Episode 12 - Smart Factory @ Wichita

Episode 12 March 07, 2023 00:18:28
Episode 12 - Smart Factory @ Wichita
Forward Together
Episode 12 - Smart Factory @ Wichita

Mar 07 2023 | 00:18:28


Show Notes

Join me for a conversation with Stephen Laaper, a principal at Deloitte Consulting, when we talk about Smart Factory @ Wichita, a groundbreaking, immersive learning environment for business leaders to experience smart manufacturing solutions. The “Forward Together” podcast celebrates the vision and mission of Wichita State University. In each episode, President Rick Muma will talk with […]
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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:07 My guest today is Steven Lauper from Deloitte Smart Factory at Wichita State Smart Factory, opened on Wichita State's innovation campus in summer 2022, and is a marvel of innovation and opportunity. It's the front door for businesses who want to improve efficiencies and sustainability to come to Wssu and develop the next generation factory floor. All right. It's good to see you today, Steven. Thank you for, for being here. We're doing things a little bit different today. We're doing this virtually, so you're coming to us from Boston, how things going with you today. Speaker 2 00:00:39 Oh, things are fantastic. It's, it's great to be here today, Rick, and, and really looking forward to, uh, to our conversation. Speaker 1 00:00:45 Well, great. So, well, let's get, uh, right to the questions. Um, uh, you know, one of the things that, that the listeners may not know is that we, um, uh, partnered with Deloitte and the Smart Factory on our campus, which is really unique in terms of, of what you see, uh, on university campuses. So can you tell us, uh, just real quickly, what exactly is, uh, the Smart factory at Wichita and what is it that you hope to gain, um, from this, uh, relationship that we have here on campus? Speaker 2 00:01:18 Yeah. The, the, the Smart Factory at Wichita is a purpose-built facility. Uh, we recognized that many of our clients today and and manufacturers at large really struggle with a lot of the concepts of application of Industry 4.0, application of Smart Factory. Um, many, many times we would be asked, um, you know, can I see Smart Factory? Can I see Industry 4.0? And of course, we have a lot of different places that we can take, um, interested parties to, to kind of demonstrate, you know, this is what Industry 4.0 looks like, or this is what Smart Factory looks like. The challenge often is that, that those are in sometimes remote, but in manufacturing facilities where their primary objective is really manufacturing goods, building goods, it's less about the experience. It's less about demonstrating those types of capabilities. So in that, um, our concept for the Smart Factory, which ultimately became the smart factory at Wichita, was born to be able to bring together true manufacturing along with an experiential element. So our guests to the Smart factory can, can see, can touch, can believe in what, uh, what Smart Factory and Industry 4.0 holds, uh, holds its potential for them in their organizations. Speaker 1 00:02:35 So you just said Industry 4.0, um, and now not all the listeners may understand what that is. Can you just briefly explain what, what you mean by that? When you say 4.0 or we, we, some people say 4.0 or, or whatever. Um, if you could just talk about that a little bit. Speaker 2 00:02:53 Absolutely. And, and, and I, it, it'd be, it'd be appropriate for me to recognize there's a lot of different vernaculars that come into play when we talk about Industry 4.0 when we talk about Smart Factory, essentially. Um, what what that is, is organizations leveraging the immense data and information that's contained in their manufacturing systems, in their supply chains, uh, connectivity to other trading partners, uh, in their, in their value chain, connecting that data and information to information that typically resides a little bit more in the enterprise systems. Um, oftentimes we, we, we refer to this as the merger between the operational technologies and the information technologies, uh, that, that are existent in most organizations, but, but generally have grown up as, as somewhat separate entities. On top of that, we're applying all sorts of different treatments to, uh, to data. Um, very common. It's often, it's very common for people to talk about artificial intelligence in this, in this context, but it's also important to drill in a little bit deeper on that. It's things like machine learning. Uh, it's things like recommendation engines so that an operator can better