Cisco Canada Blog

Simplifying Digital Transformation with JMP Engineering

June 23, 2017

Digital transformation. Those words are simultaneously the most important and most confusing for today’s organizations. And in the manufacturing industry, similar, but distinct, terms such as the Industrial Internet, Industry 4.0, and the Internet of Things only add to this confusion.

The impact of this confusion is real. Canadian manufacturers are adopting digital solutions slower than global counterparts, a trend which will result in production being slower and more expensive for customers in Canada than other nations.

In an attempt to simplify digital transformation and get advice on how Canadian manufacturers can begin adopting these solutions, I sat down with Steve Szamocki, EVP of sales and marketing for London, Ontario-based JMP Engineering. Fresh off a major IoT makeover of the Rogers Centre retractable roof in Toronto, Steve was able to shed some light on how JMP helps customers define and assess their digital projects.

Related: Are Canadian manufacturers ready for Industry 4.0? Sadly, the answer is no. | Rogers Centre’s Iconic Roof Gets an IoT makeover

(And for what it’s worth, at Cisco we define digital transformation as the application of technology to build new business models, processes, software, and systems that results in more profitable revenue, greater competitive advantage, and higher efficiency.)

Jennifer Rideout: Digital transformation and Industry 4.0 can be intimidating concepts for manufacturers. How do you simplify these projects?

Steve Szamocki: First, we start with defining the true business need. Our approach is: define the current state of things and define the future state of things. Is a customer trying to reduce downtime and increase throughput, improve quality, increase regulatory compliance, reduce cost, reduce time to market, improve safety, reduce risk? All of these items have an expected payback model associated with them and that is why we start with the business need. How do they accomplish things today and how will they accomplish things going forward?

After defining the business need, we bring subject matter experts onsite to perform a formal assessment for that particular business need. After the on-site assessment, we define an ROI model and the project scope.

Also, and this is key, we develop our client’s formal three-to-five year smart manufacturing roadmap. Throughout each step, we prioritize making this transformation easy and painless for our clients.

Image provided by JMP Engineering

JR: What is your advice for manufacturers who don’t believe they need to upgrade operational and information technologies?

SS: The train is leaving the station. They can either get on now, or wait and join the countless other companies that missed technology inflection points. 

The market is riddled with companies that did not see change coming. In the end, all manufacturers have a choice: reshape themselves or not. I recommend that all company leaders who do not think they need to change to read “Great by Choice” by Jim Collins.

On the other hand, if a manufacturer does want to change, they need to build a roadmap. They need a formal and documented plan that spans at least three years. Digital transformation takes time. Start small, create some wins, build momentum, and start with projects that have measurable returns.

My thanks to Steve for taking the time to share his thoughts on digital transformation. If you have advice you’d like to share, leave a comment below.

Want to know more about the Rogers Centre’s IoT roof makeover? Get the full story here.


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