What’s Next in Manufacturing? A Q&A With Tom Lin, Wavicle’s Manufacturing Practice Lead

Author: Wavicle Data Solutions

At Wavicle, we pride ourselves on combining industry-specific experience and deep technical knowledge to craft custom data and analytics solutions that fit our customers’ business goals. Our practice leads leverage their industry expertise to champion solutions that best serve their customers. 


Tom Lin, Manufacturing Practice Lead, brings more than 20 years of experience leading data-driven transformations to his role. As the newest leader on the Wavicle team, Tom offers a unique perspective on what’s next for manufacturers in terms of modernization, digital transformation, and the industry’s latest data and analytics trends.  


Keep reading to get to know Tom and grab an inside perspective on data and analytics in the manufacturing industry. 


Q: How did you get started in the manufacturing industry? What makes you passionate about helping manufacturers?


A: My first experience in manufacturing was with a helicopter manufacturer, where I was able to witness how the dashboards and analytics that my team built were being used at the assembly sites. It was a unique experience compared to working in a corporate office, and it was exciting to see complex machines being built with such precision. I also saw the importance firsthand of embedding data throughout the whole operation.


As I continued to work closely with manufacturers, I started to see manufacturing move very quickly towards a postindustrial, knowledge-based industry. Today, the ability to leverage data, artificial intelligence (AI), and the cloud to build high-quality, sustainable products at a low cost is required to stay competitive. This is commonly known as Industry 4.0 (the current Industrial Revolution), and we are still in the beginning phases where a lot of the innovation is yet to come. Wavicle is positioned to help our clients navigate through these disruptive changes, which puts us in an exciting place.


Q: Traditionally, the manufacturing industry has a reputation of being slow to change. Where do you see manufacturers driving modernization?


A: Manufacturers have led a lot of innovation that other industries adopted. Six sigma, industrial IoT, and 3D printing are all examples where manufacturers have led from the front. Where manufacturers have not moved as quickly is in modernizing their data assets, embracing the cloud, and leveraging machine learning (ML) and AI to optimize production.


There is a desire among manufacturers to adopt these capabilities, but they continue to face challenges with their data and their ability to scale analytics and AI.


Q: What roadblocks must manufacturers overcome for successful data analytics projects?


A: While AI and ML get the headlines, having good data is required to enable these capabilities, and this continues to be a pain point for many manufacturers. Our approach to helping our clients is to make sure they have the proper data strategy, architecture, governance, and quality to enable innovation at scale.


Q: What big opportunities do you see for manufacturers in the coming years?


A: Manufacturers tend to leverage data to monitor their operations and provide insights into reducing cost. While this is important, the opportunity that tends to be missed is using data as a potential new revenue stream. We have seen examples where data-driven intelligence can boost revenue by more than 30 percent. For example, Caterpillar has an installed base of more than one million connected machines and provides a subscription-based data service their customers pay for to improve their operations.


The high-tech industry was the first to fully embrace data as a service, and manufacturers are now realizing the value of the data they possess. Our job is to help them understand this value, provide measurable ROI, and build scalable architecture that enables all the capabilities that manufacturers will need to remain competitive.



Ready to take the next step in your modernization process? Get in touch with Wavicle’s expert team today.