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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 hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's go.
Alright, once again, welcome to industrial talk, the number one industrial related podcast in the universe that celebrates you, industrial heroes all around the world. You are bold, take that to the bank, brave you dare greatly. You're solving problems. You're innovating. You are changing lives and you are changing the world as we speak. why not celebrate you each and every day? Yeah, you're that cool. All right. In the hot seat, we got a gentleman by the name of Milan coaching. He is with hexagon manufacturing intelligence. And he is the head of six. That's a tough word. Sixth Sense, open innovation platform. Pretty cool stuff. We're going to be talking about why manufacturers need to one innovate and invest in that innovation. Let's get that correction.
Yeah, again, we're talking innovation. We're talking about the necessity to make that investment. Well, you know, you need trust with people. And of course, you'll get a great sense that Milan is somebody you can trust. Yeah. Becton, he's a trusted depot guy. He's gonna just sort of shoot straight and answer your questions. And it's important that manufacturing and bring in manufacturing technology into what you do is very important. It is you gotta you gotta have to do it. Alright, we're sponsored by CAP Logistics, this episode. And let's just say if there's an Oh bleep moment with your supply chain with your turnaround with your whatever outage and you need somebody that you can trust, and you need somebody that can just get the job done. No matter how big CAP Logistics, go to CAP Logistics.com Definitely find out more great people great company, and, and they make it easy, they really do. You don't want to tie yourself down with that Oh, bleep moment, right. And, and with all the other stuff that has to go on, Cap Logistics makes that absolutely easy peasy lemon squeezy. And we're also brought to you by Deloitte, you know, Deloitte, they've got a bench full of incredible professionals that have their fingers on the pulse of what's taking place in industry. And again, it's all about who you trust, it's about who you're going to connect with, that can definitely solve problems. You got to reach out to Deloitte because they have a team of incredible professionals, focused on your success. Go out to deloitte.com Find out more. Alright. So a couple of things that I've been sort of noodling on, outside of the fact that I've been preaching on this. Are you getting the most out of are you extracting? Are you taking that dog gun? Talent squeezing every bit out of your engagements out of your conferences? And is there other ways that you can do that? Or are we just sort of going down the road? And this is my second, in this phase? Are we just going to do the same thing that we've always done? Do we are we sort of embracing conventional thinking, again, that legacy thinking? And I hope that's not the case, I hope that we just, we've got a very dynamic, very challenging environment out there. Hey, you can argue with me, but it is challenging, and it's challenging for industry, and it's challenging for people. And it's got a lot of dynamics happening out there. And we need, we need to really continue to think about conventional thinking, and is that holding us back? So here's a quote, just because why why do I have to create a CRUD? Conventional Thinking does not or doesn't change the world? Okay, because it's really procedural eyes. You know, this is how we do it. This isn't we just do the same thing. crazy ideas do and and working with individuals working with incredible leaders. They they are, there's a real consistency with the fact that there's that conventional thinking is pushed to the side. There's people that do that. But the reality is, are we really trying to think differently about solving problems, creating opportunities, cutting deals, whatever every element of your job, your business, and what you're doing? Has to really sort of take that at the forefront. I'm always intrigued now and I'll be the first to admit, I love individuals, companies that are doing things that are so unique, and so different. And and, and this is a collaboration. And it's a collaboration mindset. Because if you're truly want to fight that legacy, that conventional thinking, you're going to have to hang out with people who are at the same place, we are saying, this whole thing we can't survive in this, whatever this is, with conventional thinking. And I'll throw it out there. Because I think that that's the case. I think companies that are really creative, who are truly inside their heart desiring to get the most out of these engagements, and be mutually beneficial, and give of themselves so that other people survive, I'm telling you, that is where it's at. That is where it's at, okay? Just put that noodle wanted to ask that question, be truthful, do all that stuff, all right, an event.
