Some thoughts on the future factory

Often when I’m talking with engineers working in factory maintenance, I put to them the question, “What do you want to spend your time on at work?” Their answers usually boil down to the same thing: “Solving problems.” By this they mean fixing machinery, installing and inspecting equipment, interacting with their teams, and doing what they can to improve OEE. Conversely, no one ever says, “Creating paperwork”, although most do reluctantly acknowledge the importance of implementing work processes.

I believe that if we want to improve and empower maintenance teams, we must find solutions that allow them to focus on the work that brought them to the industry in the first place.

The factory of the future isn’t just automation and smart sensors. It’s filled with effective employees doing work that adds tangible value to their organisations. One of the benefits of technology is its ability to eliminate dull work, so let’s use it to get teams working on what they’re best at, and help reduce the time they spend on processes they hate. Factories will have happier employees, OEE will rise, and factories will reduce waste.  

 - Mark Fosdike