Eyeglasses with a view of 2020

Let 2020 Bring You Perfect 20/20 Vision and New Operational Insights

A.I. and Computer Vision provide a complete picture of the truth not possible with machine and vehicle data.   

In ancient times, i.e.,1975 when I first started in operations management, we managed by wandering around.  Most of our data was either manually created or it was the product of early computer systems used to track labor and materials. Back then it was necessary to walk around because the manual and computer-generated data was rarely timely and never very comprehensive. 

Even though programmable logic controllers (PLC), bar coding, RFID and GPS systems have added to the quantity, quality and timeliness of operational data, they all suffer from a fundamental weakness – they only provide isolated insights into operations. So even though we have progressed from ancient times, it is still necessary to walk or wander around in order to have a comprehensive picture of the truth.

But the option of wandering around has severe limitations.  It is not possible to be in all areas of interest at the same time and certainly not on a 24×7 basis. An initial approach to these problems is to mount closed circuit camera systems thought-out facilities and yards.  This option has severe limitations – passive or dumb cameras record hundreds of hours of video multiplied by the number of cameras. So, to gain insights, one would have to sit through a marathon of videos, and the video data is only evaluated after-the-fact, usually hours or days after something went wrong.

One last problem with the wandering around approach: most organizations have substantially reduced the number of supervisors and middle managers. So, there are fewer eyes available. Many of our clients report the additional issue of an aging workforce and the inability to attract younger folks to manufacturing and heavy industries.

The coming of 2020 presents an opportunity to resolve these age-old problems in an elegant and cost-effective manner – to gain 20/20 vision in the year 2020 with the use of computer vision! It can be used in two ways.  First, it can operate as a stand-alone to complement existing systems, and/or secondly, it can be integrated to leverage existing systems.

We have found that most clients like to start in a stand-alone manner because it is easy to get started, does not disrupt operations, and avoids tying up scarce I/T. resources. Clients have reported gaining valuable insights in the first few weeks of operations that translate into reduced cycle times and  improved safety violation monitoring as well as improved profitability. Once clients gain new insights, they begin to see how integrating computer vision data into their legacy systems can provide value to them

Only by automating “management by wandering around” is it possible to gain true 20/20 vision. This can not be done by manufacturing systems, PLCs, bar coding, RFIDs, or passive/dumb cameras.  Computer vision technology has been vetted by a large number of clients, in a wide variety of environments.  2020 is the time to take your first steps into smarter operations.

Happy New Year from the Atollogy Team


Anthony Tarantino, PhD

Adjunct Professor, Santa Clara University – Operations and Finance

Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Certified Scrum Master, CPIM (APICS), CPM (ISM)

Senior Advisor to Atollogy