And I'm very fortunate to be able to work with the IoT solutions World Congress, and this is an event in Barcelona, it is May 10, to the 12th. And I've been there pre pandemic, not during the pandemic, you know, the whole story there. But it really the the organizers, the people who are engaged in this particular event, really understand the necessity to create value. So if I go to this, this event, IoT solutions, World Congress, I would get the most out of that engagement, I go over there outside of Barcelona and be just a great place, don't get me wrong. But to be able to meet up with other companies, it's that that are also having a desire to do things to collaborate to really solve problems, and work in that sort of environment. That's what IoT solutions World Congress is creating. So if you go there, and you're just gonna say, hey, I want to just eat up by Aya, and drink the, you know, the wonderful sangria, while you're missing out, you're missing out on an opportunity for a great event to be able to impact your bottom line in a positive way. IoT solutions World Congress, that's may 12, or may 10, through the 12th. Put that on your calendar, Barcelona, and you can't you can't complain about that. That's Barcelona. All right. Now back to the interview. So what's interesting about this conversation outside of fact that I think Milan, and team hexagon manufacturing intelligence, which is glad that's not a domain, because I'd misspell it. But they they recognize this necessity for a real a ecosystem that is focused on innovation for manufacturers, and then be able to go to a place or go to a Yeah, a place physically, and come up with real solutions that solve your problems. Right. And, and that's what we need, specially in the world of manufacturing, we need to have that. And, again, I broadcast from the manufacturing and technology show. And one of the things that was brought to my attention is at that trust, we've got to find trusted people, companies to help us with this transformation journey, right? That's what hexagon manufacturing intelligence and their, you know, focus on this sixth sense. Great conversation, we pretty much dove into a lot of things. So enjoy the conversation with Milan, Milan, welcome to industrial talk. Thank you very much for finding time in your busy schedule. I'm looking out. If you're at the video, if you're looking in the video, and you can see back there, it looks cold back behind you. Is it cold?
It's actually not too bad. It's 64 degrees in lovely providence. But yeah, it will it will snow tomorrow. So it's not it, don't worry about it. It's New England. So anything goes
yeah, here in Louisiana, I have the AC on. And I'm not happy about that. I want it to be cold a little longer. Alright, for the listeners, let's get cracking on who Milan is give us a little background on who you are.
Sure. I'm a head of sixth sense open innovation platform at hexagon. It's our new kind of way of trying to engage startups and innovative thinking. But I've spent almost 25 years at hexagon in various roles, most recently, last 12 years in innovation. So I've done development of new products, services and all kinds of other stuff. So this is kind of culmination of everything that I've done in the past. I gotta
tell you, man, that's pretty cool. Because you've been if you've been there that long, you've seen a lot of innovations. You've seen a lot of growth and do you find it's, it's there's a speed right now that that I mean, I think it's fast. Do you find that happening?
Well, anybody who is anywhere from Five years, including a marriage has seen a lot of good and bad stuff, right? So I would say there's good usually tends to outweigh the bad. But I think part of what I'm doing now is a little bit of a frustration with speed in mature companies, because sometimes mature companies have a priority of doing things that they do well. And the speed of innovation sometimes outpaces their ability to kind of, you know, manage risk, do different things, and all those kinds of stuff that kind of they get into it. So it's always a balance at the end of the day, but it's you know, and some days are good, some days are bad.
So how do you how do you get a company that's sort of, shall we say, mature, and begin to, I guess, methodically embed or begin to go down that innovation route to see the value? What is it important?
