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Interview with Rich Rogers

by | Aug 11, 2021 | Interviews,

Rich Rogers

Rich Rogers

CEO at Xemelgo

Key Topics:Industry 4.0, Smart Manufacturing, IoT, Leadership, Software Engineering, Cryptocurrencies
Location:United States

Rich Rogers is the Co-founder and CEO of Xemelgo, a Seattle-based Industry 4.0 software company. Prior to founding Xemelgo, Rich spent 12-years at Hitachi, most recently driving their Global Industrial IoT vision & strategy, and engaging with Fortune 500 companies on leading-edge solutions. Rich was recently named one of the “Top 40 IoT Leaders” by Accenture.

Rich 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?

My roots are in the Department of Defense. My first job as a software engineer was in the United States Marine Corps building communication and financial applications. I then spent time at Lockheed Martin building mission planning solutions for the US military. These early roles fuelled my passion for computer science, teamwork, leadership, and solving hard problems.

What sub-topics are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about applying technology to improve manufacturing operations. At Xemelgo we work side by side with factory floor workers every single day. Manufacturers have been largely ignored by the high-tech space for many years now. And, manufacturers have also price gouged by legacy vendors for ERP solutions. For instance, they will be charged upwards of $250K for a solution where they use a very small percentage of the features and functionality. Xemelgo aims to bring affordable modern mobile apps on to the factory floor that are powered by IoT and AI.

Who influences you within these topics?

We are inspired by many of the executive leaders at Amazon. Amazon started 25 years ago with a very simple website selling books. Amazon then proceeded to apply technology to every facet of retail operations – from the customer experience to fulfillment centers and all the way through to delivery. They have completely transformed the retail industry. We see manufacturing going through a similar transformation over the next 25 years, where technology will be applied to every facet of manufacturing operations.

What challenges are brands facing in this space?

There are two significant challenges that brands face in this space. First, there have been a lot of false starts in the industry 4.0 space. This is largely due to early entrants being primarily technology led. That is, startups have worked to take their many years of software experience and jam it into industrial settings without a true understanding of the domain. This resulted in platform led solutions that did not solve a real problem and required a tremendous amount of customization. Secondly, manufacturers are not super tech savvy. They do not have computer science degrees nor do they spend a lot of time in software. Many of the terms, such as AI, Digital Twin, IoT, etc can be foreign and intimidating to them.

What do you think the future holds in this space?

Where the first wave of Industry 4.0 solutions were bottom-up & platform led, the second wave is working to be top-down and solution led. The first wave spoke a lot about IoT and the need for an IoT strategy. The second wave is speaking to use cases, like tracking manufacturing operations from raw materials, to work in progress, to finished goods inventory, and ultimately to shipments. The conversation has pivoted from technology to solutions. The technology is finally beginning to become invisible. People don’t care about how their iPhone works or how their apps work. They care about the value that they provide.

What brands are leading the way in this space?

We like to think that Xemelgo is an emerging leader in this space. We recently received the Technology Advancement Award from the Pacific Northwest Aerospace community. This community is made-up of Boeing, Blue Origin, and their top supply chain partners. Other brands that we see in the space are Tulip Interfaces, Plataine, Parsable, Paperless Parts. We are rooting for all of the players in this emerging space.

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

We love to collaborate with manufacturers, partners, customers, industry enthusiasts, universities, etc. We are always happy to share our learnings & best practices. We are open to all forms of networking. People can feel free to reach out to us on LinkedIn, email, and other social networking channels.

What are your passions outside of work?

I am originally from the Boston area, but have been in Seattle for roughly 10 years now. We do a lot of hiking in the Pacific Northwest. And, my family has fallen in love with the Seahawks and the fanbase here. Beyond that I have invested a good amount of time researching Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies. I think that Industry 4.0 and Cryptocurrencies will have the biggest impact on society this century. And, I see them converging over the next 10 to 20 years. As manufacturing and supply chains become more automated we will literally see money flowing through the supply chain in real-time. We will move from NET60 or NET90 day terms to NET60 or NET90 second terms.

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

LinkedIn or email.

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