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Stanley Black & Decker Puts People in the Center of Industry 4.0 Journey

 Published by: Chad Schron, Senior Director, Tooling U-SME

I recently highlighted companies presenting at SME’s The Best of SMX virtual event that addressed the importance of workforce. Stanley Black & Decker is another inspiring example.

In his closing keynote presentation, “Making Smart Manufacturing Relevant with Enterprise Sized Value,” Sudhi Bangalore, Chief Technology Officer for Global Operations, Stanley Black & Decker, explained how people are at the center of its “massive” Industry 4.0 journey.

The company is transforming all of its operations, including factories and distribution centers. The program has built several technical and programmatic innovations that not only unlock significant additive margin impact but also help in the definition of practical roadmaps that drive speed and scale of digital transformations.

To underline what a large effort this is, consider that Stanley Black & Decker is a $14 billion company with 61,000 employees, operating 140 facilities in 60 countries.

It’s also worth noting that Stanley Black & Decker is a 177-year-old company. In 1843, Frederick Stanley started a small shop in New Britain, Connecticut, to manufacture bolts, hinges and other hardware.

Fast forward nearly two centuries: Not only is the company still in existence — it is growing and thriving. And it is on the forefront of technology. That’s pretty impressive.


Smart Factories and Growth

Sudhi shared research about how smart factory initiatives could ignite labor productivity growth. The opportunity is great.

From 2019 to 2030, growth is projected at 2 percent. That may not sound like a lot, however, it translates into a $2.4 trillion impact in North America.

“The projections of what it can do to the benefit of manufacturing and people in terms of jobs is quite impressive,” said Sudhi.

Still, there is much to do to involve companies in the smart manufacturing revolution. Additionally, many that are participating are in pilot mode. The challenge is how to move companies from pilot mode to full-scale transformation like what Stanley Black & Decker is doing.


Keeping People in the Center

Sudhi talked about how Stanley Black & Decker is keeping people in the center of their efforts by upskilling, reskilling and training. This ensures new career pathways are part of the transformation program.

The company is intent on making this a sustainable component of the transformation and do not want to “train people for the sake of training.”

Sudhi outlined two critical components to ensure people are at the center:

The first is Foundational Value which enables new ways of working for people. Stanley Black & Decker does this several ways:

  • Automate repetitive and dangerous tasks
  • Consciously look out for jobs that elevate thought content for people on the factory floor
  • Create new career paths that provide a multi-year roadmap for employees

The second critical component is Non-linear Value focused on the following:

  • Abstract the complexity
  • Translate insight into action
  • Deliver solution as standard work
  • Maximize value by minimizing variance of realization of value capture

This approach builds a successful production and operation system. It also empowers the company’s workforce to achieve next-level efficiency and effectiveness.

Of course, employees must embrace change. At Stanley Black & Decker, they have a structure to keep people at the center through Plant Champions, hourly and salary people who help the technologists engage with the plants. The tech team relies on the Plant Champions to provide solutions that are relevant. This ensures that the plants embrace and evolve the technology before the scaling.

Stanley Black & Decker demonstrates that “i t’s all about the people and still staying relevant, using technology to help do that,” as Sudhi said.

This case study reinforces that on any Industry 4.0 journey, a culture of learning is essential to inspire innovation. Keeping people in the center should be a priority through upskilling, reskilling and building new career pathways as part of the transformation program.

You can access recorded sessions from The Best of SMX, including all of the visionary keynotes and presentations on technologies that are revolutionizing manufacturing, through January 30, 2021.

At Tooling U-SME, there are dozens of new elearning classes available on various aspects of Industry 4.0, including additive manufacturing, cybersecurity, data collection and machine learning, and more are coming.

Learn more