described that, as well as the way you described how you think about smart manufacturing as a tool that feels like a much less daunting way to look at it, where you're talking about sort of an incremental. Improvement versus a revolution. And I think so many people may be afraid to implement smart manufacturing because it does feel like, oh, it's a revolution.

[00:09:01] We have to burn the whole house down and rebuild it from the foundation. But what you're describing feels much more approachable and something that you can more easily get into. Is that fair to say?

[00:09:14] Yeah, I think that's exactly right. And like I mentioned, I lived through the robotic revolution. We put robots everywhere.

[00:09:21] Bob: Yeah. It was just, you gotta, if you're gonna stay on top of the market, you've gotta be competitive and we gotta put robots out there. And what we learned is I think there's there's statements out there that it takes a village to raise a robot and, and we learned that the hard way. yeah. And so we, we got all in, we went as we went as fast as we could, and we learned that.

[00:09:42] Yeah. There were some benefits there where it made sense, but there was also some challenges that created for us. We, we probably had to hire more people than we thought the intention of that automation is to reduce labor costs and that it did just the opposite for us. So. We went through a period where we probably swung the pendulum way too far, one direction, and then we had to course correct and bring it back in.

[00:10:04] So we viewed it the same way. And that's what I'm seeing in the industry right now is people are seeing it as this massive pie in the sky, boil the ocean project that they've gotta dive into. And yeah, it's just daunting. And where do you start?

[00:10:17] Eric: And what, how do you answer that question?

[00:10:19] Bob: I start simple.

[00:10:21] I say, pick a problem and, and go find out what technology's available. H. And, and you start utilizing some of the technology that's out there for one, you're gonna learn a little bit more about the talk technology, and as you learn more about it, you're gonna start to see other use cases that you could apply it to.

[00:10:38] And that way, you're not like let's go transform the whole manufacturing facility. Right. Let's pick a problem, let's go address it and let's find out what we can do. And you're gonna learn from that. And then you're taking more of the evolutionary approach.

[00:10:53] Eric: I can hear your engineering background coming out in that answer.

[00:10:56] That, that makes a lot of sense to approach it in such, um, a logical logistical way. I, I think that so many people are paralyzed by the, what they think is going to be a monumental decision from which they can never return. And they're scared to just dive in and, and start tackling things and the kind of approach you're, uh, suggesting here.

[00:11:21] I think lets people get going right. And as you said, even if you haven't found the ideal solution for that problem, you've learned something more about that problem. And now at least more than you did when you started. And that seems like a, a faster route to the finish line than paralysis through indecision.

[00:11:40] Bob: You've learned more about the technology that you've tried out and you may find out that it didn't work in this situation, but you're gonna learn that maybe it's the perfect solution somewhere else. And every, every company's in a different place. And they're gonna start at a different place. I met with one of our customers earlier this week.

[00:11:55] And they've got plants that they got a plant that's that's not even in production yet. So I'm sure that the technology and the equipment that they've got in that facility is pretty sophisticated. Fairly, probably pretty highly automated. They got other buildings and other sites that the. Machines on the production floor are 50 years old.

[00:12:15] And it's in the same company. Where do they start? Right? Once again, you start simple. Make sure it's easy. And the good thing is there's a lot of solutions out there today that are, that are pretty easy to get up and going. They're they're easy to use. They don't require like custom development.

[00:12:34] That's gonna take years and cost millions of dollars. And you hope you get your return on investment, but they're really, I, I always refer to things like that. I use in my day to day activities like home automation. It's. I don't know if you've gotten into it yet like IOT lights switch to your, your entry lights at your house, and you can program 'em from your phone.

[00:12:54] There's apps out there and you can quickly, and then you can connect it to Alexa or Google or whatever you want. And you can start to create routines and. I really think that's where the, where manufacturing's really simple, easy to use low codes solutions that aren't the traditional in manufacturing.

[00:13:12] Traditionally it's really oh, expensive. yeah. Very time consuming. The investment is just it's on a really large scale. And you worry that the time that you're gonna take to get to a point that you can see the benefits from it, by the time you get there. Technology's changed.

[00:13:32] Eric: Right? I can imagine if I'm running a manufacturing facility.

