Sudhi Bangalore, VP of Industry 4.0 at Stanley Black & Decker, believes that scaling manufacturing transformation to the point of enterprise excellence is essential to the future of the industry.
“I think we will reach a digital transformation tipping point in manufacturing in the next year or so when the divide between the haves and the have-nots will become very stark.”
Vice President, Industry 4.0, Stanley Black & Decker
Whether you are at home, at your workplace, or in your city, the chances are you will encounter a product or service delivered by Stanley Black & Decker almost every day. With a history spanning back to 1843, the company is now a multi-brand, $14 billion global enterprise with a leading position in key sectors, and a network of 115 diverse and varied production plants around the world.
Two years ago, the company embarked on a transformation program to reimagine and strengthen its business for the future. Adopting Industry 4.0 was identified as a key element of this future-focused program, helping to drive performance improvement, enhance value capture, foster a culture of continuous innovation, and deliver market differentiation.
Sudhi Bangalore is the corporate executive tasked to lead Stanley Black & Decker’s manufacturing transformation as global vice president of Industry 4.0. In our latest Dialogue with a manufacturing industry thought-leader, Bangalore talks to Manufacturing Leadership Executive Editor Paul Tate about the imperative of industrial transformation in today’s digital age, the company’s four-layer approach to technology deployment, scaling 4.0 solutions across a global enterprise, and creating a data-driven culture through developing its workforce and creating enhanced opportunities for its employees.
Q: What excites you most about your role at Stanley Black & Decker?
A: My team and I are transforming manufacturing at scale, which is a major undertaking for a company of our size. Bringing change to over 100 factories around the world with different sizes, ages, capacities, outputs, and employee skillsets requires multi-faceted change management at rapid pace. To tackle this immense challenge, I take it in three parts. The first is to help fine tune the leadership vision for the future in terms of both tangible and intangible value. Second is to identify and prepare the infrastructure that will be needed to deploy the right solutions. Third is to make sure that all the employees in our factories are prepared and actively adopt the right technologies to make this strategy a success.
We are also helping other companies jump-start their innovations by creating a template, along with internal teams and our partner ecosystem, that leverages our experience, our expertise, and the investments we have made. It’s an extremely exciting opportunity and a privilege to do this job.
Q: What challenges keep you awake at night?
A: One of the key challenges is the constant recalibration between short-term and long-term goals. Current macro-economic conditions, like trade tensions, currency fluctuations and market changes, encourage companies to focus on the short term. But short-term focus can be at the expense of long-term success in transformation. So the primary challenge is to maintain short-term top-quartile performance while keeping our eye on making the right decisions to achieve long-term success such as in the technologies we choose, the solutions we deploy, and the people who drive the change.
The second challenge is around talent. We have a team of over 100 employees across our plants and partners, but we need to continue to attract new skill sets around innovation. Not only do we need to help the next generation gain the right skills to succeed in this landscape, but we need to ensure our employees are brought along in this journey so they are not displaced by technology. We have a goal of upskilling our manufacturing workforce to thrive through our transformation.
“It has been over two decades since the manufacturing industry undertook a full refurbishment of its technologies, so a transformation is overdue.”
Q: What was the motivation behind Stanley Black & Decker’s transformation strategy?
A: The genesis came from our CEO, Jim Loree, who challenged our plant leadership to embrace digital opportunities and re-think manufacturing as we know it. Guiding the re-thinking was the development of our corporate purpose —“For Those Who Make The World”— which was excavated from our 176-year heritage and which now serves as a North Star for company. He also brought focus to innovation and set a corporate goal of being known as one of the world’s most innovative companies. With this mission in mind, we created a few Lighthouse production facilities with a clear set of goals and milestones, and the investment plan to support it. In 2018, a dedicated team was created, began defining standards and architectures, and today we are starting to deploy these new technologies across our factory network.
Q: What are the goals of the transformation plan?
A: It’s a four-year program focused on value capture. We obviously want to take cost and inefficiencies out. When you do that, you also have opportunities to increase capacity and sales revenue. It’s both an opportunity to increase the top line as well as improve our bottom line and our differentiation in the market. We have a target of a couple hundred million dollars in value captured over the next three years. On the differentiation front, we believe this initiative will also help us accelerate our approach to building where we sell, to create a nimble supply chain and an agile factory setup. It also allows us to build capacity very quickly to cater to local demands and local preferences.
