Ramesh Gulati and Klaus Blache

On this episode of Industrial Talk, we're onsite at Accruent Insights and chatting with Klaus Blache, Director with the University of Tennessee and Ramesh Gulati, Reliability Sherpa with Reliability X about a forward looking perspective in asset management and reliability.  Here are the key takeaways:

  • Industrial innovations and trends with an experienced professional. 0:04
    • Scott Mackenzie interviews Klaus and Ramesh, industry professionals at Accruent User conference in Nashville.
    • Nashville local shares memories of past conferences with colleague Ramesh, highlighting their long-standing professional relationship.
  • AI, data collection, and digital twins in asset management. 3:13
    • Scott MacKenzie and an Ramesh speaker discuss the rapid advancement of technology, particularly in the field of computing.
    • Klaus shares a humorous anecdote about implementing a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) in the 1990s, highlighting the challenges of transitioning from mainframe to PC-based systems.
    • Scott MacKenzie: AI is here to stay, but there are moral concerns associated with its use.
    • Klaus: AI will continue to improve, but there's a need for regulation to address cybersecurity concerns.
  • AI, technology adoption, and education in asset management. 8:16
    • Scott MacKenzie: AI can mimic voices accurately, but adoption is slow due to people's inability to keep up with technology (40 mph vs 100 mph).
    • Ramesh: Practical tools haven't kept up to help make right decisions on the plant floor, with a third of supervisors lacking necessary computer skills (NSC).
    • Scott MacKenzie expresses concern about traditional education's ability to keep up with technology's rapid pace, citing the need for more industry-specific training.
    • Klaus notes that while enrollment in higher education is decreasing, there is an increasing demand for upskilling and outreach to industry, leading to more focus on reliability and maintainability.
  • Optimizing asset use and implementing new technology in reliability profession. 14:29
    • Dean of local colleges discusses need for practical reliability program certifications, despite cost concerns.
    • Ramesh: Implementation is the main challenge in Industry 4.0, not the technology itself.
    • Scott MacKenzie: Industry 5.0 focuses on resilience, sustainability, and human-centric decision-making.
    • Young professionals are excited about implementing augmented reality solutions in reliability, with older professionals cautioning the need for proper training and preparation.
  • Asset management and reliability. 20:51
    • Scott MacKenzie is fascinated by the question “Why can't we just do it on our phones?” and Klaus provides examples of virtual reality training simulators for first responders and welding.
    • Ramesh emphasizes the importance of culture and preparing people for new technologies, and mentions that internships are a good way to do this.
    • Reach out to Ramesh and Klaus for asset management and reliability insights.

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Welcome to the Industrial Talk podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting-edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's go.


Alright, once again, thank you very much for joining Industrial Talk. And thank you very much for your continued support of a platform that celebrates industry professionals all around the world because you are bold, brave, you dare greatly. You are changing lives and you are changing the world. We are broadcasting on site right here, right now, Nashville, Tennessee Gaylord hotel. And if you've ever been to a hotel that's large, you haven't been to this one because this one's absolutely spectacular. And yes, you will get large loss. We are broadcasting on site, as I said, and we were at a crew and insights, which is a user conference for a cruel, and it's a fuzzy fuzzy happening out there and people wandering around and solving problems and in talking and collaborating and educating. They're doing it all here at a cruel insight. Now, this is always a treat. They have a grand total of about 350 years of reliability experience. That's rematch and that is Klaus they are in the hot seat. Let's get cracking with the conversation. How you guys doing man?


Doing great. Glad to be here, Scott.


Excellent. So far so hard. Did you start asking questions? Hey, by the way, yeah, greetings from Nashville, the Music City, kind of my hometown. I live about 40 miles from here.


Just FYI. It has some great speakeasy bars. It's like just these hidden away bars in Nashville. You're going to spend a lot of money for a drink, but it's just the whole check me through a little door. And it's a special secret place. Only I know. Now this is great guys having a good conference.


Yeah, it's great. And as I said, I'd start this out. And since I know Ramesh, for over 30 years, I said the first thing I will say is we got a picture from over 30 years ago that I have on a slide that says we were a liability before liability was cool. Cool.


