Voices from the industry: 7 quotes from 2020

Dec. 8, 2020
Here’s the final word from industry colleagues who rose to the challenge of navigating a difficult year.

What a year it has been! I’ve had the unique opportunity of starting a new job in the midst of the pandemic, and could not be more thankful for the opportunities and experiences I have ahead of me. I’ve enjoyed learning more about the maintenance and reliability side of manufacturing so far, and hopefully, you’ll be hearing more from me in 2021. I’m amazed by the stories of manufacturers that have preserved. Some have completely pivoted their businesses, and most are finding way to protect the industry and their workers.

Big Picture Interview

This article is part of our monthly Big Picture Interview column. Read more interviews from our monthly Big Picture series.

“If you don’t feel that your role is 100% COVID-safe, then there’s always going to be an internal conflict between the need to work and the need to stay safe. There has been this narrative in the media over the last six months that every job is now a remote job, and that’s just not the case. For jobs in manufacturing, production, and distribution, there is no digital equivalent. Your job requires physical presence.”
Dan Johnston, CEO, WorkStep
Read the full interview

“Everybody has to change with the environment, but now some change has been forced upon us. So instead of fighting it, we have to do what’s right for everybody: adapt and change. My lifestyle is changed now, where I am very cautious of what I do. I make sure I keep my social distancing, I sanitize my house once a week, and I try to do everything I can to make me and everyone around me safe.”
Mike Macsisak, PdM technician and veteran millwright
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“We’ve been having lots of dialogue with our customers and the heads of service and manufacturing at many of the companies we work with, and the focus of these conversations is how field service workers are, by nature, not stay-at-home or able to shelter-in-place. So, we really have to think through how to keep field service technicians safe in a world where they’re not even really supposed to be out.”
Stacey Epstein, chief marketing officer and customer experience officer, ServiceMax
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Sharing data can be a win-win for both parties. The operator can get better products and service, and the equipment manufacturer can improve the design of future models.
Richard Howells, VP of solution marketing, SAP
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“We’re seeing our customers look for new technologies like augmented reality to help solve problems quicker and to be able to look at how they can optimize certain things. ... What we’re (also) seeing more and more of, is what I’ll call collaborative support. Our ability to bring in a partner to work with us to support customers and their on-site capabilities. With remote technology, now we can bring these groups and their data together more easily to better solve problems. We can have experts in different fields that send information back and forth much easier now.
Mark Himes, business manager for contractual services at Rockwell Automation
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I like to recommend having holistic view of the plant. What are the real challenges that this plant is trying to solve? Are they seeking to have more flexible operations? Are they pursuing a small batch production strategy, to be able to deliver to highly customized needs? Technology could be a part of it, but before technology gets brought into the picture, it’s this much bigger holistic view of what your company wants to do that needs to be addressed.
José Rivera, CEO, Control System Integrator Association
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“Based on our team’s experience conducting cybersecurity vulnerability assessments and risk assessments, there are two things you need to be ready. First is having strong protective controls in place that reduce the probability of exploit like authentication, firewalls, antivirus, and application whitelisting. That’s where most industries have invested for the last 10 or 20 years. Next, you need strong detection and response capabilities, because that is what reduces the severity of an impact.”
Donovan Tindill, control systems cybersecurity SME, Honeywell
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About the Author

Anna Townshend | managing editor

Anna Townshend has been a journalist and editor for almost 20 years. She joined Control Design and Plant Services as managing editor in June 2020. Previously, for more than 10 years, she was the editor of Marina Dock Age and International Dredging Review. In addition to writing and editing thousands of articles in her career, she has been an active speaker on industry panels and presentations, as well as host for the Tool Belt and Control Intelligence podcasts. Email her at [email protected].

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