The future of manufacturing is iterative, collaborative and data-driven – MIT Technology Review
In association with Raytheon Missiles & Defense
Digital transformation has been positioned as a cure-all to many of the challenges today’s enterprises face. But to fully reap the benefits of a digital transformation, businesses need in order to do more than just adopt the latest tools and apps. They also have to change their attitudes, practices plus processes around data and technology, throughout their own organization and in their interactions with partners plus customers.
“Digital transformation requires a jump on the particular technology side, but it requires a leap on the people side, ” says Bill Gundrey, executive director for digital engineering and operations at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “At Raytheon, digital transformation will be a team sport. It impacts every function in our company, as well as customers and suppliers. We had to change the way individuals think about data and technology. ”
Changing the way we work
Globally, covid-19 played a major role in shifting collective attitudes toward technology, particularly in the particular ways people do business. At Raytheon, this helped fast-track the cultural side of digital change, changing the way internal teams interacted with vendors, customers, plus government partners.
“We learned a lot during the pandemic. We proved we could work and collaborate virtually, ” says Gundrey. “In the particular end, electronic transformation is all about people. It’s about being able to work from anywhere and to leverage new tools to improve how all of us collaborate. ”
Now, as organizations transition back to in-office or hybrid work arrangements, businesses need to use the lessons discovered during the pandemic to permanently modify operational behaviour toward technologies for good, says Gundrey. Business leaders now face an unprecedented opportunity to embrace digital modification and the particular business practices that support it.
An iterative and interactive approach
Perhaps the biggest opportunity for social transformation is replacing the traditional waterfall approach in order to project management — a linear process that front-loads the project with detailed planning and meticulous documentation — along with a more agile methodology, says Gundrey.
Agile processes are more iterative. Customers and end users are directly involved in the development cycle, with their feedback incorporated in every iteration, or sprint. This approach to project management improves success rates by creating a space for continuous innovation and improvement, even if project specifications evolve during the course of development. As organizations adopt agile methodologies, they also start to become learning organizations, with the team studying as much as they are developing during each sprint. This then better positions subsequent sprints.
Before digital transformation, the development process at Raytheon could take months, says Gundrey. The requirements-gathering process alone involved creating hundreds of pages of PowerPoint charts before the particular customer could even view a preliminary design.
Now, with a more agile approach leveraging electronic transformation, customers have greater visibility into the system earlier in the process, can see the relationship associated with requirements, and get a better view regarding preliminary designs. They can give feedback on styles and models in real time, requesting changes before Raytheon engineers invest time and money in building out prototypes that aren’t quite right. No PowerPoints required.
“We don’t have to stop our work to allow period for extensive formal checkpoints, ” Gundrey says. “Instead, our team plus our clients become incrementally smarter day by day time because the course of action allows for the more continuous flow involving iterations. ”
Another key digital transformation practice is integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to automate, or at least streamline and simplify, product advancement. At Raytheon, teams leverage model-based engineering to predict complex fluid, structural, in addition to thermal interactions in missile systems so engineers may better understand how a product will operate at hypersonic speeds. But any industry can use AI and even ML in order to help teams make better and smarter design choices and, ultimately, better products and experiences for consumers and end users.
Natural language processing technology, a new branch connected with AI that trains machines to realize human speech and writing, for example , can improve everything from customer support operations to be able to e-commerce product descriptions. AI and ML can also be used to improve and handle warehouse operations and data entry together with processing. During the early days of typically the pandemic, some banks relied on AI-powered robotic procedure automation for you to respond to the massive influx of Paycheck Protection Program applications and additionally rapidly file submissions towards the U. S. government.
A central goal of many digital transformations is connecting the data stored throughout the organization, making it easier to discover, access, not to mention leverage. This often will be achieved via a federated information model, an approach to data administration that creates a centralized see of this organization’s info, though it resides in disparate locations. By aligning data that was formerly siloed, while storing this at its source, files federation provides simple access to up-to-date records, allowing diverse teams to help collaborate through the development, manufacturing, and testing processes.
At companies like Raytheon, where security and also safety are a top concern, the data files must be organized and firewalled to ensure that only those with proper access might view classified information. Yet once implemented, a modern details architecture has also helped Raytheon’s groups navigate a global supply chain that continues to face challenges caused simply by the outbreak and ongoing political strife.
“We had data saved in multiple systems. There was data within our procurement program and facts in our risk management method. There was clearly data stored in each program’s master schedule, ” says Gundrey. “Now, our own supply string team is usually able to pull all of this data together and make use of AI as well as ML in order to better forecast material lead times and help us better plan our program activities. ”
These transformative technologies plus all-important information can almost all be linked via “digital thread, ” a communications architecture that will runs through the manufacturing method. By capturing and streaming data through the entire product lifecycle, the electronic digital thread integrates disparate a digital technologies in a holistic look at. People in addition to process, of course , remain central to this particular transition. As Gundrey says, “I want folks to be able to know of which as we’re building out this online thread, it’s all about often the people and the work processes that come along with that. ”
The benefits of digital camera transformation
For today’s companies, your benefits with digital transformation are considerable. In addition to linking and speeding up the product development period and giving teams richer and more relevant info, it can also help reduce risk.
At an individual business level, this specific could mean reducing the risk of disappointing an end user since the agile methodology helped clubs identify potential issues early in the exact design course of action. Using these iterative and collaborative approaches gives teams the ability for you to tackle complex design issues early on, preventing the chance of costly reworking later, and gives managers more foresight about how separate components will work with each other.
At some sort of global level, reduced danger could help enterprises roll out new technology that helps combat everything from climate change to national security concerns. Raytheon, for example , is using electric transformation to help speed up how the idea works with government partners. The goal is to help reduce an acquisition, growth, and production process the fact that currently takes 10 years to an astonishing 18 months, helping the particular company’s partners get brand new capabilities in to the field faster.
But the ultimate objective of online digital transformation is not just to digitize and reduces costs of internal procedures. It’s to enhance the experience of the people who make use of the technology and even rely on the techniques to do their own jobs. They now have more time to perform what machines can’t do: find out what’s keeping customers awake at night, develop innovative solutions to customers’ problems, together with collaborate along with internal and additionally external squads to make better company decisions.
“When we talk about internet transformation, eventually, we’re investing in people, ” says Gundrey. “We’re taking the monotony out of their jobs. We’re which makes it easier for them to put their particular brain power around the challenging analysis not to mention the design, and typically the real problem solving we need people to focus upon. ”
This content was produced by Insights, this custom content arm for MIT Technology Review. It was not written by MIT Technologies Review’s editorial staff.