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Welcome to the industrial talk podcast with Scott Mackenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hardhat grab your work boots, and let's All
right, welcome to industrial talk, the number one, the numero uno, industrial related podcast in the universe that celebrates industry professionals all around the world. You are bold, you're brave, you dare greatly you solve problems. You're innovating like nobody's business, and you're changing lives. And you are changing the world each and every day. That's why we celebrate you on industrial talk. We are also for your knowledge. We are broadcasting from the digital manufacturing Summit here in Chicago, great venue, incredible people. And they're all dedicated to solving problems and they want to solve your problem. That's how good they are. All right. In a hot seat, we have a gentleman by the name of Fred Rico. He is with Amex D USA. Don't get that right. Yes. Okay. Here we go. How are you doing? Having a good conference? Oh, yeah. It's I interviewed her right there.
Interviewed here, too. Yes. No,
she was fantastic.
I'm having a blast. You know, just being here and seeing everyone and talking about, you know, digital and what digital means to their, their manufacturing. It's just, it's just empowering.
It. See, I agree with you. 100%. I think the challenge is, correct me if I'm wrong. But I think the challenge is, is trying to be able to distill it. distill. Digital, yeah, there's still digital transformation, distill it down into a cogent thought. Yes.
Yes. Yeah. And you know, so just since you bring it up. So at MSD, were manufacturing times digital, we are a public private partnership, funded by Department of Defense, we actually have a 22,000 square foot factory of the future where we distill. Yes. So you can come to our floor, and we will show you how digital works in a manufacturing setting.
Oh, I want to be there. I don't want to be here. And not to say it's bad being here. So somebody heard that
podcast, you can do one there. We post podcasts all the time. Just not yours yet. So
Rumor has it that I'm the number one. That's a rumor. Yeah. So where do you what do you guys call? I mean, we're looking at your vision, or what do you call home?
MxD? Yeah, it's in Chicago. We're located literally on Goose Island. So if you're from Chicago, just west of Halsted just north of Division Street.
So and that's where your your facilities located? Yes,
that's correct. Yeah, our facility overall is about 75,000 square feet. But our factory floor is 22,000.
So what do you use that? It's, it's, it's a demonstration facility to say, hey, here, yeah, got this. This is cool. This is this and, and as a manufacturer, I could just sort of waddle on in and and say, Yeah, I'm interested in learning more and seeing it in action. Yeah,
is this in collaboration with other businesses? Or when you say projects, are you saying, Hey, we got this project? We'd like to whatever. How
does that work? Perfect. Yeah. So after we're done scoping what the pain points are, we will then release what's called an RFP. So request for proposal. And that's specific around an area. But then anyone, not just members, anyone can propose against that solution. We will host like a teaming day where companies can join on either virtually or in person, talk about, hey, here's how I think I could solve this problem. Or here's what I could bring to the, you know, solution, something like that. And then teams sort of self assemble, and then they have about 30 to 60 days to submit a proposal, then we review them both internally and externally. And then once we go through that process, we will fund one of those projects. So let's say there are five or 10 or 15. Proposals, we try to get the best one. And then we provide the funding. So let's say for example, I just talked a few that are about half million dollars, nine months. The key is that then the team has to do a one to one cost match. So there's skin in the game. Right? Right wants to ensure that yeah, whatever money they're providing got skin in the game. So.
So let's go back to let's let's expand upon that. So here's your Organization defines a problem. Yes, like, Hey, I see that manufacturers are dealing with this, whatever this is, right? Correct. Yeah. And then you're, then you're saying, we need to solve the problem. Correct. And then we're going to submit it out there. And because we're all about collaboration, we need to have more eyes, more ears, more heads into solving this problem, then you begin to review the RFP, and then you identify the best possible solution to solving that problem, which you guys defined. And then we build it, yes. And then then what?