Q: What key 4.0 technologies are you deploying as part of the program?
A: Our technology setup is broken into four streams: the IoT platform, which is the foundational layer to connect our people, processes, and technology; the automation and robotics layer; the analytics and insights layer; and, finally, as an umbrella, the apps and enterprise excellence technology stream. So far, we have roughly 17 plants that have foundational levels of technology implemented, and we’re aiming to have another 20 plants connected with high-level IoT technologies this year.
Q: What are the keys to your 4.0 talent transformation to drive implementation?
A: Developing, attracting, and retaining talent are critical components of the transformation. That includes upskilling and reskilling our current workforce as well as attracting the next one. We have found that the best approach is through collaboration with other public and private partners. We are working collaboratively with public-private partnerships and are developing multi-stakeholder strategies that address the increasing skills gap as the competency requirements are changing with the acceleration of Industry 4.0.
One example is a partnership with Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in Maryland. The program combines high school, college, and work-based learning for students interested in pursuing advanced education in science and technology fields. The model marries school districts, higher education institutions, and committed business partners to offer a high school diploma and an industry-focused, two-year associates degree — at no cost to students. We had 13 engineers that volunteered their time to be industry expert mentors to 60 P-TECH students. As we continue to work with P-TECH, we may provide internships, shadow days, field trips, and coaching. To compliment this student experience, this summer we are hosting a P-TECH teacher in one of our Maryland engineering hubs to ensure that the instructor is exposed to our 4.0 needs.
Q: How is this implementation plan working in practice?
A: In 2018, we laid down the high-level IoT layer that established the connection and provided the ability to drive insight to the data. Now we have quickly pivoted to a parallel path approach. While we continually lay out high IoT technologies across the network, we have picked five or six plants where we’re focusing on solving key overall problems like productivity, throughput, and scrap reduction. Essentially, we are integrating technologies and people in a holistic way for the plant — we call this Matrixed-to-Value solutions. At the same time, we continue to deploy Spot Value solutions around automation, visualization, and analytics. We are deploying a combination of both Spot Value as well as Matrixed-to-Value solutions to increase speed and impact.
Q: Can you explain more about that spot-to-matrix value scaling approach?
A: You have spot solutions where you can deploy technology to solve a specific problem — a cobot, for example, will solve a machine tending issue and drive productivity. Similarly, you can create an app that eliminates paper to create a paperless assembly process. These are both examples of Spot Value solutions. If you then connect these two spot solutions using an intelligent algorithm that optimizes the cobot and eliminates wait times and/or directs the other operators to optimize their process steps, we now have an example of a Matrixed-to-Value solution. In other words, it’s that closed loop interplay between these technologies that gives you the matrix value. That’s the way we’re looking at it. Step one: put something in there as a spot solution. Step two: connect those siloed technologies. Step three: by design, seek things that give you a value that is bigger than the sum of its parts, resulting in the connected matrix value.
Q: How does that approach help you scale the transformation across a worldwide network?
A: When we talk about spot solutions and then connected solutions to matrix value, we are essentially building what we call Plant Excellence. You’re doing things really well, not just in one line, but across the entire plant. But what’s missing in most companies is how to take that plant excellence and connect it across multiple sites to build Enterprise Excellence, so you seed those best practices and then ensure they get deployed almost real-time across the entire enterprise.
Enterprise Excellence come in two parts:
The first part is about seeking best practices in plants and then deploying them in almost real-time across the entire enterprise. The second part of Enterprise Excellence is to seek asset optimization opportunities using highly innovative AI algorithms and multi-domain digital twins. The optimization is then performed using technology and domain experts in our new, world-class Advanced Manufacturing Center called the Manufactory 4.0.
Q: What role does the Manufactory 4.0 play in this program?
A: This is best answered with a quote from our CEO, Jim Loree:
“We are living in an era where the impact of technology has begun to exceed the ability of society to absorb the pace of change, and to succeed, companies and individuals need to be able to expand their capacity to absorb rapid change and adapt faster than ever before. Manufactory 4.0 serves as the heartbeat of our company’s Industry 4.0 efforts, helping our manufacturing operations rapidly adopt leading-edge technologies and ensuring our global workforce is prepared for this new world through upskilling and re-skilling efforts.”
