InTech

MAY-JUN 2018

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ISA INTECH STAFF CHIEF EDITOR Bill Lydon blydon@isa.org PUBLISHER Rick Zabel rzabel@isa.org PRODUCTION EDITOR Lynne Franke lfranke@isa.org ART DIRECTOR Colleen Casper ccasper@isa.org SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Pam King pking@isa.org GRAPHIC DESIGNER Lisa Starck lstarck@isa.org CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Charley Robinson crobinson@isa.org ISA PRESIDENT Brian J. Curtis PUBLICATIONS VICE PRESIDENT James F. Tatera EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD CHAIRMAN Steve Valdez GE Sensing Joseph S. Alford PhD, PE, CAP Eli Lilly (retired) Joao Miguel Bassa Independent Consultant Eoin Ó Riain Read-out, Ireland Vitor S. Finkel, CAP Finkel Engineers & Consultants Guilherme Rocha Lovisi Bayer Technology Services David W. Spitzer, PE Spitzer and Boyes, LLC Dean Ford, CAP Westin Engineering David Hobart Hobart Automation Engineering Smitha Gogineni Midstream & Terminal Services Perspectives from the Editor | talk to me INTECH MAY/JUNE 2018 7 R egardless of your industry, automa- tion is being used throughout the world to be more competitive and transform industry. These are exciting times for automation professionals, who can be vital contributors to the success and future of their companies. The influx of technol- ogy creates challenges, and automation professionals are subject-matter experts who have an important role informing and guiding company management to make the best automation investments. Understanding Understanding what new technology and solutions are available and those appropri- ate to apply in your company to improve efficiency and quality—and simultaneously lower production costs—is an important responsibility. Sorting out the new tech- nologies and solutions that can be applied effectively in your operations takes effort. With the influx of new technology and rapid change, it is wise to look beyond the offerings of your existing vendors to learn about new technology and solutions. With the swift adoption of new technology for manufacturing in parts of the world not tethered by existing systems, it is important to learn about a range of new options. Management Industry 4.0, Industrial Internet of Things, analytics, artificial intelligence, and other developments are leading the top man- agement of many companies to look for new solutions. Management is being bom- barded with information from business consulting firms, information technology suppliers, and existing and new automation vendors advocating for the application of new technologies throughout the business to remain competitive and profitable. This frenzy can result in poorly informed auto- mation investments with a poor return on investment. Worse, over time it can make the company less competitive than others using superior automation solutions that may be nontraditional. "I have been saying for many years that we are using the word 'guru' only because 'charlatan' is too long to fit into a headline."—Peter Drucker, American management consultant System integrators, consultants, and ven- dors can be valuable resources, but they do not have the working knowledge of your company's production. The fact of the matter is automation professionals within a company understand the company's pro- duction dynamics better than any automa- tion resource outside the company. An important task for automation pro- fessionals is to earn the respect of manage- ment by informing and educating them to make proper automation investment deci- sions. This requires concise communications without burying management in technical details. It takes concerted thought and ef fort to convey the benefits, functional descrip- tion, and investment reasoning. Challenge The challenge for the automation profes- sional is to understand new technologies and how they can be productively applied to production. In times of major change, it takes effort to learn and look beyond traditional solutions. Poor decisions are amplified over time, since most company investment life cycles are long. ISA infor- mation sources, including InTech maga- zine, InTech Plus, Automation.com, and ISA symposiums, can be used to learn. I also advocate attending major nonvendor- sponsored trade shows to learn about new solutions, products, and methods. "The basic economic resource—the means of production—is no longer capi- tal, nor natural resources, nor labor. It is and will be knowledge."—Drucker Look beyond existing solutions to learn what is possible and analyze what is new to improve production. n Manufacturing automa- tion—a vital competitive weapon By Bill Lydon, InTech, Chief Editor

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