Do you really have Yeah.


I mean, again, he was at that time I was organizing international maintenance conference. And that was in Nashville. He was one of our speakers at that time, he was doing a service at GM. And we might it was a mid 90s. And that was in Nashville. So we know each other for more.


That's why That's MRP was starting some time. And then I had the global responsibility for a lot manufacturing liability maintenance for General Motors and so on was to incorporate


what I see every time I have these conversations with you guys, I recognize that you have seen really, from the beginning to just where we are today and really begin to recognize the amount of change that has happened, which is just always fascinating to me. I just because you've guys have forgotten more than, you know, most have ever learned. So that's kudos to you. I don't


really want to forget.


Yeah, but you had that conversation? Well, that didn't work out real well. Try. But But given the way technology is today, things that were not possible back then are possible today.


Oh, absolutely. I mean, I used one example just to be funny. Computer System has changed so much, just in my lifetime. I started out in college with IBM punch cards, right? Just think about that IBM punch card where every line of code is typed in and just punches out little holes, and you dare not drop the, you know, 500 lines of code, because that's 500 cards. And I don't remember if they had the line numbers, I don't know what he's doing, then you give it to the magic wizard. Like like in The Wizard of Oz, because you weren't allowed to touch a computer yet because it was that scary, you know, see what put it on a shelf and the wizard would take it. And then you know, several hours later your box would come back and G one line of code was wrong. So I had to find out what that was and retype, give it back to the wizard. And now we're talking about quantum computing and all that kind


of creative. So again, it's fast, right? Like it's fast.


Another funny story on this one same line. I went to University of Buffalo 90 Somebody took a same computer kind of course. Then I started came back here at ordinary Air Force Base trying to implement more Barrameda reliability. And one of my tasks was to get a CMMS system or get it in library program going. So everybody in the company, this or THERE WAS IT guy, you want him to go to come on our minimum mainframe system there was a problem going to mainframe because you cannot get anything done, you have to go to it. And I was looking at computer based desktop CMMS just coming out with a PC based. So I wanted to go to PC, IBM, and boy that was challenged to getting our IT guys, my this manager it can miss that, hey, let me go to PCB system. So now, but I wanted to go I have to go to all the way to my general manager to get a permission to get a PC, we got to IBM PC that time to get a PC based CMMS system in place. But that was a challenge how things have changed from mainframe to PC or now we do everything on the telephone. So yes, the cloud is going to


see this is what's really interesting. And because you've you've had such a tremendous career in the world of asset management, reliability, and and and it's brilliant, don't get me wrong I but but you had to, from your professional perspective, constantly look at new innovations, you're constantly seeking and pursuing other areas that allow better management of assets, greater insights, whatever it might be, you're just constantly looking at it. Given what you know, today, given your history, where are you seeing it going? I mean, if I if I had a nickel every time somebody says, Hey, Scott, it's all about data collection. Great. That's fine. But what what do you do with them? Klaus, what do you sort of put your future hat on? What do you what are we talking about? I think


I think AI is here to stay. You know, virtuality is gonna get better machine learnings get good, ar, ar, all that stuff. Yeah, I think there's a need for more regulation. I think surveys I've seen, it's kind of 5050 people are for it. And against it, that's going a little bit too fast, because they worry about cybersecurity, oh, where's my data going, you know, people out there to make money not to kind of watch our data. You know, so those kinds of concerns, but at the same time, that's exciting. We know, it can do a lot of things better and faster. I mean, you know, right now, it's you know, the chat. GBT is in the baby phases. Right now, isn't that something? Yeah, it's learning. It's, uh, you know, we tested it a little bit, it's good at some things, it was working pretty good. Other things? It's not that good. Because, again, it's a baby, right? Still, it's learning our calculations and reliability, it makes a lot of mistakes. It's not there yet, you know, so you have to know how to use it. But over time, it will get better will get better just just like a person growing up.


