Volume 2 Issue 7 June 2020
In this Issue
Welcome to Industree 4.0 for June 2020, exclusively sponsored by SAP. We lead off with a great article from Paul Barney of SAP. We've not heard from Paul here before. That is followed by regular columnists Pat Dixon and Jim Thompson. We'll wrap with other perspectives from around the industry.
By Paul Barney

Paper and Packaging Industry and Solution Expert, SAP
Pay Attention to the Human/Machine Interface when Implementing ERP
Implementing the latest technology can be nerve racking. Sometimes the people who interact with the current systems develop deep attachments and may be the challenge you overlooked!

I spent much of my career as Project Manager of SAP ERP implementations. These projects are known to be some of the most important transformations an organization can pursue. Often involving retiring of several legacy systems, disparate data transformations and migration, testing, training, and of course change management. Change management is often thought to be one of the lesser challenges, but for me it was often something that needed more attention than one might expect.

Working with a paper mill

Most of my project work has been in the Mill Products industries, in particular Paper and Packaging. My experiences at these plant locations was always very exciting and rewarding, but also full of interesting challenges. The typical profile of an employee at a paper mill as an example; I found to be someone with many years of experience and extremely knowledgeable on the process and expertise needed to keep the machines at maximum levels of production.

Plant Newsletter Showcases Long History, Pride and Experience

I recall during one of my earliest projects I found the plant newsletter which they published daily. On the top right corner, they had a section for service anniversaries. I was pretty impressed with high number of years of employment each of the names had beside them. It was very common to see employees with 30, 35 and even 40 years at the mill. This despite the fact that the mill itself had been through many acquisitions over those years. This level of experience was also very obvious in my conversations with the mill employees I interacted with. Pride and acumen are common traits in paper mill operators and managers. While the basic process of making paper is thousands of years old, they are continually looking to refine and optimize their individual parts of the process.

When paying your mill workers is not only about the money

A story I sometimes tell to illustrate how nerves and fear can be an overlooked project risk is a story about payroll direct deposit. Direct deposit of payroll checks is nothing new, but you might be surprised that some people still aren’t comfortable with it. One of my projects was implementing SAP HR as part of the overall ERP project and migrating to direct deposit was one of the design decisions taken. Unbeknown to me, I had users that were upset with this decision for some very personal reasons. As a result, they saw the SAP project overall in a negative light. This anger manifested itself in users taking it out on the system and the project at times. 

Surprising Reason for disrupting the Go Live

This situation caused some headaches during the implementation. I was troubleshooting the system in one situation shortly after the go-live weekend. The shipping department ran 24 hours a day and seemed to be running well on first and second shift, but third shift was consistently having problems. I couldn’t see any obvious technical issue, so eventually I had to personally work third shift and try to figure it out. It turned out that some users on third shift were particularly upset with the direct deposit function of the new system and were not using the system properl y as a result! Without sharing too much detail, some employees would have been just fine to cash checks at the bank directly and not have other family members knowing the exact amount of money coming in. This new process was causing some potential issues on the home front.  Obviously, this was a sensitive situation and one that warranted a deep discussion. Eventually we had good and open discussions with all the users and came to a better place for everyone.

Listen to your people

This story highlights why change management and paying close attention to the people side of your SAP projects is vital. It would have been much better for everyone to have realized and addressed the concerns before going live! We were lucky to discover the issue in a timely manner and also have management with good soft skills to address and comfort those resisting the new system. In the end, it was a simple solution that met everyone’s needs. SAP can still issue checks if you chose! I have lots of stories like this from many years of implementing SAP solutions. But they all have a similar message. Pay close attention to the users and listen closely to their concerns. Change is hard for most of us. In Mill Products implementations, there will likely be users with many years of experience. Be sure to step back and consider what might be difficult for them, but also for everyone impacted by the new system. A dedicated change management program is something I highly recommend as part of any transformative project. 
The Nucleus of Industry 4.0
By Pat Dixon, PE, PMP

President of 
www.DPAS-INC.com , offering project management and engineering for industrial automation projects.

The human race has been in an eternal search for the laws of nature. There came a time when the idea of the atom originated. People like Becquerel, Rutherford, Chadwick, Curie, Einstein, and others studied and tested to better understand the atom until the time came that we knew enough about it that we can use it, for better or worse. The result of this yielded capabilities such as the following:

  • Weapons
  • Energy
  • Medical imaging
  • Cancer treatment
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Identification of chemical compounds
  • Identification of the age of artifacts
  • Smoke detectors
  • Sterilization
  • Measuring weight of paper

Before the nuclear age, we had ways of doing many of these things. We could put a ream of paper on a scale and measure its weight. What is unique to the nuclear age is not what we can do, but how we do it. Now our Beta gauges, utilizing radioactive sources, can scan the sheet while the machine is running and give us a continuous online measurement of weight. The nuclear age gave use a new environment to live in with its benefits and caveats. The common attribute for products of the nuclear age is that they apply our understanding of the atom to give us these capabilities. Therefore, we can contrast these two eras as follows:

Pre-Nuclear (Does not apply the behavior of the atom)

No nuclear waste, rely on prior technology and power sources, unable to perform some medical diagnostics and treatments.