understand the different types of parameters that might best optimize their, their machine. It's, it's really a quite exciting space. Um, it's, it's also in many ways, um, just getting started. Speaker 1 00:04:15 Yeah. And, and when people can think about Industry 4.0 or 4.0, um, it's almost, uh, a three-dimensional kind of view of, um, technology and where industry is moving as opposed to Industry 3.0 and 2.0, um, which is more two-dimensional, um, kind of, uh, uh, uh, a way to look at it. And I don't know if, if you agree with that or not, but if you don't further, you might wanna further elaborate on that as well, so people understand kind of how we got to 4.0. Speaker 2 00:04:48 Yeah. A a absolutely. And I think something that's really important to recognize is the influence of different types of technologies that are driving, uh, that, that the power of the combination between the operational technologies such as robots, PLCs and whatnot, and the information technology. Um, there are advanced data treatments, of course, as I, as I just mentioned, but it also, when we, when we talk about the different dimensions that come into play here, most organizations are also recognizing that the capabilities that they need to be able to successfully execute their strategies around, around Smart Factory and Industry 4.0 are really built on an ecosystem. And that's a really important feature that we have built into the smart factory at Wichita. We have a ecosystem that is 20 companies strong, uh, that allows us to bring the best and the brightest of innovations, um, and be able to scale those, uh, for, for organizations that are, are, are headed down this path. Speaker 2 00:05:45 It's also really important to think about the, um, you know, the, the different types of capabilities that are coming into play in terms of the virtualization of, of, of manufacturing. And, you know, your listeners might think, well, virtualizing manufacturing things still have to physically get made. Absolutely right. Things are still physically getting made in the physical world, but when we can create 3d, um, you know, dimensional, uh, three-dimensional, uh, uh, uh, industry scale, um, models that allow us to run advanced simulations that allow us to run advanced, uh, data treatments on real world inputs, uh, organizations can make, uh, make, make decisions that optimize their manufacturing, optimize, uh, their value chains, and ultimately, you know, the, the end customer is, uh, is the benefit of that with higher quality products lower at, at a lower cost. So those are just a few of the elements that are really starting to come together that, that are powering, um, this, uh, this, this, this industry 4.0. Or of course, people also refer to it as, uh, as Smart Factory. Speaker 1 00:06:56 So when I talked to folks about, um, you all being here on campus, you know, that's a little bit surprising to them. And and I always say, you know, Deloitte's a a really large, um, international company, multinational company. They could have done this anywhere. Yeah, yeah. Theoretically done it anywhere. So why did you choose Wichita and Wichita State to, to partner on this? Speaker 2 00:07:21 Yeah, it's a, it's a great question and, and, uh, quite an exciting journey over really has now transpired over, uh, the last four and a half years. Uh, we recognize the need that I spoke about to be able to bring organizations to a, to a physical place that is combination real manufacturing, combined with the experiential elements so that they can truly immerse themselves. Um, what we didn't know four and a half years ago, uh, was exactly the form that that would take. Um, we, uh, undertook, uh, what we like to call, uh, a test and learn. Uh, we established, uh, relationships with, uh, a number of different entities and, and it's fair to call out that, that they weren't all universities. Uh, at the time. We, we, we, we didn't know that that was ultimately the path that we were gonna gonna head down. So we partnered with, uh, uh, private, private entities. Speaker 2 00:08:13 We prior, we partnered with some governmental agencies and with some universities in a series of, of, of, as I called them, test and learns. And there we were establishing an understanding of, you know, what, what do, what does Deloitte bring to the party? Um, what are potential, uh, options for the ecosystem with each one of those, uh, those, those, those options, those choices, um, what does that entity bring to the, bring to the table? And ultimately, um, it, it became very quick, uh, very apparent, uh, to our evaluation team that not only would we do this with a