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The Journey to Industry 4.0: Navigating the Convergence of Operations and IT

In the rapidly evolving world of industry and technology, companies are facing a new challenge in integrating their operations with the latest technological advancements. The challenge is especially significant for those in the manufacturing sector where production processes are often long-standing and traditional, and the integration of technology requires significant changes in the company’s operations. In a recent panel discussion, titled “The Convergence of Operations and the IT Function – How Technology-Based Solutions Can Drive EBITDA Growth” moderated by Ted Morgan, Partner at Plante Moran, three leading experts shared their insights on how to navigate this convergence.

The panelists included Rudy Minar, Partner at Mirus Capital Advisors, Lauren Dunford, CEO at Guidewheel, and Thomas N. Tullo, Founder and Managing Director at Range Light Capital. They discussed the impact of Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution, on operations and the IT function. Industry 4.0 is characterized by the integration of digital technologies into all areas of production, from design and engineering to manufacturing and logistics.

According to Rudy Minar, “Manufacturing has come a long way from the 1700s. Back then, it was all about manual labor and manual processes. Fast forward to today, and it’s all about data, automation, and technology.”

“Manufacturers that are PE owned, like private equity firms, are going to look at the narrative coming out of our 50-minute discussion and say, ‘‘Well, I’m not going to do that.” No one’s going to say that – they’re going to say, “Heck yeah, I’m in that – let’s do that!'” said Ted Morgan, summing up the discussion. The experts emphasized that despite the opportunities that Industry 4.0 presents, there are also significant challenges that must be overcome. The integration of technology into operations can lead to significant changes in processes, systems, and cultures, and companies must be prepared to adapt.

Thomas Tullo stressed the importance of empowering people at the forefront of the organization to drive innovation. “It’s very hard to drive centrally, it has to be driven from the outer parts of the organization,” Tullo said. “In my experience, whether it’s a large firm or a small firm, you want some empowerment going on there for people to sort of say, ‘Okay, I’ve got to fix this problem. Nobody from the central office is going to give me a solution. What can I do and what tools do I need to kind of help improve my line and the manufacturing plant?'”

Lauren Dunford echoed this sentiment, highlighting the importance of data-driven decision making in driving operational efficiency. “Data is the key, right? It’s all about data. You know, if you don’t have the data, you don’t have the insights, you don’t have the ability to drive the efficiencies that you’re trying to drive,” Dunford said.

In conclusion, the experts emphasized the importance of adapting to Industry 4.0 and integrating technology into operations. Companies must embrace change and be prepared to adapt their processes, systems, and cultures to realize the benefits of the fourth industrial revolution. By empowering people at the forefront of the organization and making data-driven decisions, companies can ensure they stay ahead of the curve and drive operational efficiency.

“Create the right tone, create the leadership, get out of the office, go walk the floor, and in the floor, meet people who are on the floor, feel like they are kind of getting recognized for their ideas and their innovation,” Tullo said. “Encourage them to use the technology that’s available to them and then kind of let them take the lead, I would say outside in right now is kind of the way it needs to go.”

Watch the full version here on our YouTube channel: Opus Connect Webinar: How Technology-Based Solutions Can Drive EBITDA Growth

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