Well, it's important well, you know, technology curves are very brutal, which is, there's no like a slight decline in curves. It's just one day, one day, you just fall off a cliff and you're wrong, irrelevant. You know, prime biggest example, probably the listeners know is like Blackberry, you know, Blackberry ruled the phones. And then one day, nobody knows who BlackBerry is. So you always have to fight for relevance. In some ways, I think managing your quarterly profits, and everything else in the same breath is you're trying to do risky investments and kind of innovation is hard to manage, especially if they're in the same organization. So part of kind of what we're doing is we separated this area of where we're going to explore an experiment, so that I don't, you know, I don't have to do roll up reports and quarterly p&l and everything else, I kind of live a little bit of outside of the comfort zone of the organization, and I'm getting some freedom to explore with, with startups what to do. There's a second reason for that. A lot of mature companies say that they want to work with startups. But I have this like theory, what it does is you just have a lot of lunches and dinners with them. And you actually never really do anything. So what you do is you create this fantasy of what the future could be like, but because of your operational kind of discipline, you have a really hard time, parlaying that into something useful. So you have to have something in some sort of a conduit, let's call it a speed dating service. Yes, startups. And so six senses actually that in like, 10, we compress the kind of let's get to know you. And then we decide if we want to get engaged, don't get married, or just go out and wait just doesn't really matter what it comes out of it. But rather than stretching this into five year kind of things, you do it relatively quickly. And even if it doesn't work out, you just start now keeping an eye on that startup, like, is there something we can do to just help them along? Because Sixth Sense, main interest is to help startups be successful. If that also benefits hexagon, that's awesome. But that's not necessarily my I'm, I would consider myself successful if one of these startups becomes a unicorn or half a unicorn or whatever you want to be. If we get to play the role in it, and we are part of the journey, that's awesome. If not, it's still a success at the end of the day, right?
So okay, so let's take that analogy. So, I'm a, I'm a manufacturer, startup, I'm here, I'm small, I've got, I've got grand visions, I come to you and I say, hey, grand vision guy right here. And I want to be able to see where we can go with this. And so we're gonna speak date, you're gonna you're gonna ask me some questions. We're gonna, we're gonna sort of ferret this out relatively quick. Let's say you're saying that it's not a good fit, however, however, we think it's, it's it's got potential. Are you saying you will help facilitate and maybe help that journey too, as well? That's not within granule? House exiga?
Correct. I mean, the the options could be that a startup gets introduced to a customer, a customer sees a potential that doesn't fit to hexagons, prerogatives. And our customer takes on the burden of trying to support the startup to do something, it could be a clean just investments, we bring in some venture capital. And together, we basically pump some cash into the startup and help them on their journey. Or it could be some kind of a joint venture OEM agreement, where we just basically give them the channels to facilitate, but they may be on the fringes of like what hexagon does, and then over time, that parlays into something because what we're looking at, you know, this horizon one stuff, stuff that fits really well into the business. But there's also horizon two and three stuff, like stuff that we don't know. So how are you going to find out if you don't start dabbling in those kinds of areas? So to me, it's just a way where you can find opportunities and options without necessarily, let's say, you know, burdening the day to day business because it's really hard to get attention and like, you know, I mean, you know, I, you know, I got to make products and satisfy customers. and deliver things oh, crap, there's this now person, I want to want to talk to him about innovation. And it's just balancing that. And now we have this safe space. And then we can explore, because I have a have a kind of a view on the typical accelerator where you come in, we teach you some classes, and I'll give you 100 grand for your 12% stake in the company. I think they're kind of empty, you know, in a sense, because not every company is the same, you can't package advancement in business into some kind of a book, at the end of the day. Everybody has, you know, you know, yourself. Founders come from different backgrounds, they come from different areas in the world, our program is global, which means, you know, somebody from Singapore and somebody from Louis, you know, Louisiana are not necessarily going to be the same people, they won't have the same priorities, they won't see the business same way us does a certain thing certain way, Singapore does it another way. So putting something into a box, it's a really hard way to manage things, you have to kind of be slightly flexible, and be able to adapt what there are opportunities to scale are truly in front of us. And then we see what it is, and we do the best we can to make them successful.
