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AUGUST 2020 I SMT007 MAGAZINE 31 Ford: The whole process of the gathering of traceability data accounts for material usage and spoilage, essential for the creation of the "pull" signal that enables Lean materials, which, when used correctly, significantly reduces the cost of inventory. You are able to account for every indi- vidual piece of material, so there are no unex- pected "internal" material shortages, and you avoid the need for bloated material stocks. These days, with Industry 4.0, we're chang- ing models and products more often, doing smaller quantities. The inaccuracy of mate- rial inventory becomes a far higher risk. Being in control of what is to be made has a direct dependency on what materials are available physically. Any errors that accumulate through spoilage and attrition threaten the ability to complete what needs to done. Matties: And all that information is right at your fingertips. Ford: With COVID-19, many manufacturers do not want to be dependent on long-distance supply chains. We want to have supply chains that are more local. But how do we make those local supply chains make money? The only way is to get rid of the investment in stock. This trend has been going on in manufacturing for 20–30 years. Having accurate and timely infor- mation available means that the just-in-time regime can be extended outside the factory to local suppliers or distributors. Working locally in such a way, there is a significant increase in the number of turns of material, as well as a decrease of stock in the distribution chain. Direct shipping to the customer becomes quite practical. Orders will be satisfied very quickly and very flexibly, such that we have almost zero stock in the supply chain. We need to create whole new supply-chain networks locally within the U.S., as well as within Europe, such that we can make the products we want without the burden of excess material stock. Taking out these costs, we have investment potential for more production auto- mation, including people using Augmented Reality technology, and we achieve the win- ning business case for manufacturing locally. Matties: What you're talking about requires a lot of visibility and sharing up and down the supply chain. A lot of people still think there are all these secrets in manufacturing, and what you're talking about in terms of even sharing the information about the geometry of one component being vertical or horizon- tal, you have to be careful not to give away any detail. You're just talking about character- istics, but the same would apply to the supply chain as well. Ford: It would. We started talking about the secure supply chain, where we have anony- mous packaging, with just an immutable ID to identity materials. Information about materi- als, demand, supply, etc., is all held digitally and securely. We can then control the infor- mation on a "need to know basis." Sanitized information can then be shared further and wider without risk of exposure of intent or IP. The order of a set of materials does not indi- cate what we will be making, especially where only the computers know the big picture; each entity only sees that which it needs to see. Matties: The security side is one point, but it's the digital interface between the supplier and customer that has to be established as well, or at least the communication methodology. That might be a struggle in itself. Ford: We have defined the processes that we need to go through and what communication we need at each of those processes. The chal- lenge is that everybody has their own solutions right now, which we don't want to replace or reinvent. When we wanted to do machine com- munication, we didn't replace the machine or software. Instead, we simply added the CFX component that enabled the machine to com- municate in a certain way. We simply extended this same principle. Matties: Michael, thanks for all of your insights today. It's greatly appreciated. Ford: Thank you. Nice to speak to you. SMT007

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