Did You Miss Your Connection?
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the MTConnect conference. As a marketing professional I found myself to be a little out of my element. The majority of the folks there were engineers in some way, shape or form. While I didn't expect to meet many marketers, I did expect to meet a lot of manufacturers. Unfortunately, I was sadly disappointed.
Don't get me wrong, the conference was very good. Especially if you want to be on the cutting edge of developing ways to use the data that MTConnect provides. What surprised me was that the manufacturers that actually NEED this data to improve their businesses weren't there to learn how to do that.
Growing Companies Make Decisions from Data
So what kept them away? Lack of awareness of the conference? Fear of leaving their shops for a couple of days? Complacency? Too much acceptance of the status quo? Lack of understanding of the benefits of what MTConnect can do for their business? I believe it's a combination of all of these, with emphasis on the last reason.
I really don't believe that the majority of manufacturers, especially smaller shops, truly understand the benefits that MTConnect can provide. MTConnect enables data gathering, which leads to better decision-making. If you can make better, more informed decisions, imagine how you could improve your business. This is well documented in the latest Jim Collins book, Great by Choice, which demonstrates one of the core behaviors of companies that rise to the top – making decisions and taking actions based on an empirical foundation.
Metrics Drive Performance
I’ll use a couple of personal examples to illustrate. I’m a runner. I run a minimum of one competitive 5K per month and recently ran a half marathon. When I started running, I just ran. No data, no information, just ran. And my times rarely improved. Then I downloaded the Nike app. Now I can monitor and analyze my pace, my miles, my progress, and I have a pile of medals to show for it (I've even beaten my husband - twice!). My point being, because I have the ability to monitor, analyze and act on the information, I’ve improved my performance. Pretty simple really.
The second example involves fast food. If you've been to a McDonald's recently, you've probably noticed that the menu board now includes calorie content. Are you kidding me? Now I think twice about eating that Big Mac and will order the salad instead, especially if I want the 450-calorie Shamrock Shake for dessert (wanna get on my good side, surprise me with one of those babies!). Again my point being, a little information goes a long way.
Connect With These Profit-Building Resources
The conference featured this video, portraying how Indiana job shop ITAMCO uses MTConnect-enabled technologies for machine monitoring, measuring spindle utilization and many other profitable ways of leveraging data. They even have an app that uses MTConnect to constantly monitor their machines via iPhone, 24/7, whether in the shop or at home. That’s the ultimate connection!
Don't really understand what MTConnect can do or provide? Download the free white paper from the MTConnect institute, Getting Started with MTConnect: Monitoring Your Shop Floor - What's In It For You? It's a great overview. Read it!
After you read it, ask your machine tool builder how to take advantage of YOUR data. You’ll be glad you did. See you at next year's conference!
Julie Murphy is Marketing Manager, Okuma America Corporation.