The Global Manufacturing Industry is Changing Due to Big Data

In the article Exploring the new face of manufacturing – Industry 4.0, the author explores how the manufacturing industry is quickly approaching a significant change, coined Industry 4.0.  Industry 4.0 involves big data, improved data analytics, machine-to-machine communication, advanced robotics and 3-D printing.  These changes are happening across the world from Europe to Asia, and there is no sign of letting up.  But with these changes comes a serious amount of data, 4.4 zettabytes by 2020, and the only way to analyze this vast amount of data is big data analytics through cloud computing.

This unique IT infrastructure required to keep and analyze this data have made cloud computing an invaluable tool.  Manufactures need a system that is rapidly scalable to make use of the data pouring in from various channels: sensors in their factories, inventories, raw materials and other segments along the supply chain.  Cloud computing allows manufactures to analyze real-time data to understand product status and quality thus providing a product with less defects.  Cloud computing has taken away the hassle of having to buy physical storage devices while also allowing manufacturers to use the cloud’s different availabilities, capacities, and functionalities.  The data analytics is becoming simpler and more useful quickly which is allowing manufacturers to learn more from the data then ever thought possible.

An interesting separation of cloud computing is the public and private cloud.  The public cloud allows remote manufacturing facilities to leverage modern IT and communications systems without having a large team onsite.  Public clouds also allow customers and partners along the supply chain to access information easily.  The private cloud is best for sensitive data and intellectual property.  In fact, the article speculates that hybrid clouds will emerge that allows manufacturers to have the best of both worlds.


Do you believe the cloud is secure?

Are cloud based companies doing enough to keep the cloud secure?

Will a hybrid cloud really offer enough security for sensitive information with regard to the outside world as well as employees?


TPP Ratification Unlikely Under Trump, Singapore Unhappy

In the article Singapore disappointed TPP is unlikely to be passed under Donald Trump: PM Lee, the author seeks to examine Singapore’s stance on the TPP given that Donald Trump is now the president elect in the United States.  As I’ve written before, the US is the pivotal player in the TPP deal.  If the US does not ratify the TPP, it is highly unlikely the deal will be ratified in other countries, including Singapore.  Singapore has been a stark supporter of the TPP, and it’s not surprising that with the prospect of the TPP fading, Singapore has voiced public disappointment.

As another indication that the world was watching the US election, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee indicated he was well aware of Donald Trump’s stance on the TPP.  Lee’s exact word were that Trump “had no sympathy for the TPP at all.”  Singapore’s main reason for its pro-TPP stance is that it would to enjoy lower tariff and non-tariff barriers for both goods and services, but Singapore is also a very small player in the grand TPP scheme.  The TPP accounts for 40% of global trade amongst its participating countries.  PM Lee has also noted previously that not ratifying the TPP would make the US lose credibility with countries around the world.

Moving forward, it looks like Singapore’s stance on the TPP is all or nothing.  When PM Lee was asked if the deal could be amended to add new countries like Russia or China, he responded that the deal would be a completely new animal.  He called such a deal a “new exercise,” a strong indication that the deal as it is right now is the only way Singapore would like to see the deal ratified.  As President elect Trump begins to enact his policy, the world will be watching with interest to see how deals such as the TPP created under the Obama administration will be handled.  If Trump does keep any of his campaign promises, it will not be surprising if the TPP is completely scrapped.


What countries will be involved if a new TPP style deal is crafted?

Will there be significant global fallout if the TPP is not ratified in the US?

How much consideration should Trump give to smaller countries like Singapore as compared to the larger countries not in the agreement such as Russia and China?


3D Printing Our Way to Space

The article “The Possibilities of Weight Reduction with Additive Manufacturing” ( reviews a partnership that Atos, a Spanish digital solutions company, and Materialise, a 3D printing services company in Belgium, have formed. These two companies how to partner up to improve current technologies within the aerospace industry. The first initiative they took was to improve a mounting piece that is generally used to attach heavy and large structures to satellites. They were able to reduce the weight by utilizing lattice structures to form a strong, yet hollow per component which weighed 70% less! Amazingly enough, the material they 3D printed was titanium, which is known as the “best performing metal for AM technology”.

Tuft’s Study Predicts Negative Effects of TPP For Canada


In the article TPP’s Economic Impact Will Be Fewer Jobs, More Inequality, New Study Says, the author seeks to examine a study released at the beginning of this year regarding the TPP.  Interestingly, the study actually predicts a shrinking of the US and Japanese economies ten years after the TPP would come into being and a very modest growth in the Canadian economy.  Overall, the study claims that job losses will occur due to the TPP due to shifting production to goods for exportation as well increased competition.

