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Interview with Carl March

by | Aug 11, 2021 | Interviews,

Carl March

Carl March

Director - Industry 4.0 at Stanley Black & Decker

Key Topics:Industry 4.0, Analytics
Location:United States

In his role as Director – Industry 4.0 at Stanley Black & Decker (SBD), Carl is responsible for leading the innovation, strategy, and implementation of smart manufacturing technologies along with developing and implementing data driven decision making use cases enabled by IIoT connectivity across the Stanley Black & Decker (SBD) site network of factories and distribution centers. In over 21 years of manufacturing experience, Carl has had proven success in various roles in operations, Operational excellence, Technology and Analytics leading to higher levels of throughput, equipment reliability, operability, and maintainability.

Carl recently featured in Onalytica's Who's Who in Industry 4.0 report.

How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?

I started off my industrial career more than two decades ago as a plant reliability engineer responsible for effectively managing the plant’s assets to get as much productivity out of the manufacturing processes in order to maximize the return on invested capital (ROIC). This was done with a life cycle asset management approach.

After returning to school for my graduate studies and a brief return to the industry, I began a career in consulting as an Asset Management Expert and Reliability Specialist. As I served various clients across numerous industry sectors, I very quickly refined my knowledge base and absorbed all the key best practices in my field of study. This coincided with the introduction of Industry 4.0 in Germany in 2011, which became synonymous with the smart factory and the digitization of manufacturing.

All my focus over the past decade has been in this area, where I continued to serve as a consultant and most recently as a leader in our deployment of smart factory at Stanley Black & Decker.

What sub-topics are you most passionate about?

Firstly, I thrive on enabling myself and others to work smarter and make better business decisions based on data. As such, I have a passion for data and analytics. Even though I am not the stereotypical data scientist, I have been able to build a credible profile with my knack for understanding business problems and translating them into use case requirements and back into data driven, value adding solutions.

I am an avid DIY-er and a builder by nature hence I also have a passion for manufacturing. Therefore it has been such a satisfying experience to speak and share the merits of Industry 4.0 with like minded peers as well as those keen on learning.

I also recognize that to scale adoption of these practices across manufacturing can be a heavy lift, especially if a clear path is not built for Small to Medium Sized Manufacturers, who make up the vast majority of the space.

Who influences you within these topics?

I have quite a few sources of inspiration. Within our team at Stanley Black & Decker, I have the great fortune of working with some of the deepest and most creative minds that continue to push the boundaries to shape the art of the possible into the realm of the practical.

I also try to stay up to speed with the latest innovations by keeping an ear to the ground and working with a robust ecosystem of partners consisting of the well established players to the early stage startups.

What challenges are brands facing in this space?

Many aspects of Industry 4.0 are becoming more and more commoditized so early stage brands find it very hard to gain the attention of key customers.

In order to appear more relevant to customers, many brands are trying to be everything for everybody without truly defining a niche area where they uniquely own.

End users/ customers of Industry 4.0 solutions are often inundated with options that they are not fully equipped with a framework to handle.

What do you think the future holds in this space?

Over the next few years, the rate of adoption of technology into the Manufacturing environment to increase operational efficiencies is going to increase manyfold versus the past 10 years.

Technical infrastructure and Cybersecurity are going to be high risk areas that will require a specialized skillset to manage, as connected solutions grow rapidly from pilots to at scale implementations.

Increasingly challenging business environments will force operators to rapidly expand solution adoption beyond the factory floors and horizontally into the supply chain to solve issues there.

New profiles will be attracted to and onboarded into the manufacturing environment to sustain and innovate newly deployed technologies such as Collaborative Robots, Autonomous Mobile Robots, and Analytics.

New service models will be offered by manufacturers to consumers providing new sources of aftermarket revenue and feedback integrated into the product lifecycle.

What brands are leading the way in this space?

In general, advanced industries such as Semi-conductor, Aerospace and Automotive, tend to be more technically mature and are hence setting the pace for the rest of manufacturing.

The application of data in the Healthcare and Security segment is also rapidly being evolved into high value solutions for General Manufacturing (Continuous and Discrete)..

I like how established technology players like Microsoft, Google, Amazon are taking a more dedicated role in Manufacturing Data Infrastructure enablement. I also like how they are almost competing toe to toe to address known manufacturing problems via specific apps and solutions within their IoT stack.

If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?

I am quite open, in general, to most collaboration opportunities – podcasts, webinars, speaking opportunities, etc. The problem is almost always not having the time to do it all, so I have to be brutal in my prioritization.

What are your passions outside of work?

In the pandemic period, I have gotten a deeper appreciation of the sanctity of my home and how valuable the time spent with loved ones is.

Believe it or not, I am now a fan of woodworking. In my daily life and work, I obviously leverage the latest in technology to achieve my goals. Woodworking and building solutions with your hands (and tools of course) enables another side of my creativity. It also provides a skillset that allows you to repurpose or even recycle material that would otherwise be discarded or wasted.

What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?


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