I like the terms be dating, I like that, that that to me since since a urgency sort of message, but at least you could still get that thing moving. I like to save space concept. And and being able to open that up, I think I think you're onto something pretty big here. And the reason I think that is because because of the speed of innovation, that what I see out here, that that it needs a place like this, for other companies to be able to sort of take it's it's so fragmented out there. So if I have a place to go, I don't know where I'm at in my journey. But let's say I have a place to go at least that's my North Star, I can go there. And then begin sort of that journey of time, as opposed to this sort of scattergun scattershot, hopefully I'll find some sort of solution that works or whatever it might be. Well, it's, it's, it's
17:04lture. So it's kind of like a:
So just an FYI, I hear people the listener saying at this is still just a thing for Hexagon. How do you sort of quail that? That pushback because I love it? Don't get me wrong? I think it's brilliant. But they're you know, there are people out there said, this is just an infomercial for Hexagon.
18:43o do. So it's not that it's a:
see, and I like it, because let's just use a sports analogy, let's move that ball forward. And if companies like hexagon, and others big, do a good job at what they do, there is a necessity to try to continue to push that innovation and move that ball forward. And that is, from my perspective, a smaller company, nimble, willing to take that risk, get out of that conventional thinking that traditional thinking, and and be able to do that. And it's a way of like hexagon, and other companies to be able to participate in that energy, that excitement of that innovation, and be able to help everybody all around. It's a win win. And yes, doggone it, if you're listening out there, you better be about making money. And this is another way of being able to really help people achieve that success. And by the way, when your daughter gets married, or where it'll break your heart.
Thank you for the warning. It is. She's only, she's only
just telling you, it'll go by fast. Just FYI.
Thank you break your heart. Thank you.
I'm living proof, and I'm still struggling. Alright, so let's say I'm young, I'm nimble, I, what are my what are my action items? What do I do I invest more? What do I do? Tell me some of the stuff that I need to do.
If you're looking to start a business, or if you're looking at,
like, do I increase my investment in advanced manufacturing? Do I mean like, do all that stuff? What? Sure.
I mean, you touched a good subject. So we have done bunch of meetings with stuff people like Department of Defense and some other places. So the great theme, behind the scenes is the great onshoring or reshoring of manufacturing into us. Because of all the geopolitical, especially the more recent events as a couple of days ago, people understand kind of the importance of supply chain, because of COVID, because of China, because of what's happening with Russia, you the importance of manufacturing back on us Shores is a big subject. There's a secondary problem, the thing we talked about people is that they're not as worried about opening plants, like putting a plan somewhere in the US, there's plenty of space and plenty of money to probably do that. What they're slightly worried about is people. So where are they going to get the people to work in these plants? And I think this goes back to some of the conversations you're gonna have had in the past, which is, manufacturing is not the default choice for anybody. Like I've talked to high school students and college students. And when you mentioned manufacturing, I think all their thinking is like Charlie Chaplin in modern times in like the 30s, like coming out or running around and turning the screw. And I think manufacturing today is night and day compared to what that was. And it still has this kind of dirty image, kind of like farming today, which is, you know, funny thing is you go to a typical farm these days, and it's basically robots driving tractors and bunch of others. I mean, it's super high advanced technologically super.
And there's Advanced Chemistry, there's just so much going on. There's like, God, yeah, the,
you know, like farm yields today, compared to farm yields from 20 years ago are incomparable. So to me, technology and everything else that's in manufacturing, I think it's just kind of neglected stepchild. And I think in general, we don't talk about it, venture capital investment in advanced manufacturing has gone fivefold in just three years. And I think if you look at it a greater interest in this, I think kids out there who are in high school or going to colleges, they should seriously start looking at some of these callings because, as you and I talked, yeah, we cannot, we cannot all be tick tock stars and be in delivery people for DoorDash. Like it's um,
don't, don't sell yourself short there.
