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You Don’t Have To Navigate Your Digital Transformation Road Alone

Chad Owens, Solution Delivery Manager | June 12, 2023
General Blog

The Manufacturing sector saw a lot of innovation when Industry 4.0 started taking traction. But with that innovation and technology, the industry saw a shift in how they must update and maintain their factory and workforce. Looking back at my Manufacturing career, I’ve learned how to navigate the constantly evolving industry and have used my experience to help factories continue their Digital Transformation journey with InSource InSider.

I started my first job in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry after college in 2004. It was an interesting time. This was three years before the launch of the first iPhone and seven years before the coining of Industry 4.0. But even at that point, the company I worked for was looking to implement automation software to manage our first new fully automated packaging line. 

I was a validation engineer then and was tasked with qualifying this new line and system. Upon completing that task, I was lucky enough to get pulled into the controls group to begin updating our legacy systems so that we could add them to our controls network. It was a trial by fire. I went from never having heard of a PLC or SCADA system to being the lead engineer troubleshooting these systems in about two years. While the journey was amazing (I learned so much so quickly), I know I would have made different choices in the configuration of solutions had I been better versed in the products.

After leaving that company, I worked at a greenfield site where I was one of the lead engineers defining the solution that would be rolled out in the new facility. As you can imagine, during the first year of construction, you have much time to think about how you want to deploy a system. I took key training classes related to the solutions I chose and developed a deep understanding of the technologies and their interconnectedness. This made a massive difference in the devices and software that I selected. It exposed me to new products and solutions I needed to learn about.

Another factor that influenced how I deployed solutions was that I stopped trying to be the expert on every device and piece of software we deployed. Having only ever been self-taught, I never thought to, nor knew that I could, lean on my local software suppliers and utilize their knowledge of the systems. I formed a great relationship with our software partners at the time, and their expertise around the product offering was vastly superior to mine. They had several experts in each offering that helped me get the most out of the solutions.

I have been fortunate in my time in the automation space. I hit the boom of technology growth right in the middle of my career. And though it has been amazing to watch the speed of growth, it has also presented hurdles with trying to stay up to date with the latest technology solutions. Even if you use a solution every day and are an expert in that software, the technology around that solution changes faster. This means you may need to learn new options and services to enhance your solution. I hope you can learn from my journey through this space in this market. You don’t have to be the expert. There are partners in this space who can provide that expertise for you and keep your staff ahead of the technology curve.

A new offering from InSource is designed to bolster your ability to stay ahead of the curve. InSource InSider provides access to several knowledge sources, including a community of experts and experienced users.

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