The Future of Manufacturing Is a Journey, Not a Destination, SMS Speakers Say

The concept of a never-ending journey, rather than an endpoint, serves as a powerful mantra for the U.S. manufacturing sector’s comeback.

Who: Terrence Hahn, President and CEO, Honeywell Transportation Systems

What: A $3.6 billion global business, HTS develops and manufactures innovative automotive technologies, including the Garrett Turbochargers.

“[Smart manufacturing] is an opportunity to build off of strengths that you have.”

On building on legacy systems: This is an opportunity to build off of strengths that you have. Everybody in this room is a leader because [he or she] defined a business model and led a team to be successful in executing that. The smart manufacturing environment is now putting new tools in that maybe accelerate the pace at which you can execute those business models. Having that information on hand is extremely important, but it doesn’t mean you have to abandon what you have in place. It’s really about looking at your vision for the future and then working backwards to the point you are today, rather than, “Where am I today, and where [are] all the places I could go?” The latter sometimes leads to people not ending up in the place they had ultimately envisioned. The same thing is true with IT systems; map out where you want to go so that people are collecting information in the right way.

On the talent component: Once you’ve created your vision of the future and you know your strategy to get there, you need to think about how you’re developing the talent to make that happen. In the pre-smart manufacturing world, the floor supervisor potentially became the supervisor of a set of groups or a part of the building and then [he or she] became in charge of the plant, then all the plants and so on. The skill set was just handling larger and larger organizations and to really seeing your entire product line. Now, that manufacturing leadership career path [must] touch many other places. Has a manufacturing leader been in an IT organization to understand that? Has a manufacturing-leadership candidate been in an engineering or technology organization? Have they had exposure to applications engineering?

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