From data to decisions: Domo’s Brad Kasell explores emerging tech in manufacturing

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Amid rapid technological progress and dynamic shifts in the business environment, businesses across all sectors must remain ahead of the curve.

Brad Kasell, a seasoned expert in business intelligence and technology at Domo, a cloud-native data experiences innovator, shares his perspective on the emerging trends reshaping the manufacturing sector.

In an exclusive interview with Australian Manufacturing, he delves into the transformative potential of technology, the imperative of data-driven strategies, and the crucial role of upskilling in navigating the evolving terrain of modern manufacturing.

Exploring emerging technologies

Brad Kasell, principal technology strategist at Domo APAC, underscores the role of emerging technologies in driving innovation within the manufacturing sector.

Manufacturers these days are poised to explore a spectrum of emerging technologies, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) that offer transformative potential in enhancing operational efficiency and product innovation. However, Brad advocates for strategic considerations to precede their implementation, emphasising the importance of aligning technological investments with overarching business objectives.

“In the case of manufacturing, augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR), much like the internet of things (IoT), have been considered transformative technologies. While great long-term potential exists, I think it is fair to say that in the short-term results have been underwhelming.”

He continued, “The reason for this is that, in the early phases of any new technology, the emphasis is on the technology itself, rather than the “boring old” business outcomes. Change is endorsed for its own sake with the expectation that benefits will flow “later”.

Kasell remarked that organisational innovation initiatives face the challenge of requiring greater business impact and maintaining the discernment necessary to decline opportunities with responses such as “no”, “not right now”, or “not like that”.

Embracing green tech through data

The ascent of green technologies underscores a paradigm shift in the manufacturing landscape, driven by evolving societal expectations. The Domo official elucidates how data can catalyze identifying opportunities to bolster Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives, noting, “Current ESG benefits are mainly derived from marketing, public relations, or a response to customer expectations.”

He stressed, “For green technologies to move into mainstream usage, data is required that supports tangible and ongoing business impact such as cost reductions or increased revenue.”

Cybersecurity measures

Brad said he foresees a landscape where cyber-attacks become increasingly sophisticated, posing formidable challenges to manufacturers.

He also advocates for proactive measures, urging manufacturers to fortify their cybersecurity frameworks and embrace comprehensive data protection and governance programs.

Harnessing predictive analytics for operational excellence

Predictive analytics emerges as a cornerstone in the pursuit of operational excellence within the manufacturing sector. Brad elucidates how data-driven predictive models can optimise production processes, mitigate risks, and enhance supply chain resilience.

“Predictive analytics have always been part of operational excellence however newer Artificial Intelligence capabilities build on the progress in recent years with Machine Learning to develop more accurate and refined models, often producing new and unexpected insights,” he explained.

Empowering the workforce through upskilling

Kasell said he envisions a business landscape where organisations prioritise investments in data literacy and curiosity, equipping employees with the requisite skills to navigate the data-driven terrain effectively.

He explained, “Data literacy is a foundational skill that demands consistency across the organisation, such that all parties understand the meaning and purpose of the available data, and its relevance to the specific business problems at hand. Without a common understanding of data, many analytics programs are wasted.”

He stressed that in addition to data literacy, cultivating a sense of data curiosity emerges as an aspirational skill set.

“By developing a culture of data curiosity, the organisation is equipped to solve tomorrow’s problems and to create new products and services that are aligned with the market and their own capabilities,” he concluded.