Sramana Mitra: Can you speak about what’s happening in your space vis-à-vis automation? We hear from everywhere that factories are automating at a furious pace. What do you see from your vantage point?
John Davagian: I think there’re two major themes. It’s a pretty mature market, but the two that I would hit on are smart manufacturing and the connected frontline worker. The third is a subset of those two. It has to do with legacy technology. How is that holding the manufacturer back from achieving smart manufacturing of the smart factory and connecting the worker?
If we think of manufacturing as the need to align frontline teams and executive in a single platform, smart factory is how we got through a digital transformation within our plant or company. How do we use real-time data to make decisions? Those decisions could be how I swap a particular manufacturing line over from making product A to product B. I need to understand what’s coming through my supply chain. I need to understand what machines and productivity I have. I also need to know what machines are going to be operating and at what capacity levels.
The second piece is the connected worker. At the end of the day, manufacturing will always require workers but how do we arm those workers to be able to make better and informed decisions? How do we keep them trained and compliant? How do we connect them to this value chain? Those are the two major trends that I’m seeing.
Foundationally, what’s holding companies back from achieving a lot of that is legacy technology. As you know, on-premise monolithic platforms that are not flexible and require significant amount of IT aren’t adaptable or agile enough to service manufacturers to meet these goals and objectives.
Whether you’ve got manufacturers that are burdened by older platforms that require certain level hardware or IT investment, it holds them back; and they need to shift to the cloud. In some cases, there’s hybrid cloud. There’re some on-premise components potentially. By moving to the cloud, it enables them to achieve a smart factory and a connected worker.
Sramana Mitra: A bunch of points that I want to make there. How do you price? Is it on a per-machine or per-worker basis? Broadly speaking, if we are talking about more automation or more machine components and fewer manual work orders, what is the business that you’re building?
John Davagian: There’s really three personas that we’re selling to. We sell to the person who’s overseeing machine maintenance. Just like you said, the more automation, the more things need maintenance and the more things break.
The second persona is the operations leader. The operations leader is in charge of production and is held accountable to deliver a certain number of units and operate the facility at a certain level of efficiency. They’re focused on how to turn out products. Part of that focus is, am I getting the right quality raw materials and do I have the supply chain feeding me the right materials so I can keep the line going? Is engineering giving me specs so that I could build with a high level of quality?
The third persona is the executive or the plant leader. They’re the ones who are overseeing both aspects of this. They’re making decisions as to adding capacity through machines. They need to understand how the current organization is operating.
When you think about it through that lens of who we’re selling to, you also realize that manufacturing needs to reduce the friction points. Essentially how do we create more automation. It falls squarely in the middle of what our value proposition is. Our value proposition is to enable these three personas to be able to do more and be armed with data and a solution that gives them the ability to take action on what needs to be done. That action comes in from some of the use cases that I mentioned before.