BROOKFIELD - On day one of Manufacturing
Month, Waukesha County companies focused on how
technology has changed and will continue to change their
industry during a Waukesha County Business Alliance
Tom Feist, general manager of Advanced
Manufacturing Engineering at GE Healthcare; Clayton
Tychkowsky, president of Eaton’s Cooper Power Systems
Business; and Mary Wehrheim, president of Stanek Tool,
shared their perspectives on how technology has helped
manufacturing to evolve.
Wehrheim said a significant part of
implementing technology in a manufacturing business is
communicating to the workers that the changes are
“This is good for you. It’s good for the
company. It’s good for the world,” she said of her
message to employees.
One of those benefits is efficiency.
Feist said the Internet has been a huge
game-changer in how it allows data to be transferred so
that a doctor in Australia can be reviewing a Wisconsin
“It has flattened the world
dramatically,” he said. “It has allowed a number of
players to come and compete.”
Implementing technology is driven by
economic factors, such as wages, Tychkowsky said.
Manually intense labor tends to be performed in places
like Asia, while Europe adopted automatic work quicker.
While all the technology has created
efficiencies, Tychkowsky said business leaders must be
careful not to allow its use in their companies to get
away from them or it could lead to many problems.
Feist agreed that technology must be used
properly for the best results. Also important is
harvesting the data collected by the technology and
using it to help the company.
“It allows you to optimize the flow for
your company,” he said.
The cost of technology must be carefully
weighed against the potential benefits, Feist said.
It’s easy to fall in love with the new
model of a machine, but Feist said it’s important to
first estimate the potential payoff, as well as to
evaluate how much immediate dip in productivity there
will be after implementing the machine in the company.
“Our customers are expecting us to find
ways to be more productive and technology helps us to do
that,” Tychkowsky said.
Feist said it’s important to realize that
a company can monetize the efficiencies. At GE
Healthcare, he said, they not only sell the equipment
but the solution and can guarantee that a certain amount
of improvement will be realized with efficiency, for
“It’s perfectly reasonable to sell that
value,” he said.