university, but that, um, Wichita State University was a clear standout, uh, amongst, uh, amongst, uh, the others as it related to all of those, those factors coming, coming together. Speaker 1 00:09:01 Yeah. Um, and so, uh, opened up this past June. Um, how, tell us a little bit more about how the collaboration works. Um, what, what have, what are, what have you, um, realized has helped, um, move this forward and, um, uh, you know, that conclude in student interactions and that sort of thing, faculty interactions, if you could talk a little bit more about that too. Speaker 2 00:09:28 Yeah, so a little bit about the, uh, the, the, the experiences and, uh, as you mentioned, of course opening, um, in, uh, in, in 2022, uh, really exciting event for us. We, we have spent most of, um, most of 2022, uh, hosting, uh, organizations. Um, as, uh, as, uh, as you referenced, of course, in June, we, we held our, our, our, our grand opening, um, and which we, uh, we invited a number of different, uh, manufacturing organizations, a number of different members of our ecosystem and others, uh, for a, uh, for, for a very, uh, a very special event, uh, really to get things started. Um, we expect that, um, we'll be bringing, uh, upwards of 5,000, uh, visitors through the smart factory at which, uh, um, over the course of, uh, of, of 2023, um, it's an opportunity for, for organizations to really immerse themselves in smart factory technologies, uh, gives them the opportunity to really understand, um, how that can impact their organization. Speaker 2 00:10:30 Essential to that are, are really a, a few important characteristics that come through on the innovation campus. Um, the student involvement is such an incredible, incredibly important part. And, and ultimately when we, you know, kind of went through our decision process of, you know, where would we, where would we choose to invest and partner, uh, from a smart factory standpoint, this is one of the areas that, uh, that WSU stood out clearly. Um, the applied learning program is, uh, is an enormously powerful, um, uh, an enormously powerful, um, mechanism, uh, not only for the education of students and direct applicability to, um, in this case, um, you know, challenges that, that, um, organizations are, are, are trying to solve for. Uh, but it also allows us the opportunity to really get to know, uh, a number of, uh, what we have found to be incredibly high caliber students, uh, through direct, uh, engagement with them. Um, having them work on projects inside, uh, the smart factory at Wichita, and in many cases, um, directly engaging with our, with our clients and our guests that come to, uh, the Smart factory for, for a day long experience. Speaker 1 00:11:44 Yeah, and I've been on tours, uh, of the facility numerous times, and we have a number of students who, uh, I run into on those tours. I'm so impressed with the fact that you do let them not only work on special projects, but engage with your clients. Um, and, you know, those fresh ideas, you know, they're learning alongside of you. And, um, and of course, the what they bring from the classroom is, is just such a great opportunity for our students that they, they're just not gonna get anything like that anywhere else. And of course, there's not a lot of smart factors around the world, but, um, especially, um, the, the, the fact that that's here and that they can, um, extend some of their learning environment to your facility is, is just incredible, uh, experience for them. Speaker 2 00:12:33 I'll point out as well that, um, many of our guests, um, you know, many of them multinational organizations that are coming to Wichita for, for, for the Smart Factory experience, um, them being able to hear directly from the students is also incredibly powerful for them. Cause they're all, they, they as as entities are all struggling with, uh, finding the right talent, finding the right skills in the marketplace. And here now when they're coming to the smart factor, Wichita, not only they're, they're meeting Deloitte, they're meeting our ecosystem, but they're meeting that next generation of talent. And, uh, that's an incredibly exciting moment for, for our guests as well, to be able to experience that. Um, it's truly a, a, a, a very powerful combination. And, and, and, uh, in many instances, I think we've seen where, um, this is gonna have momentum, uh, going, going, going forward. Speaker 1 00:13:23 Yeah. And it's so great to hear that because, you know, our number two priority at the institution is to be mindful of the talent pipeline helping our business and industry partners, uh, with that. And so it's great