By: Bala Deshpande, Conference Co-Chair, Predictive Analytics World for Manufacturing 2016

In anticipation of his upcoming Predictive Analytics World for Manufacturing conference Matteo Bellucci imagekeynote presentation, Changing the Way we Make Things: The Brilliant Factory, we interviewed Dr. Matteo Bellucci, Manager, Process System Lab at General Electric. View the Q-and-A below for a glimpse of what’s in store at the PAW Manufacturing conference.

Q: What are the challenges in translating the lessons of predictive analytics from other verticals into manufacturing?

A: In a manufacturing environment such as the ones at GE, were we make low volume high value products, Return of Investment (ROI), R&D funding allocation and cultural resistance are probably the highest barrier for translating the lessons of predictive analytics into manufacturing. Given the “low volumes” it takes longer to see the benefit of an improvement on the factory floor. R&D is mainly dominated by Engineering functions that do not always fully understand the challenges of supply chain teams, thus allocating limited funding into new manufacturing technologies. Finally we still live in a world where ”trial and error” are dominating the mindset of supply chain teams, and the power of analytics is not fully engrained in the culture of those organizations.

Q: In your work with predictive analytics, what behavior do your models predict?

A: The work we are doing at GE Global Research spans many different areas from virtually commissioning new factories before they are even built, to predictive maintenance algorithms or real time factory bottleneck detections.  

Q: How does predictive analytics deliver value at your organization? What is one specific way in which it actively drives decisions?

A: There are 3 main benefits of predictive analytics – 1) reduce cost of our supply chain operations, thus making GE more competitive; 2) increase the speed at which we can implement innovation in our products & supply chains; 3) drive real time decisions on the factory floor. For example if a CNC goes down unexpectedly, or if we see a surge in demand for a specific part, or if the production is “disrupted” by some R&D prototype that needs to be built, the system will inform us in real time of how to best utilize the assets that we have available within our internal or external supply chain, to still deliver at cost, and on time.

Q: Can you describe a successful result, such as the predictive lift (or accuracy) of your model or the ROI of an analytics initiative?

A: Over the last couple of years, we have proven many use cases in many of our factories. In one of them, a real time scheduling system is helping them gain significant productivity by providing suggestion on how best optimize assets on a day by day basis. Another use case was about predictive maintenance – we have proven to be able to detect an issue days before it would have actually occurred. We use analytics to improve parts yield and reduce cost of quality. We have seen many success stories where analytics has helped solve problems and deliver a better product, faster. Overall we believe the company is going to become stronger through the use of Brilliant Factory technologies.

Q: What surprising discovery have you unearthed in your data?

A: There is an incredible amount of capacity at both machine level and plant level that can be unlocked by smart analytics that can help operators focusing on what really matters. Just by visually monitoring a machine you can get a 20% uptime increase. Most importantly the data are helping drive a behavioral change at the shop floor level and this is helping to accelerate some of the R&D and implementation efforts inside GE.

Q: Sneak preview: Please tell us a take-away that you will provide during your talk at Predictive Analytics World for Manufacturing.

A: “If you went to bed last night as an industrial company, you’re going to wake up this morning as a software and analytics company.” – Jeff Immelt, GE Chairman & CEO. The presentation will be around Jeff’s quote with specific focus on how we are using analytics to optimize our own factories.


Don't miss Dr. Bellucci’s keynote conference presentation, Changing the Way we Make Things: The Brilliant Factory, at PAW Manufacturing, on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 from 9:10 to 10:00 am. Click here to register for attendance. 

By: Bala Deshpande, Founder, Simafore and Conference Co-Chair of Predictive Analytics World for Manufacturing.