Make no mistake about it: Ford Motor Co. is keenly targeted on Trade 4.0, inspecting how and the place to make use of digital operations and superior applied sciences to make the 117-year-old automaker higher, extra aggressive and ever extra resilient.
It’s a difficult enterprise, and Mike Mikula performs a key function in making it occur. Mikula is international chief engineer in Ford Motor Co.’s superior manufacturing group, and his tasks embrace introducing know-how in sensible methods to deal with each current challenges in addition to pursuing new methods to make use of superior applied sciences.
On Dec. 3 Mikula will current a keynote deal with, titled Ford’s Journey to Digital, at IndustryWeek’s Manufacturing & Technology Virtual, the place he’ll talk about how Ford is leveraging its lengthy historical past of steady enchancment to rework right into a globally scaled digital operations ecosystem.
Prematurely of that presentation, Mikula shared his ideas on a few questions introduced to him by IW. Listed below are his responses.
IW: You’ve gotten a strong operations background, together with stints as a plant supervisor and assistant plant supervisor. How do you suppose that background helps you within the place you maintain at this time, wherein know-how performs such a giant function?
Mikula: I’ve frolicked not solely inside operations, however have expertise in all ranges of operations, from manufacturing supervisor up to plant supervisor. This expertise gives me with the chance to be extra instinctive when evaluating the stream via worth of know-how options to the operations. It additionally gives me with perspective in respect to the adoption challenges which are tied to organizational tradition and other people expertise.
IW: What’s a technique wherein lean manufacturing, wherein Ford and automotive are leaders, influences your pondering and choices about how and/or the place to make use of know-how?
Mikula: The coaching and expertise I’ve round lean manufacturing has had a major affect on how and after we resolve to introduce displacing options. It’s crucial to lean a course of out first, then leverage know-how to additional optimize. In the event you drive a know-how answer to displace an inefficient legacy technique, you may inadvertently lure waste.
IW: What’s the main takeaway you want to see viewers members depart your keynote deal with with?
Mikula: Ford have been on the Trade 4.0 journey for a number of many years. We have now an aligned imaginative and prescient round how Trade 4.0 will drive a aggressive benefit round Ford’s relationships with folks, together with the purchasers, provider companions, workers and distribution community.
IW: Have you ever ever determined to implement a know-how and then found that it wasn’t going to work as projected? If sure, what did you study from that effort?
Mikula: That is an extremely dynamic time in our business. In an effort to transfer on the velocity essential to be aggressive, it’s inevitable that you should have some ‘swing and misses.’ You should be humble sufficient to acknowledge them after they occur to keep away from investing finite sources right into a low(er) or no worth answer. Don’t dwell on why the outcomes weren’t as worthwhile as anticipated. Deal with persevering with to converge in your imaginative and prescient.
Picture caption: Ford was tapping four-legged robots at its Van Dyke Transmission Plant in early August to laser scan the plant. These robots may be deployed into tough-to-reach areas throughout the plant to scan the realm with laser scanners and high-definition cameras.