[00:13:37] And I, I want to implement some sort of, of smart manufacturing. And if what I have in mind is the equivalent of Google home, where there's just one place that's gonna solve all of my problems. I'm probably gonna be waiting for a very long time. There is, is that lack of a clear aggregated, holistic approach?

[00:14:00] The biggest challenge that. You think manufacturers are?

[00:14:04] Bob: I think, I don't know.

[00:14:05] I, I think they definitely lack a clear path forward and a vision. And we actually did a survey. The first of this year in Q1 of this year, went out and surveyed manufacture high level manufacturing experts. 76% of them said they don't have a strategy or they don't know what it is.

[00:14:24] Eric: wow.

[00:14:24] Bob: But there, so there really isn't a clear path and I think it goes back to what we talked about earlier is it's just, oh, it. Some of the marketing that's going on is just overwhelming.

[00:14:35] Eric: Totally well. And hold on, cuz I'm just shell shocked by that number. 76% of manufacturers. Don't have, or don't know what their strategy is for their digital transformation towards smart manufacturing.

[00:14:51] That's it? I, I gotta believe that a hundred percent of them believe that is something they will have to implement at some point, if, if they're working on a large scale, but 76% don't know, or don't have a strategy for it.

[00:15:09] I actually

[00:15:09] Bob: was surprised that, that I wasn't surprised that there was, I knew there was a lot that didn't.

[00:15:14] But that's a pretty high number.

[00:15:16] Eric: Wow. And did you survey across industries? Yeah. Wow. That's amazing.

[00:15:21] Bob: Yeah, we did. We didn't leave any industry undisturbed.

[00:15:27] It goes back to what we just talked about. It's just so big. And, and, and I think a lot of these companies. Get a little disconnected, cuz the company might be large. It might be something IT's focused on and operations isn't really aware of what's going on and right. Vice versa and stuff like that.

[00:15:46] But yeah, 76%

[00:15:49] Eric: man. That's I, I just latched onto something you said there about IT jumping in it. This does seem like this is something that falls into a gray area between IT and operations. I do you end up when you're interacting with a client, do you end up pulling in folks from both of those teams to, to create something together?

[00:16:11] Bob: Typically we start on the operations because we really address their problems. Yeah. And then we pull IT into those discussions and. A lot of companies are starting to understand that they're manufacturing companies, not IT companies . So I'm seeing better cooperation there where they're working together and IT's that they're trying to do their job and they wanna make sure that they're getting good solutions out there.

[00:16:32] And they're. Security's a high priority, but, but they're definitely, I'm seeing a shift where they're talking to the operations side a lot more, and that's a key thing. They gotta be working together. I've seen some pretty expensive solutions deployed. Some of these ones I've talked about that are highly complex, that took years to deploy.

[00:16:50] And when you get out on the manufacturing floor, they're using whiteboards and Excel spreadsheets and I'm like, why are you doing this? And it's, it comes down to the solution. Just nobody consulted us on what we needed and it's too difficult to use, and it's not, it doesn't fit the way we work out on the production floor.

[00:17:10] And so, unfortunately, a lot of money spent and not a lot of benefit.

[00:17:15] Eric: Yeah, I think that really speaks to your earlier point about how critical it is to spend the time understanding what your problem actually is. Right? Yep. What are some of the pitfalls that you are seeing manufacturers running into?

[00:17:31] Bob: I would say doing nothing would probably be. Uh, the biggest pitfall that I see. Companies making, they're just not, or they're spending so much time trying to figure out what to do. Or what the right thing is to do. Once again, they're looking at it, just they're looking at it, you know, too. It's just too big. Yeah. So they end up doing nothing at the end of the day. And that's a, that's a concern.

[00:17:54] Eric: Is, is that a piece of the puzzle that you help clients and partners with? When you come in to implement an L2L solution, do you go into that piece of it where you're helping them actually to try to identify their most pressing problems? Or do you need them to already identify that?

[00:18:14] And then you come in and, and propose the solutions that will best address those issues.

[00:18:19] Bob: we build a foundation and it all starts with visibility. The good thing about the technology that's out there. The smart technology is it's pretty easy to get some clear visibility to what your problems and your issues are.

