Twenty years from now, what will the average consumer look like, and what kind of experience will they expect when making a purchase? According to Joe Maukonen, the keynote speaker at this year’s Glass Processing Automation Days (GPAD) conference, the future consumer is going to want unlimited options, want the product the next day with free delivery, and he or she may even want to have a 3D prototype before purchasing. With these factors in mind, how do you position your company to win the future consumers’ business?

Joe Maukonen gives the keynote speech at GPAD in New Orleans.

The answer may be simple: the fenestration industry needs to adapt to new technologies, such as automation, which can make it easier for consumers and maintain a low cost for the company. Maukonen, president of RoviSys, specifically mentions Industry 4.0, the computerization of machines in the manufacturing process, and the Internet of things (IoT), or the inter-networking of items which have embedded technology that allows them to collect and exchange data from the internet and other items. “In the last 15 years, half of the companies found in Fortune 500 are gone,” he said, “and in the next 15 years, another half will go.” The reason for this, he explains, is that companies don’t adapt to advancing technologies.

He emphasizes that Industry 4.0 is here to stay. “Industry 4.0 is a technological shift; it’s not a trend,” Maukonen said. He added that early adopters of this type of technology use sensors, which he estimated the cost of these to be $50—a relatively inexpensive price, making IoT a possibility “for everyone.”

Maukonen also gave his advice on how glass manufacturing companies can utilize IoT and avoid potential pitfalls of a poorly planned integration:

  • Name your IoT initiative: Define your mission; make sure it includes your customer; sell it inside your company and outside of your company. It’s like a diet, if you don’t tell anybody about it, it doesn’t work out as well. If you tell everyone about your diet plan, it’s easier to stick with it. The same with IoT.
  • Get a partner: When you get a partner, make sure it’s someone who understands the technology.
  • Document your framework and have an overlying plan: user requirements, design specifications, consider data security and analytics—find trends, find correlations.
  • Pilot one small project: if you start small, you’re able to make sure you’re going to see the return that you want.
  • Measure your results: you’ve got to measure your results or else you don’t know if you’re improving. If you use OEE (overall equipment effectiveness,) you can compare yourself to other companies.
  • Embed IoT in your products. Consumers want it, and younger consumers want it. He said to ask, “What can I embed; what kind of sensor can I put in my product that will benefit my customer and make my product better?”

The GPAD Conference kicked off its slate of presentations Tuesday in New Orleans and concludes Wednesday. Stay tuned to™ for continued coverage later this week.