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The United States Air Force was in awful shape when World War II began. Robert Lovett, the Assistant Secretary of War and future Secretary of Defense, knew things had to change. The newest branch of the American military didn’t know how many personnel were serving or how many bombs and planes were in its fleet.
Everything changed when Lovett read a report on housing by Charles “Tex” Thornton, a young bureaucrat working in FDR’s administration. After their meeting, Lovett appointed Thornton as head of Statistical Control, a new unit within the Air Force that would collect and turn data into actionable strategies. Thornton began by recruiting some of the brightest young mathematical minds in America, including Bob McNamara (future Ford CEO, Secretary of Defense, and President of the World Bank) and Arjay Miller (future Ford President and Dean of the Stanford School of Business).
Collectively, the group was known as the “Whiz Kids.”
With an improved ability to align data and personnel, the Air Force saved money, used its resources better, and generally kicked butt.
In 1941, innovative data technology meant Tex Thornton and his gang of Whiz Kids bent over sheets of paper in a smokey room.
In 2022, groundbreaking data technology for discrete manufacturers means adopting a manufacturing intelligence platform that better aligns personnel and machines in a way that strengthens efficiency and improves profitability.
The Whiz Kids were trying to solve a problem every discrete manufacturer is familiar with. The Air Force was swimming in data, though they really didn’t know what any of it meant. They didn’t even know if the data was accurate.
That changed when the Air Force hired the best technology available.
For discrete manufacturers, the same data-driven revolution is long overdue.
Too many plants still depend on operators manually entering data into terminals after an eight-hour shift. Inevitably, manual data collections are going to be significantly less accurate than collecting data in real time using a manufacturing intelligence platform. One consequence of inaccurate data collection are bids or job quotes that differ significantly from reality.
Bad data resulting in an underbid means a plant with a bottom-line in the red.
And an unprofitable discrete manufacturer will last about as long as a WWII Axis bomber sitting square in the target of an Air Force fighter plane.
Accurate, real-time data gives discrete manufacturers the ability to align information and personnel in a way that the Whiz Kids would be proud of. With Alora, discrete manufacturers can:
It isn’t 1941. Discrete manufacturers aren’t waging war. But they are fighting for their survival.
Discrete manufacturers can no longer afford to do things the way they’ve always been done. They must embrace technology and use real-time data to align personnel, machines, and resources in a way that allows them to compete in a global manufacturing marketplace.
The good news?
Innovation delivers an immediate return on investment. Users of Alora typically see a at least 15% increased utilization, which can deliver a return of as much as $20,000 per machine/per year.
As long as your data remains a mystery, your mission will ultimately fail. The Air Force understood that. That’s why they hired and empowered a bunch of young academics to straighten out their data and use it to improve efficiency and create actionable strategies.
Today’s discrete manufacturers can do the same. When plants adopt Alora, they get the real-time data they need to compete. Because while it isn’t war, if you don’t have the right manufacturing intelligence platform in place, surviving in this industry can feel like a losing battle.
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About the Author