[00:18:32] And so at that point, then once you got that visibility, then you can go attack the where your constraints, your bottlenecks, whatever you want to call 'em once you understand where those are now, you know where to go invest. . So that's usually where we start is let's provide some visibility and, and let's provide that visibility to everybody in the plant.

[00:18:52] Everybody needs to know where we're at. We used to have a saying that it's visibility isn't about things being published and or visible it's about things being seen. . And so the technology provides that with today's technology. It's, it's pretty easy to make sure people can see what's going on. I mean, look at, look at the, our smartphones.

[00:19:13] They provide a lot of visibility to what's going on in the world. Sometimes you don't wanna know , but it's all right there. Yeah. So we deployed our solution at a site and I actually was involved in the deployment. We got it up and going. We started capturing the data and. Really capturing the visibility, providing the visibility that I talked about.

[00:19:36] And I went out there, we, I went with our, our CEO out there to meet with them and it had been a few months, maybe a little bit longer and we got there and we're like, okay. So what did you get? What have you guys learned so far? And they're like, wow, we've learned a lot. Like for example, what our biggest problem in terms of disruptions to our process is something we never have talked about.

[00:19:57] We've never really seen it as a problem. And I'm like, okay, that's interesting. What is it? And it was adjusting a cutter blade. And it happened quite frequently. Now this facility is a large facility. The maintenance had to come out and make this adjustment. And so it took 'em time to get there. So anytime does it happen?

[00:20:17] It, it take at least 30 minutes sometimes longer to address the issue. And it was happening multiple times a day. And. So when they got that visibility, they started to focus on what can we do to solve this? It was funny cuz one of the, one of the gentlemen that was in the room with us, I asked him, I said, did you know this was a problem?

[00:20:37] He goes, well, I got trained on it. Like the first week I worked here it was so I think the people on the floor knew there was a problem. . They, they probably, since it had been around probably forever, the fact, the fact of life, the fact of life is they gotta get up every day and take a shower.

[00:20:53] It's like taking a shower. It's just gotta happen. But the exciting thing was, is they had already put in a bunch of corrective actions. They had really, they really drilled into this problem and they reduced the problem by, I wanna say it was like 80%. They reduced the number of these cutter adjustments.

[00:21:10] Eric: That's pretty huge. If you're talking about taking an assembly line down multiple times a day, .

[00:21:15] Bob: Yeah, it was like a whole shift of pro a week's production in a year. That's what it added up to. So there's an example of just incremental little things that are going on on the floor. And once you have that visibility and you can see it and what a lot of companies, one of the mistakes a lot of companies make is they, everybody has morning meetings and they talk about yesterday.

[00:21:36] and it's yesterday's news, right? What happened yesterday? Oh, we had a machine go down. Oh, for six hours. Oh my heck. Yeah. Six hours Uhhuh. We gotta do something about that. But if you go look at the data, the last time that machine went down for that problem may have been five years ago. . But we got another issue out there.

[00:21:56] That's happening five times a shift. And it only takes 20 minutes, but we're never talking about those in the daily needs. Right. And that's what that's, what we provide is that type of information. So the customers get real clear visibility as to what it. That they need, it comes down to this that if you spend time on that, you're gonna get instant benefit out of that.

[00:22:16] You're gonna get an instant on your investment, right? If you spend time on some of the bigger problems, and I'm not saying don't spend time on the bigger problems, but you gotta really take. Clear look at what, if we go solve that problem or improve that problem? When are we gonna get to see the, when are we gonna reap the benefits of that?

[00:22:32] And it's sometimes it's these little chronic things that honestly, they just people see 'em as just a way of life. Yeah.

[00:22:39] Eric: But really it's more like a death by a thousand cuts.

[00:22:43] Bob: It sure is. So

[00:22:45] Eric: yeah. When you talk about ROI, how do most of your clients, or, or manufacturers in general measure success when they do decide to invest in smart manufacturing or some other digital transformation, how do you find that they're measuring whether that was a worthwhile investment or not?

[00:23:06] Bob: Well, A lot of times I'll look at downtime. Is there downtime numbers or their uptime? Is, is that improving? They'll look at things like scrap. It really depends. And some most manufacturers look at all those things. Yeah. But what it really comes down to at the end of the day is did it affect the finances?

[00:23:25] Eric: Did it bottom line, the bottom line did our cost to produce our product improve.

