IIoT, Industrial IT, Interviews

Industry of Things World USA Interview with Dave Rauch from Western Digital

Dave Rauch

Dave Rauch
Senior Vice President – Worldwide Manufacturing Operations, Western Digital

Dave Rauch

Dave Rauch
Senior Vice President – Worldwide Manufacturing Operations, Western Digital

About Dave Rauch:
Rauch oversees worldwide manufacturing of hard drives, including operations, manufacturing engineering and data systems. With more than 30 years of experience in technology-based companies, he has held positions in operations, engineering and program management. The hard disk drive business is fast-paced with many technical challenges, including rapid technology transitions, dynamic market cycles and competitive operational requirements. Rauch has worked for companies ranging in size from startup to $16 billion in annual revenue. Prior to joining Western Digital, Rauch worked in the optical telecommunications and solar industries, commercializing innovative products and expanding product portfolios.

About his case study:
At the Industry of Things World USA 2018 Dave Rauch held a keynote presentation with the title “Insights from an ongoing – global IIoT manufacturing excellence transformation project.”

we.CONECT: Welcome Dave, I guess we should start by asking what is the Industrial Internet and why do people believe that it’s going to change the way we do business?

Dave Rauch: The Industrial Internet has can be viewed in multiple ways. I view it as end to end connectivity across a factory process flow, or across multiple factory floors, encompassing product data, process data, equipment data and attribute data.

Being able to access these sets of data in a combined way, either for analytical purposes, improved control purposes or predictive maintenance will capture significant value that today is unrecognized in many industrial cases.

we.CONECT: The principals behind IIoT (certainly connectivity and data analytics) have been in existence for a while now, why is it then that it has taken so long for it become established and really bring measurable benefits back to industrial enterprise?

Dave Rauch: It’s a big change, and big changes take time. Depending on the situation, there may be different challenges, but there will be multiple ones. Examples may be infrastructure related to obtain the connectivity required, the distributed nature of legacy data collections, incoherent sampling plans, or risk of disruption to current operations. These can be major hurdles in getting where you want to go.

we.CONECT: So when you decided to drive get involved in the ‘IoT agenda’ at your company, I guess this was a pretty big deal and required a complete new way of relating to people and business?

Dave Rauch: Absolutely true, not only new techniques are required, but cultural changes in mind set, and overcoming people’s fears that the adoption of the Industrial Internet does not threaten their job.

we.CONECT: What are your current challenges and where do you see yourself going in the next five years with IoT development in your company?

Dave Rauch: Our major current challenge is what I call the “democratization of the data”. We have a significant amount of data in our Big Data Platform, but making it accessible to large sets of employees in a consumable way is a common theme.

we.CONECT: I guess being mid-way in an IIoT transformation journey, you probably have a lot to share in terms of knowledge and experiences that other people considering similar approaches would love to know. What advice would you have for industrial companies looking at their options in terms of how to implement IoT on the ground?

Dave Rauch: Our mantra is “Think Big, Start Small”. That means to have a vision, know where you want to end up and what capability you want to have, but do it in small steps and ensure that you recognize value along the way.

we.CONECT: You have decided to get actively involved in our Industry of Things World USA congress in San Diego, what do you hope to achieve by participating in this program?

Dave Rauch: A number of principals on our Analytics team recommended to me that we have a participation, and to share where we have come on our journey. I hope that we can help others to learn how to move forward on their own programs, to learn from others as well, and to talk with other people on this topic.

we.CONECT: Can you tell us a bit more about what topics you will be coving in your session in San Diego?

Dave Rauch: There is much information published about IIoT, its benefits, and how it will transform manufacturing. But it was difficult to find out how to structure a program that leads to the desired result. I approach the topic as a program manager might, and what are the elements that help get organized on an analytics initiative.

we.CONECT: Thanks for this background and I’m sure the participants will really benefit from your insights during your session. Before we wrap this up, is there anything else you would like to add about the conference or about applying IoT to manufacturing challenges generally?

Dave Rauch: Although it will be a challenge, the rewards will not only be worth it, it might mean the difference between having a competitive company or being at a competitive disadvantage.

The Industry of Things World USA team thanks Dave Rauch for his insights and his contribution as a speaker!