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Excerpts from podcast with Anthony Huffman

With over 19 years of manufacturing transformation experience in Electronic Solutions, Medical Devices, Aerospace, and Defense industries, Tony leads digital transformation at Molex. During his tenure at Molex, Tony has established cutting-edge smart manufacturing and digital supply chain capabilities in more than 20 manufacturing sites spanning across 12 countries.

Embracing Agile Methodologies in a VUCA environment, Tony has practically deployed the latest in modern MES/MOM, IIOT, Unified Namespace, Digital Worker, and Advanced Analytics (ML/AI)Technologies.

He holds a Bachelor degree in Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering from Iowa State University and a Master's degree in Business Administration from Northern Illinois University.


Podcast Insights:

  • The key to accelerating digital transformation lies in unlocking data to create new insights and value for the organization, emphasizing a long-term perspective. Building a technology stack involving data demands meticulous design and architecture development allows for a change in performance, and achieves advanced analytics. This helps in attaining data scalability across the enterprise.
  • To successfully transition from reactive to proactive and predictive data utilization, embedding architecture into the strategy and design in the early stages is vital for long-term success in the digital transformation journey.
  • To effectively leverage data technology for digital transformation, organizations must create teams fluent in business processes and technology. These bilingual teams can bridge the gap between understanding how the business operates and the technical aspects of data science and engineering. Collaboration and knowledge-sharing within these teams are essential for success.
  • Companies should look within their organization to identify existing resources that may already possess the necessary skills but still need to be organized for effective collaboration. Additionally, forming partnerships with third-party experts can be a cost-effective way to access specialized knowledge and avoid reinventing the wheel. These partnerships can provide valuable guidance and expertise.
  • In conclusion, successful data-driven transformation within a company requires a proficient global team capable of building advanced analytics engines and champions at the local level who possess a deep understanding of digital principles and are enthusiastic about harnessing data to drive more innovative, more timely, and highly effective decision-making.
  • Organizations should recognize whether a problem or solution is new to their context, industry, or the world. This approach encourages the efficient use of internal and external knowledge resources and helps organizations avoid starting from scratch when solutions already exist.
  • Investing in data experts (scientists, analysts) is vital for advanced analytics and data tools. However, upskilling existing staff is a challenge but can develop an effective data team. Some companies, like Molex, have the advantage of large internal communities and access to a wide network of subject matter experts (SMEs) can provide valuable insights and support.
  • At times, building an in-house data team can be costly due to recruitment and infrastructure. Consequently, partnering with a data technology provider offers cost efficiency and flexibility and reliable partners act as champions of digital transformation.They enhance technical architecture and offer expertise in modern technologies.
  • The “New To Model” framework assesses whether a problem or solution is new to the company, the industry, or the world. Utilizing internal networks and external collaborations provides access to valuable expertise and helps to avoid reinventing the wheel by learning from others’ experiences and solutions.
  • When integrated into the company’s digital DNA, data as an asset plays a central role in digital transformation strategy. This brings a cultural shift across the entire value chain in an organization and empowers people to innovate with new tools and technologies, ultimately optimizing all business processes.
  • The company’s strategic shift from merely focusing on core business processes to unlocking and democratizing innovations across all departments signifies a fundamental cultural transformation. Empowering individuals with adaptable tools and technology stacks fosters a culture of innovation and collaboration.
  • Anthony shared that Molex’s focus centers on overhauling supply chain, manufacturing, and product development, an endeavor driven by foundational capabilities that unleash a wealth of metadata and data across the entire operational thread. This comprehensive digital thread seeks to harmoniously connect all aspects, fostering closed-loop systems and valuable feedback mechanisms. Collaboration, breaking down silos, and tapping into intelligence that transcends current boundaries underscore Molex’s vision.
  • Anthony explains the pivotal role of collaboration and intelligence, possibly through AI, to glean insights across the value chain. Years of strategic foundation builds innovation with heightened intelligence. The advent of AI, exemplified by chat GPT and other innovations,opens the door for effective deployment throughout the supply chain and within their factory walls. The robust influence of AI on their trajectory is undeniable.
  • The discussion sheds light on another significant driver – employee experience. As technology evolves, Molex envisions their operations orchestrated by smartphone-driven applications infused with algorithms and intelligent UI/UX. This commitment resonates with a contemporary workforce seeking seamless transitions between personal and professional lives.
  • Using technology, Molex aims to transcend traditional manufacturing environments often encumbered by paper-based systems or rigid software tools. Their aspiration for intuitive, low-code, no-code applications stems from a desire for an intelligent interface – an objective supported by communities of practice and centers of excellence.
  • The impending possibility of machines imbibing knowledge from extensive datasets, facilitating precise predictions and unprecedented innovation, looms on the horizon. This transformative impact positions data technology as a bedrock of digital transformation, steering businesses through the intricacies of the digital landscape toward exponential growth.
  • As the conversation wraps, Anthony encourages the audience to embark on their own transformative journey, advising prudent investments and a measured approach. The advice to start with manageable “lighthouse” operations underscores the significance of scalable, value-driven initiatives. He emphasizes strategic alignment, scope management, and a focus on core processes to ensure success in this transformative voyage.

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