“The best way to predict the future is to create it!” — American computer scientist Alan Kay

As 2023 gets rolling, we need to take a moment to recognize and realize that the last 30 months have been bizarre for our industry. We battled against deadly viruses, shutdowns, limited start-ups, and then full-go, massive inflation, supply chain implosions and labor shortages. We survived all that as a core essential industry for North America. All of us deserve lots of credit and accolades for this perseverance! But we also must note that it came at some expense and with trade-offs. One of the casualties includes the resources committed to Innovation at every one of our facilities and offices.

Now is the time to recommit to putting innovation back in our top three strategies. Safety and customer focus are the only items that should be prioritized before product and process innovation. With that in mind, I suggest we all embark on this Innovation quest ASAP.

If you don’t have a chief innovation officer (CIO), get one! A board-level commitment is the key to the right strategy.

Commit to a weekly product innovation meeting of your Innovation team. The only focus of this meeting is action, action, action.

Understand that our products’ performance for energy efficiency gains will continue to be one of your greatest advantages. Make use of this and innovate around it.

Prioritize innovations for reliability in all your assets. Train everyone on the TPM principles that create real value and resilience.

Make use of innovative artificial intelligence (AI) to offset all the headwinds of operations management. AI is now used by 60% of manufacturers and is used for the following activities:

  • Predictive maintenance;
  • Zero injury programs;
  • Quality control and automated inspection;
  • Optimizing production scheduling;
  • Inventory management;
  • Energy management;
  • Employee training;
  • Predictive sales;
  • Customer service programs; and
  • Supply chain optimization.

Our commitment to Innovation in 2023 will be a key factor in our success no matter what this year brings.

Keep Innovating!
Ray

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