At some point, people have to do stuff that physically helps the society and you and I have we then we before we started doing this podcast, which is you look at your desk, in your mouse and your mousepad, and your keyboard and your monitor and your pen and your phone. That old came from somebody manufacturing something somewhere. All these things come from a place of somebody had to design it, and then engineer it and figure out which materials to use and how to produce it and that that's kind of the chain that hexagon exists in. And we believe that publicly we as people have to talk about this kind of subjects more. And we have to talk in a sense of augmented manufacturing. What I mean by that is every time somebody presents a future when we factoring it's always a factory with all the robots in it. There's no humans anywhere. And I think that's that's not a reality. The future realistic future is making humans superhuman, so that we can do super poignant, important things and robots do like crappy stuff like, you know, loading boxes, or whatever the story might be. And we end up doing stuff that's much more important than in a bigger scheme of things. But I think in general, we as a nation, or we, as a world have failed in raising the importance of magic of manufacturing, I think that's kind of like you say, What do I say to a young person? Don't just think you can build in a chat app, think that there's other wider implications of what you could do if you go, you know, into the world?
Yeah, I have to say, it's sad that we were very successful. You know, when I was growing up and going through school, we had, we had shop classes, and then at shop class, I was exposed to how to how to weld how to do certain things, but it was just, I was exposed to it. We don't have that anymore, whatever, for whatever reason, we've done a good job. But the reality exists, many of these manufacturing jobs, it's, I just want to make sure you listeners out there, it's not dirty, it's sophisticated, high end technology. And it's serious. And it's a great career path. It just is.
And we yeah, we talked to a business owner in North Dakota. And she told us she had a 25% vacancy for robotics engineers, she needed advanced robotics engineers for the for the factory, and she was paying California salaries in North Dakota, obviously, North Dakota in January is not the most pleasant place to be. But when you look at it as a young person, spending five, six years in that environment, learning about robotics, it's very much hands on you learn day to day stuff. That's a transferable skill set that you can take to other places as you kind of grow your your skills. But but because it's a dirty, as you said, because it's viewed as dirty people like oh, I don't want to do that. So they do something else.
It's I've been very fortunate. And I've been exposed to just an example of where robots are cool. I mean, it's, it's cool. I'm watching the the technician deal with the robot and getting it done, you know, tweaked and done it. Yeah, it's, it's in demand. It's cool. But what's interesting is is do you think, given and this is just a tangent right now. So we've got a, we've got a human challenge, right? We've got an education challenge, because it to your point, I don't think we have a problem citing anything or being able to, you know, put some brick and mortar in the ground, it's always down to the people do you find that maybe our education system is lacks the ability or is nimble enough to be able to keep current with the fast pace of innovation?
I think it's two things. Like I, I was fortunate enough, but 10 years ago, to do a bunch of work, for example, in Wisconsin, and Wisconsin has a great technical school environment. And there because Wisconsin is one of the most strongest manufacturing states in the US. And seeing that, and actively which Wisconsin education system encourages kids at high school, that technical school is an option. And it's a noble option. You don't have to go to college. And that's the only thing you should do. I think it's this kind of perception of things. And I will quote something that my mom said to me once, which is very controversial, which is he said, some people are meant to be doctors, and some people are meant to be janitors. And what she didn't mean by that is that somehow janitor is a less noble thing to do than being a doctor. She just said, Is there stuff for everybody to do? But we cannot all I think there's a tendency in US education system, to make everybody think that they should all be a doctor or a lawyer. And somehow, if you're less so you are a failure. Yeah, the right thing and everything else. Yeah. And I think we have to reset expectations and tell people, I mean, you know, this yourself, I mean, even during COVID If you're a plumber, you are making $150,000 a year because you need it. People want it today get their stuff fixed. And people are always like, well, a plumber, I don't want to be a plumber. Like that's not a noble thing to do. But at the end of the day, all these colleagues make a decent living, they all serve their function. And I think you have a lot of freedom to do whatever you want to do. And the same goes for manufacturing. And the thing is just we as an education system make a great emphasis on other callings and don't expose the kids to, you know, the wonders of doing practical things with your hands and everything else. I mean, I used to have shop wood shop when I was a kid, like there's no wood shop today. So how are you supposed to learn some of these things. So
you're spot on and that used to be the highlight of my day and I did go and that wood or or small engine or whatever it might be, but the reality is it's a it's a heavy lift to try to reset expectations and that is sort of a longtail conversation because it has to happen. We have to do it We have to have, you know, companies like hexagon who are committed to that, being able to help that. I think that that's an important. It's, it's important to have that I just think you've got it, we've got to do that, or, or manufacturing as a whole which there was a, I was reading an article, and I can't remember what it was. And there, there are things that that we do that move things forward, like, we're important, you move it forward. And then there's things that you could just, you know, the person, there's things that don't move things forward, manufacturing moves things forward. My history degree doesn't move things forward. Right. And it's just putting that into perspective, what we're talking about here is skills that truly, and positively impact society and move things forward. And that's what's really key.