The TTP would encompass 40% of the world’s economy so it’s not surprising that competition could get very fierce given new areas of trade for many of the countries involved.  The study conducted by Tufts’ Global Development and Environment Institute predicts that Canada’s economy would grow 0.28% as opposed to not being part of the TPP.  This 0.28% equivocates to only $5 billion dollars.  Interestingly, the Tuft’s research contradicts some early research that states there would be bigger benefits to employment and economic growth.  One contradictory study from the Fraser institute has the net benefits being at $9.9 billion for Canada, basically double what the Tuft’s research shows.

One finding the Tufts research that many have argued as a downside to the TPP is the loss of jobs and income inequality created by the TPP.  The amount of income flowing to business owners and shareholders would increase, relatively, while the amount of income flowing to wage earners would shrink, the Tufts study predicts.  A negative impact to income distribution scares many in Canada.  The exact numbers used are a reduction of the labor’s share of the GDP of 0.86%.  It’s important to note that Canada already more unequal than the US when it comes to the labor’s share of the GDP.  It will be interesting to see how Canada interprets conflicting studies about how the TPP will affect it’s economy in the future.


The Tuft’s study appears to confirm the fears of everyday citizens in countries that are included in the TPP, do you believe this study is valid?

If Canada does not ratify the TPP, could the results be worse than ratifying it?

If the TPP is scrapped, do you believe a new trade agreement will have to be crafted in its place?

Trump, Mexico, and the TPP

The article “Mexico ready to discuss NAFTA with Trump, eyes non-US TPP” discusses Mexico and their actions with respect to the TPP post the Donald Trump vote. ( Per the article “Mexico is willing to discuss NAFTA with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump but may seek to circumvent the United States on a broader trans-Pacific deal if necessary…”. The main mission of the discussions are to “persuade Trump how beneficial NAFTA… had been for North America”, and how “… the world is not competing by country, it’s competing by region…”. While currently no date has been established, both parties are anticipating one soon. “Mexico and the United States do about half a trillion dollars in trade every year, with the balance of commerce favoring the smaller country by tens of billions of dollars”. Despite this, Mexico is the US’s second-biggest foreign goods market after Canada. How will these negotiations play out? Only time will tell.

Big Data is Allowing the Tail to Wag the Dog


In the article Is Data the New King of Manufacturing Technology?, the author wishes to establish a relationship that fits the phrase “the tail is wagging the dog.”  In broad terms, it is a relationship where a secondary offshoot actually becomes the main operation or begins to run the main operation.  In this case, manufacturing information technology is the dog and the tail is big data analytics.  Big data analytics is quickly becoming enterprise platform of the future, and those that which to stay at the cutting edge of manufacturing need jump in so they don’t get left behind.

In the manufacturing world, data has been collected since at least the 1980s, but in most cases, the data collected was just a byproduct of the process itself.  The data was stored and mostly unused.   As business intelligence tools began to transform the landscape in the 1990s, managers and process owners began to realize more could be understood from all the data collected.  This evolution has led us to the big data analytics of today – the answer to the question of how any part of the process can be improved via analyzation of data.  The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has evolved to be able to capture data from any sensor, equipment, or even phone and send this data to a platform, such as the cloud, to be analyzed and have insights developed.

This data analytics tools, and the profits companies are experiencing given their usage, has accelerated the entire industry forward.  Manufactures are connected on all their platforms and have the ability to trade their assets on a global scale – thus satisfying demand quickly.  This data ecosystem has allowed for personalized processes for creating and delivering products because manufacturers know more about their customers.  With the power of big data analytics, a manufacturer can mine vast amounts of production and customer data to improve and even redesign processes.


Do you believe all this data collection will create more jobs?

Remembering that correlation does not always equal causality, do you believe that some trends will emerge within manufacture’s data that do not actually exist?

With more industries relying on data, do you believe the human aspect of understanding processes may be left behind?

The 5Ps of Additive Manufacturing

In the recent article “Lockheed Martin Looks to Catch Up in 3D Printing”(, an overview is provided of a seminar in which Robert Ghobrial, the additive manufacturing lead, spoke. Robert Ghobrial was clear that while Lockheed Martin is still exploring 3D manufacturing and the most effective ways to use the new technology, they were making great headway, and had already seen some recent successes. Ghobrial also provided what he called “The 5Ps of Additive Manufacturing”, which outline how additive manufacturing can help aerospace, defense, and other businesses. The 5Ps are:

  1. Proposal: “3D printing can make giveaways at trade shows; architectural and space models; and aid in customer/client communication.”
  2. Prototype: “3D printed prototypes help with design validation and proof of concept development.”
  3. Procurement: “Can we make something vs. buying it?”
  4. Production Support: “3D printing can support production by helping make assembly fixtures, manufacturing tooling, production templates, inspection fixtures and machine safeguards.”
  5. Production: “AM can produce end-use parts; make parts on demand for spares, warranty and repairs support; and even manage obsolescence.”

These 5Ps provide all of a unique perspective into some of the ways many businesses may be able to employ 3D printing. How effective will additive manufacturing be in the long run? Only time will tell.