Q. What do you see is the core value of your book? What are the key messages/points of emphasis it is intending to communicate? Please explain.
A. The emerging frontier for industrial innovation points at exciting changes likely to revolutionize the business of manufacturing. For automation suppliers, there are significant opportunities for new value in the digital plant, IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), and the prevention of safety incidents. For incumbent automation suppliers, there are opportunities to pursuing innovations that could spawn new users of automation platforms, transform legacy business models, and create more recession-proof revenue streams. Embracing new innovation opportunities requires structured frameworks and strategic approaches to manage known risks and improve bias for success. The core message of the book is it’s high time for manufacturing automation to strive for leadership in driving transformative industrial innovation for manufacturing industry.
Q. Why were you inspired/motivated to write it?
A. Process automation systems are fundamentally profound: digitizing the physical state of a world-scale plant in real time, manipulating digital models of that plant and its manufacturing process to optimize economic value, and then changing the state of the plant for economic benefit. However, the automation industry was failing to deliver on expected ROI while losing prestige as an engine of innovation. I was inspired to write a book to galvanize manufacturers and automation professionals and emphasize innovation as the key for unlocking new business value through adoption of proven frameworks from other sectors of unrelenting transformative innovation.
Q. What challenge or set of challenges is the book trying to address or solve? What practical knowledge and applications can be gained by reading it?
A. This book brings a positive, optimistic message for industrial innovation. The underlying theme is manufacturing renaissance, powered by emerging technologies and reinforced by the industry being perceived as regaining its innovative edge. At the heart of manufacturing technology are process automation systems that are foundational enablers for managing and controlling the operating cost of manufacturing assets, the consumption of raw materials and energy, and the presence of unsafe and dangerous conditions. Manufacturers expect safer automation of larger plants. The book guides automation suppliers to adopt agility as a basis for competitive innovation, with disciplined adoption of methods for agility to take hold across the company and to address manufacturing safety and security.
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Q. What makes this book different than other books on the subject? What differentiates it?
A. This book is written to be accessible to executives as well as technologists. It uniquely connects business perspectives of manufacturers to those of automation suppliers, and innovation perspectives of automation executives to those of automation technologists. After reading this book, automation executives should be equipped to expect more from their technologists, while automation technologists should be emboldened to point out missed business opportunities and demand deeper executive commitment and sponsorship.
The book is written as a toolkit for practitioners. It includes a business value framework for automation executives to drive innovation. It also provides a holistic architecting framework for automation technologists to manage complexity and accelerate convergence of solutions for safe manufacturing and production.
Q. Are there any specific sections/aspects of the book do you feel are the most compelling to highlight in the press release?
A. Each chapter in the book offers a refreshing, if not contra-conventional, perspective on innovation. Manufacturing executives and automation professionals will likely take away new competitive awareness from the Automation Value Stack. From a company-specific perspective, the implied opportunities, threats and blind-spots to business models, and supply chains should alert automation professionals to pockets of value-chain vulnerability from competitors.
The concluding chapter offers a more exciting perspective for both manufacturers and automation professionals. Not only must process automation play its role in industrial innovation, but it must also do so to transform manufacturing and unlock business opportunities and new technology possibilities.
Q. Do you have any other comments to make about the book that can help highlight its value, benefits, advantages?
A. The book segues to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), identifying new business value opportunities for manufacturing automation. For manufacturers, there are business value opportunities in the extended supply chain. For automation professionals, the fundamental capabilities for successful industrial innovation are also foundational enablers for IIoT innovation.