One down-side of being human is the realization that not everyone can be considered a “team player”, even at a time of crisis when our entire species is being challenged. Whether creating and delivering key medical devices, critical industry products, or even a piece of software, we all need to focus equally on the potential influence of “bad actors”, as well as the efficiency of doing it right first time. There will be consequences if we don’t.
The rapid advancements and utilization of new technologies is simplifying everyone’s life, enabling us to do things quicker, more intelligently, and more efficiently. However, some people see this as being a way to exploit others. One instance of this is counterfeit electronic and mechanical goods, parts and assemblies. As manufacturers and counterfeiters try to out-smart each other with their respective detection and concealment efforts, costs and risk increase as a result. Instead, we should be considering ways to stop this cycle before a severe problem occurs.
The act of “putting out a fire” is associated with resolving an urgent problem. Afterward, we worry about the cause, the consequences, and what knowledge we can gain, or so we believe. Quite frequently, this next step is replaced by handling and putting out the next fire. The digital factory provides us the ability to prioritize quality “hot-spots” that require handling. However, in world-class organizations, we must ensure that we complete the additional step and do more than extinguish the flames.
Today’s discrete manufacturers are under pressure to meet two often-opposing objectives: delight customers with high-quality products, and continually reduce operational costs while doing it. This dichotomous situation leaves many manufacturers feeling as though they have to “choose” one outcome over the other, prioritizing either customers or costs—but not both.