Yeah, so then from there, we have project outcomes that we'll share with our membership, if you're a member, you get certain access. And then some of it, we also distill out to the public at large. So it could be a product, or it generally isn't because we operate in this TRL, four to seven technology readiness level. So 123 is basic science research. And then nine to 10 is kind of commercial. So we're in that what's been often coined as the Valley of Death, where we try to bring these innovations from basic research, and get them closer to commercialization. So, so the solution output could be a playbook or a guide, or it could be some software or something. But there's still some development that needs to be done. But we've, we've crossed that valley of death where they're shown some use case. So generally, the best teams, you've got a manufacturer that has that problem, a solution provider, maybe an academic partner, and maybe someone else. So it's always a nice mixture. It's a very diverse ecosystem we have, because these problems are truly unique, right? And there is no one way to solve. And so by bringing all these unique players together, we really come up with some very innovative ideas that the teams themselves say had we not put that problem out there. They would have never come together to try to solve that.
It's cool. Yeah. And again, I'm all about I mean, I think this whole okay, we identify COVID Bad Yeah, got it. Yeah, but there's some good COVID Absolutely. Oh, is good out of COVID. Is that people recognize the necessity to to collaborate? Yes. I don't have all the answers. I need help. I have this problem. I need help. Yeah. And that's a good thing to that's, it's beautiful to be humbled in that sense. Absolutely. So you get it to the point of seven. Yes. Tennis is commercial use? Yes. Who takes it from seven to 10? How
does that work? That really just depends. Those are things we're looking at now. We're trying to bring in people maybe venture capital or or other people so so that's why I'm saying it's a really diverse ecosystem that we're we're developing here. We haven't figured out the best formula formula yet. But we have that available and some members do take it. So depending on their tear status, if there's IP generated they can use it both for internal or external purposes. And so sometimes they'll take those technologies and move them on so it really just depends on what it is how it can be used and, and obviously, the way and maybe the amount because usually scaling up costs a lot of money.
You Yeah, it. It does. Yeah. So you get it. That's good. I look at it this way. There's never, and I would correct me if I'm wrong. Yeah, there is never, there are always problems out there that needs solving. Yes. Do you find you in your organization, there's this convergence of technology. So somebody's over here saying, Hey, I got this technology, I think I got this away. And it's somebody over here, say, I got this technology, and then thereby, whatever, the whatever, they come together, and they say, You know what, we'll come together. Now we have a new use case for solving. Right? Absolutely. Because it do help facilitate that, too. Oh, yeah,
no, so just perfect example, because that's exactly what we did. When COVID hit, we had already been funding a lot of projects around supply chain resiliency, figure using AI to in this case, it was a project with Dow Chemical, Microsoft and a university partner escapes my mind now, but Dow was really interested in looking at their outbound logistics and how they can improve that. So they were using AI to leverage and analyze what problems we're seeing with traffic or weather so that they can help their managers make decisions faster. So rather than taking, you know, three, four or five days to come up with a solution and their supply chain, this algorithm they developed, gave them solutions within less than a minute. Okay, so So that's that's not it, though. So then the pandemic hit, and they're like, Well, hey, what what can we do? Literally, what could we do? So we said, well, we have this, we've done this. So we put together Hey, why don't we look at the, across the entire supply chain, to look at leveraging AI so that it can address or identify problems. And let's see how we can help in that circumstance. So there, we took four or five solution providers that each had their piece, brought it together, we created this middleware platform, a software package that can now help and we piloted it with Tao, we've partnered with Oshkosh, Lockheed, DLA, the Defense Logistics Agency and a small business just to cover all our bases. And actually, it's wrapping up wrapping, wrapping up the project. Now it's it's ending up this month, and we have a webinar next in June that you can attend. It's go on our website, the webinar will be but it just it and they said like had we you not brought us together to help solve this problem, those five companies would have never come together. Not that they didn't want to they knew about each other. But this really provided the opportunity, you know, and the government funded that. But you'll never hear about those things
right now. But But I see that there's a tremendous velocity that exists within this this world, this digital transformation world, this non stop, because I just think that I think the future is pretty cool. Yeah. Right. It's exciting. Yes. And I love the fact that your organization is sort of sort of tip of the sword right there just and your your ability to be able to bring parties together in a collaborative in a safe, collaborative environment. Right. Yes. And and that's, that's a whole nother conversation, because some people don't feel comfortable working with my competitor. But but these are conversations and solutions that are necessary have
to have them. Yeah. And so what's great as a member, they all signed the same agreement. And so they're obviously NDA in places. So you do have a John Deere and a caterpillar talking to you do have microphones at Boeing and Lockheed talk, because they understand to your point, like we won't do this alone. These are common to all of us. Now, once the solution is done, how you put together a plan, that's fine. But why waste time on solving this when we can all do it together? Right?
