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Five of our Sandalwood Engineering & Ergonomics team members, Director of Systems Integration Paul Lagroix, Systems Integration Manager Brent Severn, Systems Integration Associate Bob Sloma, Injury Prevention Manager Dan Mines and Systems Engineering Associate John Osborn Jr. are attending the Manufacturing and Technology Conference in Pittsburgh PA from April 1 – 3, 2019

Check out the Day 2 recap from John Osborn Jr. for insights and happenings from the conference!

Day two was yet another action packed day of smart manufacturing discussions. However, the second day we stepped away from the long workshops, and went to more of a short, breakout session format. The day was split into four breakout sessions, covering every aspect of manufacturing imaginable. Bob and I started the day with a session on “Talent over Tech: How Leadership and Culture Win the Industrial Technology Race.”  This was a dive into how to effectively lead your team/group/company, into the massive technology changes of the forefront, without frightening employees with change. This session was lead by Jerry Foster of Plex systems. I captured a couple of Jerry’s more interesting quotes below

“Technology is like a steamroller; you can either drive or get ran over”

“Changing culture is a never ending journey, a continuous improvement”

Another great session I attended was titled “Supercharge your culture: How to change your approach to drive better results”

This focused on how the leader, Mark Whitten of Martinrea International, was able to go into an old, dilapidated plant, and through great leadership, with the use of smart technology, was able to turn the culture around and make the plant a contributor to the company mission, rather than a drain on the budget. The best takeaway, in my opinion, from this was how to lead by example, and how to effectively engage employees. A few highlights are shown below

  1. Managers need to “pick up the garbage”
    • Lead by example, if a manager walks by a piece of garbage, why would the anyone else feel the need to stop and pick it up?
  2. Have three WIGs (Wildly Important Goals) for each year
    • Any more gets too muddy, so set 3 and do something everyday to work toward them.
  3. Managers should have a personal relationship with every employee
    • Mark sat down with all 200 employees, individually for a half hour and got to know each one of them. He said this was the most rewarding thing he has done, in his entire career.
  4. Leaders lead, every minute of every day
    • Leading by example doesn’t stop when you leave the office. Always be the person you want your employees to be, because you never know when your paths will cross

One more topic I sat in on was “The connected Machine Shop – Building the Digital Thread” which was a discussion lead by Bijal Patel of Sandvik Coromant. This was a great discussion bases on how we can connect to our machines remotely, and bring in all types of data, sitting in the office, at home, or anywhere we might be.

We also touched on the concept of Industry 4.0. I learned that the “Industry 4.0” name came from the concept that we are in the midst of the 4th industrial revolution.

  1. Water and steam power
  2. Electrically powered mass production
  3. Electronics and IT in manufacturing
  4. Cyber-Physical systems (Industry 4.0)

We talked about how important it is to “put sensors in the rubber.” Essentially, if we want to know what is going on with the grip of a tire, we currently have sensors for air pressure, turning angle, accelerometers, etc. but there isn’t a sensor directly in the rubber of the tire, until now. Sandvik Coromant is changing this, by putting sensors and readers directly into the tooling, so we can capture data, and understand what is going on with tooling, and a very precise level.

A few other sessions some Sandalwoodians attended, included things like:

  1. Industry 4.0 People Strategy: Onboarding, Upskilling and Retirement Management
  2. How Digitalization Rewrites the Rules for Continuous Improvement
  3. Driving Business Value Through Your Digital Transformation


Finally, once the breakout sessions wrapped up, we attended a social reception at Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers and University of Pittsburgh Panthers. This lead to some great, relaxed conversation with industry experts. The event was capped off with a tour of Heinz Field, highlighted by walking through the team locker room, where us Detroit Lions fans finally got to see what a Lombardi Trophy looks like.

Day 3 is scripted for some enticing deep dives, more to come!