Nuclear (Applies our understanding of the atom)

Nuclear weapons, nuclear waste, nuclear energy, carbon dating, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), radiopharmaceuticals, medical imaging, smoke detectors, beta gauges, etc.

To be clear, if you were transported back in time and had to figure out what era you are in, you would not figure that out by measuring the weight of a ream of paper. You would see if radioactive isotopes are being used to measure it. If so, you are in the nuclear age.

Just as the nuclear era was an inflection point in how the world works, Industry 4.0 is an inflection point in how industry works. We have a new industrial environment. What is puzzling is how hard it is to define what that inflection point is. 

In prior articles, I have explained the Industry 4.0 Lexicon project I am leading. We are going through a Beta release right now, and I am getting some interesting feedback. What seems to be the biggest obstacle is a common understanding of what Industry 4.0 is, and more generally what the industrial eras are. It appears to me the core problem is that there is inconsistency in how we compare things.

At the risk of overdoing it, I am now going to try a geographical analogy.

I will assume many of you have been to the Grand Canyon or at least you have seen photos of it. The geological features of the Grand Canyon show obvious distinctions in the strata of rock. It is not obvious by looking at these layers which time period they represent, but clearly you can see they are different due to their color. The color is a result of what is in it. For example, the Hermit Shales layer is red due to the content of iron, and the Coconino Sandstone on top of it is a creamy (golden white) layer due to its quartz content. During these different periods, there were different life forms that came along and thrived in the new environment. There are long and complicated explanations of how the iron got into the Hermit layer and the quartz got into the Coconino layer, and there are many other things that happened during these periods, but the distinguishing attributes of each layer come down to the following:

Coconino Sandstone (Quartz)

Lizards, millipedes, scorpions

Hermit Shales (Iron)

Winged insects, reptiles, cone-bearing plants, ferns

If you were a geologist and were color blind, you could still tell which rock came from which era by looking at its attributes. If you find iron, it is Hermit. If it is quartz, it is Coconino. Regardless of what life forms thrived during these periods or other environmental characteristics, the contents of the rock are the distinguishing attributes that define these eras.

When we try to apply the same manner of categorization to industrial eras, we seem to have consistency until recently. The feedback we are receiving from the Beta release seems to suggest a lot of people see the industrial eras as follows:

Industry 0 (Muscle) Industry was powered by humans, animals.

Industry 1 (Steam) The piston engine of Newcomen, Leopold and Watt replaced muscle power with steam.

Industry 2 (Electricity) Edison and Tesla provided the means of harnessing electrical power for industrial use.

Industry 3 (Computers) Digital converters and processors enabled automation of human activities in industry (DCS, SCADA, etc.).

Industry 4 (Internet connectivity, using the cloud, embracing the latest technology, cheap and fast computing, data analysis and communications, sophisticated sensors and transmitters, wireless, sophisticated networking technology, security, open standards, exponential growth, much more)

What does it all mean?

We'll pick up here next month!
The Covid-19 Push
 There continue to be examples of the Covid-19 pandemic changing the way people work. In our industry, many mills initiated and are continuing to prohibit supplier technical service people from physically appearing at their facilities.

This situation just begs for rapid implementation of Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 will not only allow the suppliers to service their clients, it will allow the suppliers to give their technicians the opportunity to work from home or anywhere in the world.

In an Industry 4.0/5G world, the only prohibition to instantaneous help will be their prior commitments and time zone differences. Costs will be down, data analysis will improve and your problems will be solved quicker.

This will extend to safety issues as well. Better procedures and better analysis of safety failures should be expected. Additionally, should there be an accident, with some of the new products we see coming on line, your health and safety provider, such as a hospital or an ambulance service will be able to be summoned immediately and already start a diagnosis of the condition of the affected before they even arrive at the scene.

Covid-19 is likely pushing these advances ahead by five to ten years compared to having to wait for them to naturally evolve.
Harnessing IoT at the Edge to Deliver the Autonomous Digital Enterprise of the Future
By Sam Lakkundi

VP Innovation and Head, BMC Innovation Labs
Today’s up-and-coming autonomous digital enterprises recognize that the devices are not the end game. With every organization becoming a data-driven technology company by 2025, the true market leaders will be the ones that strategically harness IoT to effectively collect, analyze, and apply vast amounts of data faster and more intelligently than their competitors.
Machine Learning 101 in Predictive Maintenance
By Ramakrishna Reddy

Software Architect,
ML (machine Learning) has tremendous potential in industrial applications, especially in asset reliability and optimization. It makes reliability scalable and brings a richer perspective than a human alone can do, especially when considering multiple parameters. The best systems will include advanced ML algorithms combined with asset knowledge. If you are setting up a project that includes ML, think about the application and what data sets would be useful to include; use the knowledge within your organization to make the algorithms the best possible.
Is The Digital Transformation Changing Industry’s Approach to Quality?
By James R. Koelsch

A compilation from Automation World
An update to the Automation World survey on the use of automation for quality inspections detects some surprising changes in the era of digitalization. Quality may be becoming associated more with process feedback than classical inspection technologies.
Digital skills critical for Industry 4.0...A view from Australia
By David Braue
The vocational education and training (VET) sector must incorporate digital skills into its core curriculum, a pair of new industry reports have argued in advising the sector to embrace continuous training, micro-credentials and other self-development technologies.
Industree 4.0 is exclusively sponsored by SAP