[00:23:31] so it really about efficiency, whether you're talking about downtime on the line or wasted product, it's just about being more efficient for the most part, which

[00:23:43] Bob: yeah. Which is why it's so important to make sure you're working on the right issues.

[00:23:47] So that example I gave you if they went and. Spent endless hours and, and, and dollars on fixing a problem that happens once every five years, you're not gonna see, it's not gonna affect your product. And it's gonna be, it's gonna be a little teeny blip that you might not, not even notice, but if you fix the problems that are constantly plaguing you and constantly affecting your ability to efficiently produce product, you'll start to see pretty quickly the, the return on investment.

[00:24:14] And you should see, we like to watch the production throughput too is, you know, One of the challenges our customers are going through right now. And you, I don't know if you guys are hearing, this is the job market is crazy. . So people are really having a hard time hiring more people. So if you can get more product through your processes with the people you got, right.

[00:24:35] That's a big win, right? So we look at that a lot. Are we able to produce more product without having to add more resources?

[00:24:41] Eric: Sure. And then I would imagine there, there are also. Ancillary benefits to where maybe you've made some improvements in efficiency. Maybe you've increased your throughput, but along the way, there's a, a less tangible benefit that you now have a much better understanding.

[00:24:59] And I think this would be particularly relevant in a large operation. A better understanding of your process because how often, especially in a big plant, do you really look holistically how all these things are tying together? Uh, your problems are buried under layers of, of bureaucracy in different departments.

[00:25:17] And this seems like a, a great opportunity to actually take a, a bigger, more comprehensive look at at everything. Yeah.

[00:25:25] Bob: Yeah. Yeah. So I'll go back to our survey. We actually, during our survey, 50% of those were the respondents said reduced cost is the highest priority. Yep. And then they said next to that is data visibility.

[00:25:37] And then, ah, there it is with reliability. And so when you look at those three things, if you have the visibility, then you know where to go make the improvements to get the reliability, which at the end of the day should result in reduced cost.

[00:25:52] Eric: Yeah. I mean that data visibility feels like that really needs to be the foundation of this.

[00:25:56] So you, you can't get your cost reduced. You can't get your improved reliability or your improved throughput without knowing what you're talking about. Yeah.

[00:26:05] Bob: We had a customer that they were using our system and within about a week, They started to capture some data on a machine they was having some trouble with, and this was a learning experience for them.

[00:26:19] So we sat down with them and said, okay, you guys have all, you all have access to this data. So anytime somebody gets called out to, to deal with this problem, they'll look at what the guys did before you . And we pulled up the data with them and they're like, oh wow. So Joe yesterday changed the fuse and the shift before that Jim changed the fuse and Bob changed the fuse the day for that, there was literally like seven fuse changes over five days four to five days

[00:26:46] Eric: seems problematic.

[00:26:49] Bob: Yeah. It's very problematic. And. Typically that type of information gets put on work orders and put into a CMS system or whatever, and nobody ever looks at it.

[00:26:58] It's not readily available. Sure. But with smart technology now, and, and I guarantee these guys look at this now is whenever you go to work on something, you can see the history of that. You can see everything that's been done to it. Hey, we may change the fuse to get it running again, but we oughta scheduled some downtime to go in and address the real root cause of the problem, which they did.

[00:27:19] And that weekend they went in and I think it was a gearbox or something that was heating up that they found and they changed it out in non-production time. Nice. and which was great because would've happened. And I asked him that what would've happened if we wouldn't have found, if we wouldn't recognized this, it probably would've failed right during day shift or night shift and right during production, a production run. And so goes the story

[00:27:44] Eric: yeah. So we, we keep slapping a 5 cent bandaid on it. We keep swapping out that fuse, but nobody's thinking about why that fuse is blowing and what's gonna happen when that gearbox burns up.

[00:27:57] Bob: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

[00:28:00] Eric: So what's the timeline to realize the benefits of, of implementing a solution like this and how does that compare to what people's expectation of that timeline might be?

[00:28:14] Yeah, so good question. And I'm gonna refer to the survey that we did as that I referred to earlier, we also learned in that survey that 65% of those surveys said that they expect a return on investment in their digital transformation to take one to two years.