Well, I think, yeah, I think it's, I think you're hitting on the right thing, which is, there's a swing and interest. And I think what I mean by that is, you know, people ask, Well, are there more startups in advanced manufacturing? Or is there more people doing things? And the answer is, yes, there's more people using tools like AI and machine learning and everything else to improve the processes in manufacturing. So now, same as people are trying to use AI to solve other problems, they're trying to use the same things to solve problems in manufacturing, to make it more efficient to make a technique. And if you make things more efficient, you're more sustainable, you use less energy, there's all kinds of other implications in investing in technology and advanced manufacturing space. And suddenly, there's a lot more interest, there's a lot more money that's interested in being in this space. And so we need to just capitalize on that part of it, your original conversation, part of it is selfish for hexagon, because we think there's a growth opportunity for Hexagon in that domain that we authentically exist in already and have existed for 20 years. But there's also an opportunity to engage very innovative and interesting companies that will solve really big problems for us. And, you know, we as hexagon, I'm from manufacturing, Intelligence Division, which is manufacturing, but we also do sustainability, we do other things that are out there. And we think that sixth sense will probably over time, expand a little bit as to where we are trying to look for inspiration, but it's all around stuff that is, as you said, more dirty in nature. So
I'll give you a we're working on some stuff within the utility space, this innovation, this, this conversation that's wrapped around you, it's it's impressive. And, and that message needs to get out and it needs to, there's just so much there too, as well, that could be with mining, that could be with transportation that could be with any of these second innovation. And I'm just telling you right now, if you're, you're frightened about innovation, if you're frightened about dipping your toes into that water, do it. You've got and I think, Milan, you us touched on it briefly and just like you're just in the game, if you're not in the game, if you're not just sort of actively in there, you don't see the opportunities, you don't see the horizon, you don't see what's might happen. You just got to be in it. And you got to find trusted people like Milan and hexagon to at least help you with that journey. Trust big time. It's a human thing. All right, we gotta wrap it up. How do people get ahold you?
Go to our sixth sense webpage, which is sixth sense that hexagon comm all the stuff is there, kind of if you're interested in getting in touch with me personally, email that's linked there, it goes to my inbox. So if anybody wants to talk to me further about what six cents and what Exxon does, feel free to go there. And we look forward to any further conversation on this.
That's pretty cool. I really enjoyed this conversation. There's a lot more that can be done. And I'm just telling you right now, we just scratched the surface. Anyway, thank you, Milan, for being on the industrial talk. Ready? Work. Great.
Thank you very much. Got. All right, listeners, we're
gonna wrap it up on the other side. If you didn't get that link, it'll be there at industrial talk. So stay tuned, we will be right back.
You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network.
Alright, once again, a hearty thank you to a Milan for saying yes. And being on the industrial talk podcast. The what always brings excitement to, to me and what we do here at industrial talk is to be able to have these conversations with real individuals that understand that conventional thinking is not a real good way of creating a business that is resilience. So keep pushing. And thank you very much, Milan. I really enjoyed that conversation again. Here we go. IoT solutions World Congress 10th and 12th of may put that on your calendar, but it's just going to be swimming with professionals that truly want to solve problems and and definitely want to collect Every do that IoT solutions work. Alright, stop with the conventional thing. Stop with that legacy thinking. Think different. Push the people. Be brave dare greatly hang out with people like the lawn, you're going to change the world. We're going to have another great conversation shortly right around the corner