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Thursday
Jun232016

Bridging the Gap

How a Brand’s Story Bridges Tech, Innovation, Manufacturing, People

by GREGG on JUNE 12, 2016

Reveal smartphone3Here’s another reason why I’m blogging again: I continue to find myself at the nexus of technology, innovation, manufacturing and people. And I’m learning that brands have a unique positioning opportunity at this spot on the grid, because of the stories they can tell.

Take Trumble Inc., which is based in the Detroit area. It’s a software startup with a unique product called Reveal, which uses artificial intelligence to enable plant floor intelligence. Reveal monitors manufacturing quality and testing databases, looking for trends in process variability in continuous real-time, and then alerts via text, email or smartphone app (see photo) before that turns into product defects, downtime and cost.

Think of it this way: Thanks to the Internet of Things and other factors, machines generate data – lots and lots of data. Reveal is watching all that data, all the time. When it’s looking like the process is trending to the upper or lower end of specification, Reveal sends an alert, typically to the plant floor employee nearest the problem, who can then correct it before it turns into loss.

But here’s where the brand’s story comes in. Founder and CEO Jeff Trumble is a Six Sigma Black Belt with an MBA, but back in 1973, he was an 18-year-old, packing axle shafts on the end of a machining line. I’ve talked with him, and he’s deeply committed to that group because of his own experience, which is core to the brand, IMO anyway.

“I’m very grateful for those years, because a lot of that foundation is what makes our current technology so effective,” Jeff told me recently. “The space we’ve targeted is the grass-roots space – these are the people that make or break a manufacturing process.

“It became clear that developing a technology that gathers information and makes it available to the plant floor worker, those first responders, is transformative. The power to change things and improve things is huge.”

Now overlay what Trumble is doing with the Reshoring Initiative, which has as its mission to bring “manufacturing jobs back to the United States by assisting companies to more accurately assess their total cost of offshoring, and shift collective thinking from offshoring is cheaper to local reduces the total cost of ownership.”

Reveal will help reduce that total cost of ownership for organizations, and to boot will make individual employees successful – particularly those new to the manufacturing space, assuming reshoring will demand more plant floor workers.

But a brand is a promise, and the technology piece is one part of that. Trumble Inc.’s story is just as crucial; it can confidently promise results because it has literally been there, done that.

That’s a one-two punch that’s hard to beat.

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