[00:28:30] which, and yeah, that, that feels like if you know, it's gonna work, then Hey, maybe that's not too long, but if you don't know exactly what your results are gonna be, that feels like a terrifyingly long time.

[00:28:44] Bob: Yeah. To me personally, I think if it takes less than six, let's say less than a year. That's the opportunity here is the products and the approach of let's find simple solutions.

[00:28:54] , let's go solve things. Let's get it. Shouldn't take that long. It should take six months. You should start to see benefits and then you should start to, like we talked about earlier evolve and well, there should be no reason to. Two years is crazy in this in the day and age we live in.

[00:29:10] Eric: I agree. That sounds like a, a tremendous opportunity to be able to exceed people's expectations if people in the marketplace are, are expecting it to take this long and you can come in and deploy something in a fraction of that time, that does indeed feel like a, a really incredible opportunity to, uh, surprise and delight people. .

[00:29:33] Bob: Yeah, well, I think it's the direction that manufacturing's going. I'd like I talked about earlier with the smart home and some of that stuff, and there's just the things that we can do in our regular lives, it used to cost a lot of money to do, and it, it was wow. I don't know how, but now it's easy and you can do it where it makes sense. You don't have to do it across the board.

[00:29:51] Eric: I love the analogy of, of comparing the manufacturing platform or the, the manufacturing environment, this huge complex system of systems with something that is as relatively simple as a home, but the principles that we're talking about here really do apply to, to both. It really can be that simple. The, obviously the logistics of what we're talking about here are very complex, but the approach, I, I love the elegance of the way you're describing that.

[00:30:22] Bob: Yeah. And I'll share another. It's not really a story, but a, an example of what we're seeing happening in the market. We've have, we have some customers that they're actually encouraging their employees on the production floor. Well, in any role, you can be, it doesn't matter what your position is, but if you wanna learn more about building apps, they've created an environment where they can go in and, and build custom apps.

[00:30:46] And they can integrate to our system. They can integrate to other systems. any system that has an open, you know, API great things like that. And so it's great because we go in the, we go into these factories and they're saying, Hey, look at this mobile app that we created that can do this and this. And I'm like, that's awesome.

[00:31:01] Where'd you get that? One of our operators on the floor developed it.

[00:31:04] Eric: Oh man. And there's where the genius comes from. The, the guy's doing the actual work.

[00:31:09] Bob: I mean it's and you, sometimes you got people that are working out on the production floor that are going to school that are learning this stuff. Or some of 'em are just really smart people that.

[00:31:19] Decided they didn't want to go to school. I don't know, but that just blows my mind. I it's so exciting.

[00:31:24] Eric: I love that. I love that the accessibility that years ago you'd have to be in a, a degree program to even get your hands on tools like that. Now you can be doing on your coffee break

[00:31:37] Bob: yeah. And it, I think it's really smart for those companies to leverage that I really leveraging that in a big way. Yeah, they appreciate it. Yeah. I think manufacturers are gonna have to really take a good hard look at how they treat their employees. . Because they can't afford them to quit. Yeah.

[00:31:53] Eric: And I, I think it, that sort of environment could lead more people into manufacturing. If we stop seeing being a machine operator as a, a blue collar dead end job where you're just on a floor.

[00:32:09] Pushing the same button over and over again and, and start seeing it as a, a place where you can actively contribute to the success of the company.

[00:32:18] Bob: Yeah. I, I think companies like Tesla, I, I think Elon Musk, he gets that. Yeah. He's, he's really challenging. He's building rockets.

[00:32:28] Eric: it's true. We were talking about literal rocket science here. Yeah. So, Bob, thank you so much for being our guest today and for sponsoring this episode of the Intelligent Engine podcast.

[00:32:42] Bob: Thanks for having me. I think it's exciting times for manufacturing. I think there's gonna be some big changes coming here.

[00:32:48] Eric: And that's coming from a guy who has been through some really interesting times in the industry. Special thanks to you, our audience for tuning into this episode. Be sure to tune in for new episodes, that'll delve into more of the electronics industry and share our podcast with your colleagues and friends.

[00:33:04] You can also sign up to be on our email list to receive updates and the opportunity to provide your input on future topics. Go to SiliconExpert.com/podcast to sign up until next time. Keep the data flowing.

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