CEO to CEO Series: Every manufacturer must become an AI company

January 25, 2019 | Phil Morris | CEO & Co-Founder

As CEOs, we are the leaders of the next industrial revolution.

With this wave of innovation, digital technologies and artificial intelligence will be the fuel that drives productivity. But, in order to fully realize the value of AI, it can't exist in a vacuum; it requires a new mindset. 

To drive AI leadership, CEOs must "pick the right opportunities and set a mindset of experimentation."
Norm Judah (CTO, Microsoft Services)

As AI innovation creates sweeping new business models in established industries, my experience as the CEO of a data services company for the manufacturing industry, tells me that CEOs must lead the AI charge from the front - actively educating themselves and their teams - and truly embracing the opportunity.

If not, you run the risk of becoming unable to compete.

Competitors will take advantage of new opportunities that they find in the volumes of data that a manufacturer produces every single minute. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ your competitors will do this, but ‘when’. And, if you will be too late to catch up…

Over the coming months, I’m going to share some ideas, as part of our CEO to CEO Series, on how you can put the data generated by your production lines to valuable use.

Here are two:

  1. Reducing Defects – AI techniques can determine if a process is in or out of normal operating limits. This is so much more than SPC charts which only examine a single variable over time. There are many occasions where all variables are within their individual control limits, but different combinations make good product and others make bad product, or lower yields. By collecting this data from the historian or data logger and correlating it with yield, QA results, and any other relevant variables such as ambient temperature, humidity, operator, etc, analytic models can be trained to alert operators when a line is operating in a sub-optimal “zone.” It can even suggest changes.
  2. Optimizing Unplanned Downtime – When an unplanned outage occurs in a highly-utilized, well-balanced production process, your downstream processes are also impacted. What if you could instantly re-plan all your PM (planned maintenance) to take advantage of the inevitable downstream line-down situation? AI can generate a ranking of work orders with confidence intervals for completing the work within the outage window and share it with everyone as soon as the incident occurs.

These are just a couple of ideas to get the creative juices flowing.

What are you doing to prepare?

If you think you can sit on the sidelines and wait, guess again. As Hugh Keough used to say, “The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; but that is the way to bet.”

Industry 4.0 - the fourth industrial revolution - promises tremendous strategic advantages to those companies with innovation, curiosity and perseverance. It’s not as difficult to get started as you might fear.

Want to discuss how you can start using AI in as little as 6 weeks?

Connect with me on LinkedIn and let’s talk.


Phil Morris | CEO & Co-Founder

Phil is responsible for defining and executing the business strategy and strategic alliances for Mariner. Phil has spent 25 years in manufacturing information technology responsible for both administrative and factory floor systems.