Yeah. Yeah, there are some moral concerns associated with AI. Quite frankly, I use it. Yeah, I use it. i How are you familiar with Bart? have heard of it? Yeah, it's really it's it. It's, it's similar. It's the same thing. I use Bart, I use chat GPT, all of that.


So another 10 years will say is that really use scatter is that your digital twin, let me reach out.


They can mimic, there's an ability to accurately mimic the voice of individuals. So that's just blows me away. But then back to from a reliability or asset management perspective. And everybody's talking about data and analysis and being able to pull the data off of it and be able to take some pull the analytics, right, and then be able to make tactical or whatever decisions associated with it. That is a incredible use case. For AI.


That's right. I mean, we'd need a again, this is a lot going back to CMMS system kind of thing, we want to be input the data, but we want information out so we can make better decisions that but many times CMMS system have not done that. I think with the help of AI, we should be able to get the data faster information out as per so we can make it better, better decisions, which are very, very important. You were talking earlier about artificial intelligence, this chapter at all these kinds of great technology, we need it to make us do a more efficient and better job, but we have to be cautious application on those in the field. We have to be careful how we got implementers we have to make sure our people are ready to use that technology. You know, a few years ago, I was at one conference. And we had people all sitting there talking about AI smart sensors and those kinds of things. Yes, we need them but we have to make sure they are reliable also their submissions, their air security, all, there are some issues with all technology. So we cannot just say, hey, that's great. This apply, yes, we have to be cautious, we have to prepare our people as well as our systems. So it can take. But here's


the here's the challenge to your point Ramesh is that there seems to be a different rate of speed, here's technology and technology is traveling at 100 miles an hour. And here's the adoption of the people that are going to use it. And we're traveling at 40 miles per hour. And so it's just the gap keeps on getting larger and larger. And Klaus, what I see is that technology is passing up our ability to be able to adopt it


with the incoming data, the practical tools haven't kept up to help us make the right decisions on the plant floor. And then bigger surveys and studies like from the National Skills Coalition, which represents all kinds of industry say a third of the people that actually have to manage and supervise people that need moderate to complex computer skills don't even have those skills. That's how scary it is.


Yeah, see, I see it, I sent it, but it's happening. But then to your point, Ramesh, what do we do? How do we how do we sort of levelized that, that learning and the speed of technology and the adoption to to extract the value out of that,


I'll be happy to start working with our escape schools, you know, think about, you know, hey, stop teaching. Think about STEM program, you know, how many people are going to enter in your science and math and this, and that's a work on in fact, our company we did in locally, we are going to high school, helping them those guys pay just not just a computer, there's some other technology to learn with. Teach them our kids in the high school and, and beyond. Even in our engineering college, we have to teach them reliability, we don't teach them. And luckily, a UT has done a good job, as you know. So that's the kind of thing we start teaching people, Hey, what's we need in the blank area in the field? What kind of technology how we can change technology to be more apply this application that technology in the field easily does


see that that shifts the conversation over to education and Klaus is definitely has the street cred there. This is my concern. The concern is no. UT has, they're just absolutely wonderful to be able to have you there is. But do you see that tenured professors in this in this world? Can they keep up with it, because you're just you're you, you are uniquely positioned. Let's just lay it out there. And because you've been in it, my concern is that traditional education is not nimble enough to be able to deal with some of this.


I think, more more people are starting to get it. There's not as fast as I'd like. I mean, across the US knowing and I'm just talking about UT here. And I think by maybe survival instincts that may even grow for all across because as we go forward, colleges are starting to shrink and enrollment ut still increasing. So it's a good thing. But if you look at colleges, number of kids going to school, cuz people that just having less kids, that's going to shrink, there's gonna be more outreach in industry, and there's gonna be more outreach to industry. And with the demand and shortages of people, people are upskilling more, and so on. So I think automatically, it's going to drive that more. And people are starting to understand more of the benefits of reliability and maintainability, even though it's taken a long time, would have been nice to have that 20 years ago already. But I think it's starting to take hold.


