Multiple Authors
By: David Dubois, Joanna Teoh

From AI-enabled chatbots to ads based on individuals’ search or social media activities, digital data offer novel ways to connect with customers. These connections can develop into intimate customer relationships that boost satisfaction, engagement, and ultimately, loyalty. Consider Netflix’s recent personalization strategy, which enabled viewers of its series Bandersnatch to choose the main character’s actions throughout the episode, leading to five unique endings.

But there is a point where customer intimacy and invasion of privacy blurs. For instance, as early as 2012, Target predicted a teenage customer’s pregnancy through her historical purchase pattern data and sent her baby-related coupons, to the surprise of her parents.

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By: Knowledge at Wharton

When the Mosaic browser, with its consumer-friendly interface, was released to the world in 1993, most had no idea how radically this first foray into the internet era would transform our lives, both personally and professionally. As humans, we are generally poor at detecting and acting on early signals of change. And as business leaders, we don’t fare much better.

Most companies were late to the party on PCs, e-commerce, smartphones, digital payments, the sharing economy, gig work, AI, and now virtual ways of working. And it’s not for lack of trying. Last year, companies spent nearly $1.2 trillion on digital transformation, according to research by International Data Corporation. Yet only 13 percent of leaders believe their organizations are truly ready to compete in the digital age.

Enter the Covid-19 crisis. Although it may not be a welcomed shock to the system, it’s driving the rapid adoption of digital technologies and ways of working needed for companies just to stay relevant and continue to operate. Not only has the stock market experienced a historic drop in value, but companies also have had to dramatically change the way they operate amidst a social lockdown.

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By: Simon Côté

How can the KTM racing team inspect motorbike parts of various shapes, sizes, and complexity, and account for minuscule material variations and deviations between laps? The team trades microns for milliseconds. Here is how KTM Motorsports used 3D scanning solutions to perform quality control procedures and improve their times on the track.


Pol Espargaró from Red Bull KTM MotoGP

KTM AG is Europe’s leading high-performance street and off-road sport motorcycle manufacturer based in Mattighofen, Austria. Over the years, KTM has built a reputation as a fierce competitor on racetracks around the world. With an established presence in the off-road segments, KTM has progressed through the world of street motorcycles and recently made a foray into sport bike territory.

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By: Norm Friesen

As the Covid-19 pandemic forces many U.S. colleges and universities to move their courses online, connecting online via video is now having its moment.

Family, friends, neighbors, and even TV talk-show hosts are now meeting and broadcasting from home. Meanwhile, Microsoft, Google, and Zoom are struggling to meet the demand for their videoconferencing services.

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By: Mark Rosenthal

Sometimes I see people chasing their tails when trying to troubleshoot a process. This usually (though not always) follows a complaint or rejection of some kind.

A few years ago I posted “Organize, Standardize, Stabilize, Optimize” and talked in general terms about the sequence of thinking that gives reliable outcomes. This is a series of questions that, if asked and addressed in sequence, can help you troubleshoot a process. The idea is that you must have a very clear yes to every question before proceeding to the next.

Question 1: Is there a clear standard for the outcome?

Why is this important? Because if you don’t have a clear expectation of what “good” looks like, then your definition of “not good” is subjective and varies depending on who, what, and when things are being looked at.

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By: Eric Stoop

According to the National Safety Council, the rate of preventable workplace fatalities per 100,000 workers has flattened or risen slightly since 2009 after decades of steady improvement in occupational safety.

Companies conducting layered process audits (LPAs) can help get the United States get back on track reducing the workplace fatality rate by conducting daily checks to help identify safety nonconformances and fix them before they cause safety incidents.

With daily checks of high-risk processes, layered process audits lead to more conversations about safety, also demonstrating that leadership prioritizes safe work—both critical to creating a culture of safety.

Achieving this level of reliability, however, doesn’t happen overnight. Organizations must first make a key mindset shift, and take a strategic approach to uncovering and resolving instances where people don’t follow standards.

The quality-safety link

Quality and safety may occupy two different departments in the average manufacturing organization, but the reality is that safety is itself an aspect of quality.

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By: Jason Chester

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit every industry with a barrage of challenges. The impacts on the manufacturing sector are already extending far beyond factory walls. And for now, the depth of those impacts and the expectation for recovery are unknown.

Fortunately, manufacturers are a highly adaptable breed, and many have found ways to pivot quickly to continue to provide the vital products we all need. Some organizations are even retooling and repurposing their production lines to produce entirely new products. Perfumers and distilleries are producing hand sanitizer. T-shirt makers are switching to face masks. Automakers are now producing ventilators.

These companies stepped up early and responded quickly. And we are grateful.

But for many manufacturers, regardless of their grit and preparation, the situation has thrown into sharp relief the need for technology solutions that enable faster, broader access to information about their operations—and better support for both onsite and remote workers.

A sudden shove toward digital transformation

Manufacturing organizations have embraced many aspects of Industry 4.0. However, the transition has happened at different levels for different organizations. Many companies have held on to legacy systems, especially in the realm of quality management.

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By: Howard Tiersky

Working from home (WFH) is quickly becoming the new normal. The Covid-19 pandemic kicked the WFH movement into high gear, and many experts believe it will continue long after the crisis has passed. (This article makes a solid case.) But before we can optimize this new way of working, we’re all going to have to get proficient at one of the biggest work-from-home fundamentals: the virtual meeting.

Remote meetings are inherently different from in-person meetings. If you’re not used to running them, you’re going to make tons of mistakes. And those mistakes can have major ramifications in terms of how well people perform once they log off and get back to work.

The good news is that well-run online meetings can be extremely powerful. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, online meetings can be even more effective than in-person meetings when done right. But first you need to be aware of what not to do.

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By: Lee Seok Hwai

In the trenches of the battle against Covid-19, critical defensive gear and medical equipment are in short supply. Doctors and nurses fighting the nonstop onslaught of the highly contagious coronavirus desperately need more ventilators, test kits, surgical masks, shields, and gowns.

In Spain, healthcare workers are making their own shields or reusing disposable gowns, but 12,000 of them had caught the disease by the end of March. In worst-hit Italy, more than 60 doctors have died. The American epicenter of New York asked for 30,000 ventilators from federal authorities but got only 400.

Robert Bellinger’s picture

By: Robert Bellinger

Scanning laser confocal microscopy (SLCM) has become a popular inspection tool in both research laboratories and manufacturing production lines. With a 405 nm laser light source, SLCM combines high-resolution horizontal (XY ~200 nm) and vertical (Z ~10 nm) information to create a 3D image within seconds.

SLCM’s measurement scale overlaps with optical light microscopy (OLM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM). In addition, there are minimal sample preparation requirements, and the microscopes can accommodate samples with a wide range of shapes, including large sizes. No consumables are required with SLCM, and there’s minimum system maintenance. All these benefits make SLCM a useful inspection tool. The table below summarizes the difference between these four techniques.


Figure 1: Comparing scanning laser confocal, scanning electron, atomic force, and optical light microscopy

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