Life Lessons Learned From the “Dog-House”

This past Saturday, February 15, the day after Valentine’s Day, I was standing in line at my local florist patiently waiting to purchase a bouquet of flowers for my wife.  In case you missed it…I was 24 hours late in making this transaction and was attempting to do what’s called a “Valentine’s Day Do-Over!”

464838855As I was listening to the gentleman in front of me, whom by the way was clearly in the same boat as me, struggle to articulate his needs to the florist, I was reminded of the disconnect that often exists between customers and service providers.  For example, the florist clearly had a PhD in Botany and the recommendations she was making were going in one ear and out the other for the customer.  After 30 seconds of getting nowhere, the gentleman finally said, "Just give me the dog-house package!”

By this point, there were a total of four of us in line and once the laughter ceased, we all communicated to the florist that we wanted the “dog-house” package too.

When I compare my purchasing experience to that of a mining customer, it begs the question: are the needs of the mining industry truly understood, or are vendors merely pushing products?

At GE, we see the Industrial Internet as a way to bridge this gap by combining intelligent machines, advanced analytics, and people at work in ways that dramatically improve productivity and efficiency.   The Industrial Internet is not a widget or software application that you install and then walk away—it’s a strategy for changing how people and machines work together to create better customer outcomes.

When I speak with customers about the Industrial Internet platform in mining, the message definitely resonates; however, everyone inevitably asks…”but what can it really do for my business?”  In laymen terms, I describe it this way: the Industrial Internet is about eliminating unplanned downtime on critical equipment assets and improving operating margins by helping organizations extract additional value from existing assets.

In a recent Financial Times article, Mark Cutifani, CEO of the multi-national mining firm Anglo American challenged the mining sector to speed up the pace of innovation to prevent the “risk of being marginalized by groups that spend more on research.”

Mr. Cutifani’s remarks are extremely insightful, but I would add that in today’s environment, innovation must be viewed as a team rather than an individual sport! In the same manner that no single entity owns the consumer internet, no single entity will own the Industrial Internet either.  It will consist of players from various industries and sectors working together to derive insights and identify game-changing opportunities that will significantly move the needle and the mining industry forward.