<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=323483448267600&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Digitalization for Business Excellence

Episode 22

Digitalization for Business Excellence

espresso icon Espresso 4.0 by


Thanks for joining me for finally joining me for a special 4.0. I've been trying to track you down, but you just won't be caught. I'm glad that I can finally have a coffee with my CEO. I have some questions I wanted to go over, but before we get into that, why don't you tell some of the viewers who are with me? 

Okay. I'm the CEO and one of the co-founders of Wizata. This is not my first company, so I'm kind of an entrepreneur, and my background is in business. I've been running the company as CEO for a year, and we found that the company, I think, is sitting very well. 

I want to get your perspective as a CEO. You look at a company and the organization and always try to do more with less. You want to be as efficient as possible and optimize the processes if you will. 

In the steel industry, one of the things, or generally in the heavy industry, what permeates is that all manufacturers are under pressure to always be as efficient as possible, particularly with the world's constitution and environmental goals. 

And there is a plethora of innovations and solutions. They can apply with new assets, outfitting old assets, and augmenting so far. But they must dig deep into their pockets for those solutions. 

Benefits of Process Optimization

So one of the things that we at Wizata do, and maybe you could shine a light from the CEO's perspective, what are the benefits. What are the things that they can do with the data they have available already in their existing assets, and why perhaps that should be something to explore instead of new assets and equipment? 

Yeah, what's amazing in process manufacturing, and more specifically in the steel industry, is that these companies are actually really sitting on gold mines that they are not exploiting because naturally, they've been collecting data, because they've been rushing, running their machinery, but they've been doing very simple things at this day. 

So they've been monitoring conditions, ensuring those don't overheat, run too fast, or too slow. It's very basic stuff. But they have the data, and they've been collecting historians' databases. 

And now we've reached a point where technology will allow them to actually harvest a lot of value from that data in order to optimize their production process. Because for these guys, the production process is a holy grail. 

It's also their IP or their intellectual property. And they want to increase performance, increase yield, reduce defect rates, improve quality, basically, as you said, do more with the same or less. 

And now, they can do that through data and AI. So it's much better to use what you already have. You bought a production line. You bought a blast furnace that has a life cycle of 40 years. You're not suddenly going to change all your equipment. And now, you have a new tool and something new to provide value to your production company.

Bringing Competitive Advantage 

So one thing that is pretty common in the entire thicks steel industry is that they have equipment. A lot of times, they have the same equipment. Where they differ is how their operations are efficient, their operation is on the same equipment, and added value are the AI-powered solutions that can be customized. That will be the difference - another layer of equipment and another layer of competitive advantage. 

Again, I come back to the fact that you're the CEO of some of these projects. Some of these projects reach a dead end sometimes because these companies are huge. They have a lot of stakeholders, a lot of red tape, and a lot of bureaucracy. 

How to Drive These Projects?

How do you best drive this kind of project internally if you are someone in middle management, let's say, or even middle management who sees the value but has to communicate that value to a senior executive? 

I'll just come back to the beginning of your question. We must understand that the world we live in right now from a high level is getting increasingly regulated, and there's more and more pressure to operate within certain limits. 

If you look at the sustainability development goals from the United Nations, it's not only around energy but it's around sustainability. You have the CO2 emission reductions from the new opinion, and these big groups, they're, of course, under pressure to comply with this. 

But it's also a huge opportunity. And I think that's the message we have to convey to them. It's a huge opportunity to innovate, to reduce costs, of course, related to energy, and to comply. 

And I think we need to understand from a global perspective how the company wants to reach these goals and what we can provide them on a really short-term basis to enable them to reach the goals. 

I mean, they're not short-term goals, but time is fine. And we now have the possibility to deliver something that will help them reach their goals, reduce their cost, or whatever the target is, and also be measurable. 

We're not doing branding. What we're doing is we're improving operational processes. So we talk to persons, engineers, and plant CEO, and you can very easily measure the results and the impact of what we're doing. 

Building a Business Case

I think the way to convince your boss and people is to build a business case. Build a business case, use a KPI, and say, okay, I want to use AI on my data to reach this. Roll it out and measure it. 

There's a big paradox in what we're saying. What we're discussing here is we're working with an industry that has a very long cycle and made investments over a very long period, but they are forced now to be able to generate ROI on a very short period. 

So, of course, there's a bit of a paradox there. But I think that's where we're going, and that's where we're able to deliver. And I think that's a speech I will hold. You said something that's you very good point, a couple of good points, but I also thought that, yes, the new regulations are pressure, but it's a matter of perspective. 

You want to consider it a constraint rather than a business unit. 



How to Create Tangible Business Case?

You mentioned that ROI is very important in building a business case rather than around it. How would you go about it with potential how would the company go about that? To deliver or create a compelling business case with as tangible an ROI as possible? 

I think there are multiple things. You mentioned multiple stakeholders, so there are always multiple stakeholders in this. 

I think you need to really start with, let's say, a business pain. That will defer the company's activity and what it's going some move on to reduce defects, and we want to improve yield. And once you define this business case, what you really do is you come with experience. 

So some use cases, you present what you've already done so that the company you're talking to understands that you know their business. I think that's very important because it will also help the client manager or the process engineer to enter the conversation with a company that speaks the same language, which is important. 

Of course, we will never know if the process will work, but it enables discussion. Secondly, and that's something I've said before, I think what's very important is they find a metric together because we need to know our goals and the project and that it is measurable. 

So I think this is very important and the way you collaborate has to be working together. I don't believe in giving me all data, let's disappear for three months and then come back, I don't believe that. I think the success of all of the projects lies in the fact that we have been able to engage with our customers. 

Changing the Culture of the Industry

Okay, one last question: Is there a remedy for guild “if something isn’t broken, don’t fix it”? In other words, If someone doesn't see that they have a problem but instead have a lot of business opportunities to improve over what they already have, as functioning as it may be. Is there a way to engage with them other than just letting them figure it out by themselves over time? 

Usually, that also can come from the competition. What we have is, even though it's not, let's say, out in the open, we have customers saying, hey, my competitor XY is doing this, or the market that, this and this is happening. 

The awareness can come from there. Guys, maybe we should do the same. So that can happen also. As I said previously, it can also happen by prison use cases saying, if you are in this industry, this is what we've done. 

And that can sometimes create awareness among certain customers. We also get is customers saying, hey, I have loads of data. I don't know what to do. I know it has potential, but I don't know what to do. So that sometimes can generate opportunity.

Yeah, you're right. And that resonates with some of my experiences. 

Wrapping Up

All right, a little levity in the conversation: I haven't so far, but it's not impossible -  if I call you on a Sunday at 02:00 P.m., what would I be interrupting you in? 

It's time I'd probably be outside the time of day. I love being outside. I'll be hiking, doing some gardening, maybe driving around the countryside or doing some sport or something like that. 

So you might not even answer, actually. I might not even answer. If it's you, I'll answer. 

And what's the coolest thing you recently found out about? Innovation and technology don't necessarily have to be from the industry.

The ability to fly. There's this company. I don't know where It's from, called Jetson. And they created this, it's like a drone, but it can carry one man, and you can fly for 30 minutes. 

And I think that would be totally amazing. I don't know how much it costs. I don't know if you need a license, but I really want that. 

That might be your Sunday plan. All right, well, thanks for making the time. 

Hope to have you again in the future. And thanks for sharing your interest.