The work we do here will not only benefit Stanley Black & Decker, but will serve as a hub to connect with younger audiences about what makes manufacturing compelling and exciting. From this Center of Excellence, we’ll be able to more rapidly test and deploy technologies at our many manufacturing facilities and deeply engage with a wide range of public and private partners. The talent from this team will not only innovate and build creative and exciting technology solutions for our factory floor workers, but also support them after they are installed.
Q: How important is cultural change to a world of more data-driven decisions and automated information flows?
A: When you really look at it, the first thing that you have to address in a transformation is that many front-line workers may view this with skepticism. It is crucial to demonstrate your true intent to elevate work and digitize the things that matter to them. Without that trust, the rest of the strategic ideas around transformation will not work. The important thing is to show how we are elevating opportunities for them.
“When we talk about spot solutions and then connected solutions to matrix value, we are essentially building what we call Plant Excellence.”
Q: Is there a generational difference in approaches?
A: I was surprised to learn recently that around 60 percent of our workforce in our factories are less than 30 years old. When you combine those young people with people in their 50s, they work extremely well. I think it’s the need for both of these generations to really learn something because each has their own level of urgency in the age group they’re in. So when you think about data-driven decisions, I think the most important thing is to focus on collaboration. If you start with collaboration and you add visualization, which is the data aspect, I think people can easily understand the performance of the job.
Q: What would you highlight as the greatest business challenges and opportunities for the manufacturing industry over the next 5 years?
A: I think the first challenge is that we will reach a digital transformation tipping point in manufacturing in the next year or so when the divide between the haves and the have-nots will become very stark. Even though we consider ourselves to be ahead in this race, we could also be impacted negatively, too. Suddenly we will have to address the digital gap across our large supplier and customer base. I don’t have an immediate answer to this challenge, but I wish more people would be thinking about how we can do things at scale and hopefully make this divide a little less.
The second challenge is the concept of how engineers in a factory view their job as opposed to operators or other factory technicians. There is a missing link here. If you’re an engineer, you get all of the benefits of training and the ability to play with data. But when it gets to a technician level, it is more mundane and becomes more of a fixing type of role. There’s a need in the industry to actively create solutions for technicians to really bridge the gap between what they do and introduce them to the new data-related toolsets that are prevalent in today’s factories.
The third challenge, of course, is this massive dearth of labor in manufacturing. I think the industry needs a step-jump in attracting more people into the workforce, especially at the entry levels where it’s stagnant right now. We also need to focus on attracting students into the right college pipelines.
Q: What kind of leadership skills and attributes do you think the next generation of manufacturing leaders will need to really drive growth in a technologically-pervasive, data-driven industry?
A: I actually believe that the next generation that’s creating, building, and leveraging these technology-rich organizations will be okay. The challenge is in the intermediate step where, until that generation is in a leadership position, there’s going to be a void. You have an older generation of leaders who are sometimes not ready to acknowledge that the time has come to transition. These are the workers that we have to be worried about, because they’re going to stall their companies from really getting to the next step.
Q: Finally, if you had to focus on one thing as a watchword for the future of manufacturing, what would that be?
A: Possibilities. What a time to be in manufacturing – it’s vibrant, exciting, revolutionary. And there are all kinds of possibilities ahead. M
Stanley Black & Decker Headquarters, New Britain, CT
FACT FILE: Stanley Black & Decker, Inc.
– Location: New Britain, Connecticut
– Business Sector: Tools, Hardware, Security, Medical Equipment
– Revenues: $13.98 Billion (2018)
– Net Income: $645.9 Million (2018)
– People: 61,000 Employees
– Market Presence: Over 150 Countries
– Production: 115 Production Sites Worldwide
EXECUTIVE PROFILE: Sudhi N. Bangalore
Title: Global Vice President, Industry 4.0, Stanley Black & Decker
Education: Bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering, Bangalore University, India; Master’s degree in industrial engineering, University of Louisville; M.B.A, Kent State University.
Previous Roles Include:
– Global Head, Smart Manufacturing and Industry
4.0 Solutions, WIPRO
– Global Practice Head, Industrial Automation, WIPRO
– Director, Plant Operations, Danaher Corporation
– Business Unit Manager, Design Automation,
– Vice President, North America Operations,
Samtech Infotech Ltd.
Industry Roles and Awards:
– Serves on advisory boards of Intel Industrial Executive Council and University of Connecticut School of Engineering