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30 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2023 Are progress and evolution in the indus- try driven by collective hive minds, business opportunity, and thought leadership, or is it just through random events? I believe it's all the above. e real question about progress is better related to the strategy of how we bal- ance differentiation with our contribution to common industry goals that bring about busi- ness opportunity, and then how we apply that same strategy to the tools and services that we use. Let's look both internally and externally into how we control and actively reduce risks and threats to our business. Differentiation, Community, and Composability Differentiation e potential of a manufacturing operation is the sum of its assets and capabilities, includ- ing skills, location, size, expertise, and focus, as well as both the positive and negative effects of cumulative experience. Every operation is therefore unique and uses that to differentiate itself as it competes on conditions of quality, price, delivery, reliability, and trustworthiness. As a business seeks to differentiate, exter- nal factors can influence and restrict the busi- ness. Success, therefore, rests on the ability to influence these external conditions, which are Smart Factory Insights Feature Column by Michael Ford, AEGIS SOFTWARE

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