Yeah, but don't you think that there's a timing for everything. And I think that today, in my conversations, the technology is there to be able to sort of really take that next step that that step forward of being able to next level, you know, asset management and reliability focus. And I have to say, just because it's a necessity for survival for many of these companies, I can't find people. So I have to figure out how to optimize the use of my asset, is that right?


That's right, I'm in desperate need, how what we teach in our colleges is not what we need as a platform. We use a lot of theory there, which is required, but we don't have a practical application of the technology. How will you use it, apply it? I mean, think about how this program was certification. cmrp CRL all these certified Yeah, how that started because we didn't have people with a proper skill set. So we wanted to get people educated and assess their knowledge by these certifications, so that we know that they have qualification, their proper skill set, definitely all these certifications crowded. And I think one of the thing I did was I went to local colleges, as the Dean's talk to them, Hey, why did you start a reliability program? So because that's what we need people do best practices of these kinds of things. And they said, Yep, we want to do it. But we cannot add more courses, we cannot add more classes. Luckily, I have a class has done a good job over there. He was able to justify get the classes there. But other colleges, they say it cost too much. People don't want to pay that much. So in fact, they're cutting back on the course, courses, that's not the right direction. That's going right direction, cost too much. And that's what they tried to do is a because our ad so they are doing a more a specialized classes, some kind some courses, and this certification came along to make sure people who are going to the bloody are excuse people, you know, and that's where certifications have sets. And then


then much of the challenge, which isn't the technology is the implementation been that nobody teaches that 70% of the failures are implementation focused on getting it out there. And it has nothing to do with the technology yet


if to your point. I mean, it technologies, the technology, and I think that it always gets down to the human equation. And that's the implementation of it. Klaus, you're uniquely positioned just because you're teaching ut what are some of the future leaders talking about what what gets them excited?


But I think a couple of things, I mean, maybe you can talk a bit about the industry 4.05 point relates. People are talking about four and a half. But you know, industry 4.0. I mean, that's all the stuff we're talking about today with all the digital accounts and all that. And what it's touting and moving towards is a different vision for everybody. It's there's an exact model. But it's really connectivity, like what this supreme conference is all about. It's about getting better data to the bland plant floor and getting better data so people can make decisions. And I wanted to talk about kind of, so all that's industry 4.0 And they call it a revolution, the industrial over Fourth Industrial Revolution. Well, heck has been going on since before 2010 with pieces of that. But now the industry 5.0 kind of the simple version, in my mind, how it differentiates, it looks at being more resilient, like to be able to recover with like what happened with COVID, and, and so on, are we more resilient? Are we agile, at least stable, not just lean, you know, and so on. So that's resiliency. The other thing I gets more into sustainability, and what's the long term decisions that are correct. And that includes planet friendly includes resources, everything. And the third part of that is being more human centric. And by that, I mean not just giving data to the people, but how do you take the data and the knowledge and get it the people so they can use their smarts, their ingenuity, their creativity, to make better decisions, not just give them more data, but how does it enhance that? And that kind of follows up with the keynote, from this conference here? How do we work on the engineering of the people to make those good decisions? And that's what I mean by human centric, not just having the people involved.


It must be it would, it would be enjoyable for me to be able to talk to young professionals who are passionate about, you know, the reliability profession, and then be able to see how they look at it. They they see it sometimes I find that the older I get it in sort of a trench and I only think of it a certain way until somebody says Hey Scott, what about this? That's the excite that's what you and and you as well Ramesh Just deal with on it. Has anybody really sort of talked about the implementation of like, like a augmented reality type of solution from a reliability perspective? We talked about virtual got it. Of course your battery digital twin, but what about sort of that? That augmented type of slow?


I'm glad you talked about this thing, because recently when I teach my classes are unit Wisconsin and Michigan, Mississippi State, I see a lot of my students are young students. They're coming in which is a really great thing, which I plan that started coming and those kits are much faster learning technology. Okay, and they pick up so quick and unbelievable, you know, so I think good things are going to happen, because Jen gets us started coming to meet Laverty field. And they are exciting. And they can do you know, in fact, what we did we select a couple of young guys gates and give them into predictive technology in area. Boy, they're really blooming up or they're, they're doing great job. So yes, that new technology argument I've made, all these things are coming, and it's going to take place. But again, you have to be cautious in each get our people prepare for this new technology.