that, that that's being reinforced, um, with your clients. So what do you see the future of the, of the Smart factory and, and what you're doing? I'm sure there'll be additional iterations, not only here, but somewhere else. Um, talked a little bit about that. Speaker 2 00:13:49 So, uh, as you point out there, uh, there are a number of different areas in which, uh, the Smart factory is expanding some of those directly right there in Wichita. Others, um, having global reach. So, uh, the smart factory at Wichita is clearly our flagship, um, smart factory facility. Um, this is, um, it's, it's the largest, uh, it's the most comprehensive and, uh, and it's, um, it's, uh, it's, it's, it's mission is probably the, the, the most expansive, uh, we have built additional smart factories around the world. Uh, and we will be over the course of the, the 2023 effectively, um, enhancing the connectivity amongst those smart factories. So we'll be connecting, um, Wichita, uh, to Dusseldorf, Germany to Kyoto and Tokyo, Japan, uh, to, uh, a number of other, uh, facilities that we will be, uh, bringing online, um, in the, uh, in, in, in the coming, uh, months and, and years. Speaker 2 00:14:45 Um, when we think about the expansion in Wichita specifically, I mentioned a couple times the importance of the ecosystem. Um, the ecosystem really represents all of the different organizations and entities, uh, that are, that are there in the building with us. Uh, they are hand in hand in the solutions. Uh, they're hand in hand in the collaboration and in the innovation around Smart Factory and Industry 4.0. That ecosystem will continue to grow. Uh, we're seeing from our guests that, uh, that, you know, they, they absolutely see that as a powerful component of their very own, uh, smart factory strategies. And, uh, we will, uh, continue to, um, include additional ecosystem members, um, in, uh, in Wichita. So we're really excited about that. And then lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that, um, we, we do make a physical product in, in Wichita. Uh, we make a Smart Rover. Uh, that Smart Rover is, um, is really, the manufacturing of that Smart Rover is really used as the backdrop for a lot of the industry 4.0 and Smart factory demonstrations. Uh, that Rover, uh, is then, um, kitted up and it's donated to, uh, a number of different, um, schools, middle schools, uh, around the country, uh, including Wichita, uh, Philadelphia and Detroit as some of our initial launch, uh, launch Cities. Speaker 1 00:16:06 Yeah. And one of the most impressive things about your organization is that not only are you trying to help industry move forward in smart manufacturing, there's also this altruistic approach to how you do business and making sure that you're given back to the, to the community and, um, and, you know, help, uh, influence the next generation of, of, of leaders, uh, STEM professionals, um, others that work alongside you in the future, which is so impressive. And, uh, one of the, the, the other things that I think is, is great is that, at least in Wichita and in our school district, we have a lot of students who may not have that opportunity otherwise because of their demographics or income status or whatever. And, and we have this, uh, this opportunity for them to learn in this way that, that, I don't think that's, it's really seen anywhere else that I'm familiar with in, in this way. Well, I, it is great talking to you and, and, and, um, hearing more, uh, about this for our listeners. Is there anything else that you wanna share before we close out this particular podcast? Speaker 2 00:17:14 Well, certainly enjoyed our, our conversation today, Rick, and, uh, it's been an incredibly exciting journey. I know, um, on behalf of Deloitte and our, our ecosystem, uh, we're incredibly excited to be partnering with you on the, uh, on the innovation campus there at, at Wichita State University, and, uh, really looking forward to, um, where we, uh, go in 2023 and beyond. Speaker 1 00:17:34 Yeah. And likewise, we we're so excited about the partnership and continue to, uh, be excited about how we might, uh, grow in the future in this area and, um, and looking forward to that. So thank you so much for being here, Stephen, and, um, stay warm where you are and in Boston, and, um, we'll see you soon. Excellent. Take care for our next edition of Forward Together, I'll talk with John Mendez, retired c i a Intelligence Officer and former chief of disguise. Thank you for joining me today and remember to rate, review, and subscribe wherever you listen to the Thor Together podcast.

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