See, you get down to a point where it's it the technology is the technology. And I think that because we are in a position where we can leverage these technologies always gets down to humans.
Yes, it does. We talk about that all the time. How do you solve disputes with data, but data with data? And we have great examples on the floor of how, at least in the manufacturing side of things, right? You know, usually you're in the room saying, well, it's his fault, not their fault. But when you have the data, then all goes out the window. And we have at least three or four examples on the factory floor where we demonstrate that and then, you know, manufacturers get it and the light bulb kind of go, like oh, wait, but I could do this. And yes, absolutely.
And as you continue to journey down this road and creating this collaborative ecosystem, and everybody's just kumbaya on and solving problems and doing doing that. There has to be also With an acceleration of understanding to it probably just as you know, we got it. Oh my gosh, I understand it, and it just keeps on going and higher and higher and faster and faster. Yeah.
Well, and what's truly exciting about that, because I talked about the kind of digital technologies, we also focus on cyber, but for the operational technology side, so the equipment, how do you secure the equipment, and then the workforce of the future and why I'm saying this to you, because you were talking about that kind of ramp up. People automatically assume technology will remove jobs are gonna get and that's that is furthest from the truth. So to your point, it's not only are you ramping up on the technologies, but the people's capabilities and their skill sets and what they can do leveraging that technology. That is where it becomes transformational because now, you don't necessarily always have to have a degree in this or that you just need the right skill set. So in our in our hiring guides that we have on our website for free. It talks about what are those critical skill sets that you need for the future. But again, I'm a PhD in metallurgy and materials as a doctor, I am a doctor, I taught in academia, but you don't need to be in college to do that. You can have some technical skills, maybe we need everybody in manufacturing, right? We don't just engineers. So this is something that I'm passionate about. And so are
you are it's cool stuff and I'm just geek in a big way and I and your your, your mantra, your purpose, your focus has been, you know, chirped about over and over again. I guarantee another conversation to have is that whole upskilling and reskilling workforce management Do we have it does? Does the university have the Nimble capability of being able to train the workforce of the future? That's a whole another debate?
Absolutely. And there's a space for them. Absolutely. Because, you know, when you're in a university setting, you're really free to express or to look into things dive into thing. But sometimes, especially in the in the manufacturing environment, you need to do things right now, today, you need people who are nimble and thinking and not necessarily always technical, because the technology now is getting you to that point where it can assist you, and really help you but you need to know how to integrate those things, right? You need to know how to communicate those things. And so when I taught I would tell my students, hey, you're gonna come up with a great idea. But the guys on the factory floor or there, they may not know the technical piece, you got to give them what it means to them, how it impacts them. And that's again, what we do at our places, showing them how it impacts and then they get it right.
Yeah, oh, butterfly. Oh, come on. Not. I need to go to your your place. I
gotta be there. You've got to open invitation.
And there it is. You heard it here. He is the president. So so how does somebody get ahold of you? Let's say a company saying hey, I want to be a part of this. What's your How do they do that? Yeah,
WW MX D, USA. dot o RG. Come on by and we'd love to have so cool. Thanks.
Oh, loved it. All right, let's just we're gonna have all the contact information for Frederico go out on industrial talk.com. and So fear not, we're going to have you know, all the information so, get a hold of him. You will not be disappointed. Thank you very much for joining. We're gonna have another great conversation shortly. So stay tuned.
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