It always fascinates me when it's like, Why do I have to do it that way? What, Why, why can't I just do it on my I can do it on my phone? Yeah, it's right there. Why? And that to me is that's a great question. Why?


Yeah, maybe a good follow up example, is one of our companies that we work with, they do virtual reality, to learn welding, how can you learn welding virtual reality, and then they still do the hands on but a much less percentage, they can train in about half the time, and it's just as good. So that's a benefit.


So I digress. Here, I digress. Oak Ridge, Tennessee, they have a virtual reality training simulator for first responders. So the same thing gets it's not DAX index index index of slides, it's actually being able to be in the environment that they are familiar with, learn, and that learning and the the retention is so much greater. It's like, you know, when you're hearing people talk about, and it's just again, to your point, flowers, were just at the tip, just the tip of it. You know, and as


messed up, as you know, the students are great, because I think that technologies are also bringing more younger people maintainability. So that's a good connect. And what we do with art, we have a we have a training center, we have a pseudo factory at the University of put together. And what we do is we use senior design project students to do all the continuous improvement. So we always get 1015 students in the last two semesters, they stay with us. And half of design has an implementation of what we need to get done. And so it also so again, they're they're going to industry learning technologies, knowing that, and I'm a big supporter of internships, we Yes, we put interns in half the United States, and I think everybody should be doing that every year.


Well, technology is great. We need it. However, I want to insist. You have to prepare people, you have to have the right culture. The invitation is a key thing. You know, a limitation. As Klaus said earlier, we know 60 70% failure, because we don't have a right culture. Culture.


That's an awful that's an awful stamp. I really just FYI, I would tell it frustrate the heck out of a good thing. I don't do it. All Ramesh How do people get a hold of you buzz around your buzzy. Buzzy what how do people get a hold of you? I don't know how to get a hold of you


got Mitch got blocked yet


you don't you don't shadow ban me.


Don't do that. I'm looked at guy but to still get on one set on LinkedIn. Klaus, how


did we get a hold of you? Easy. I'm on LinkedIn or que de la CAG first initial last name at youtube k.edu.


All right, we're going to have all the contact information for these two channels. Yes, it is a must reach out. If you are in the reliability world if you're in the asset management world if you're into any of that, if you're interested in just learning, you gotta reach out to these two gents. A must connect. Alright, we are once again broadcasting from accrual insights here in Nashville, Tennessee. Yeah, put this on your calendar for next year must attend. All right, we're gonna wrap it up on the other side. Stay tuned, we will be right back.


You're listening to the Industrial Talk Podcast Network.


Without a doubt, your call to action is clear. It is crystal clear. You need to reach out to both Ramesh and Klaus because if you're in the world of asset management, reliability, and you need to talk to a couple of individuals pros in that Steel, those two are at the top of the list. So don't hesitate. All the contact information will be out in Industrial Talk. So no excuses, reach out to them. And and they're published. They've forgotten more in that conversation than I'll ever learn. They are absolutely spectacular. Go back many years anyway, by the way. They're great, great, great individuals. All right. We were broadcasting on site. That was a crew, its insights, and that was a must attend event. Put that on your calendar. Wonderful, wonderful energy, wonderful stuff happening there. People be brave, daring, greatly hanging out with us too. He will be changing the world. We're gonna have another great conversation shortly from the event so stay tuned.

On this episode of Industrial Talk, we're onsite at Accruent Insights and chatting with Klaus Blache, Director with the University of Tennessee and Ramesh Gulati, Reliability Sherpa with Reliability X about a forward looking perspective in asset management and reliability. 
Scott MacKenzie

About the author, Scott

I am Scott MacKenzie, husband, father, and passionate industry educator. From humble beginnings as a lathing contractor and certified journeyman/lineman to an Undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Business Administration, I have applied every aspect of my education and training to lead and influence. I believe in serving and adding value wherever I am called.

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