Group Chief Commercial Officer Jason Pritchard has been with Fitfactory for a little over 3 months, so we caught up with him to see how he’s settling in, the SCALE framework, and the company’s upcoming plans.
Pritchard explains how Fitfactory’s SCALE will help manufacturing companies bridge the gap between industry and technology.
What drew you to Fitfactory?
When I was asked to come and join Fitfactory, one of the main drivers for coming here was seeing the modular apps that were on offer. Having worked in the industry for eight years, I was quite excited when I saw them because I realised that they’re going to plug gaps for what’s currently on offer within the market for digital transformation.
So, if I think back to what was one of my main driving desires to come here, it was the fact that I know that the apps that we offer are really going to help the SME market.
How are you settling in at Fitfactory?
Since joining Fitfactory three months ago, it’s been a real whirlwind. Getting to know all of our colleagues across the four offices that we’ve got in the UK, and spending time getting to know old colleagues in India has also been fantastic. I’ve enjoyed spending time with our customers, both remotely and on-site, and getting their feedback and understanding how they’re finding the product.
It’s a real breath of fresh air to know that the products that we currently offer to our customers are being received by them so well. And then, we’re testing out the model that we’re bringing to the market for our apps with industry leaders and experts across the sectors and really understanding that what we are launching is right for the market.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Other than my nine-month-old getting up at half four in the morning?
I would say it’s just the internal drive that I have to make sure that digital transformation is accessible to all. Not just the OEMs who are driving IoT, 5G and digitalisation through the plants, but really trying to break it down for the SMEs who make up such a large part of the engineering and manufacturing network and sector. It’s really just making digital transformation understandable and accessible to those, that’s what really drives me.
Tell me more about Fitfactory’s SCALE model
When I first joined Fitfactory, we were going through and looking at what our offer to the market would be. Now, Fitfactory consists of multiple companies that have been trading a long time and who have now merged to bring their industry best practice knowledge together. What we noticed is we started to have a lot of modular systems but they were all
connected and one of the driving factors that was coming from Tom Dawes, our CEO, was really trying to help businesses go through that whole digital transformation journey, and really help them to scale their business.
So when we broke scale down, we broke that down into the sectors of what it would consist of and we started off with STREAMLINE. So the first step of your digital transformation journey is to streamline your businesses. Now, many of these are done through just standard ERP, MRP, MES systems so they already exist in the marketplace, there’s plenty of them.
Connect disparate systems
Now, what really separated us was the ability to then CONNECT to those systems through our modular apps, so these are
things like machine monitoring as well as calibration apps that allow you to calibrate your tools on the shop floor. And it allows you to analyse the information that’s coming through, their work, with your suppliers as well.
Analyse your business
So, after starting to connect the people, the plant, processes, and the products, you’ve got your streamline and connect, now you’re ready to ANALYSE your business. So that consists of taking all of these data silos that you have, that people talk about and you analyse them but you’re bringing them all together through one of our products which is called Insights.
This allows you to take all of that information, put it into some fantastic reports which you can build yourself – it’s so easy to build, really easy – and then what you do is, you can send them through to your suppliers and you can put on task management which will allow you to then take it to the next level. So if your report hits a certain trigger point, what happens with that report? Where does it go? who needs to action it?
Level-up customer service
So, we really felt that we were on some type of journey with that. Once you’ve done that what you want to do with your business and we were getting feedback, that businesses really want to start LEVELING UP. You can start sharing that information that they have on the shop floor (and through all the connected apps throughout the whole business) and allow them to level up with their suppliers. So that’s now starting to share that information, start pushing out their products there to other suppliers and other customers to share their capabilities.
And we do that through one of our products called Openbook. Openbook is a portal where customers can process orders, suppliers can see their orders, you can put your non-conformances in there, you can add your root cause analysis, and add your documentation and put something into dispute if you disagree with what your supplier or customer is telling you.
Extend your ecosystem
Once you have that, you’re ready to then extend. So you EXTEND your ecosystem, extend your network, and just extend your business. So, all of the information is visible and you can share that with cluster organisations. We’re doing that now with the ACCESS project, which is with the Northeast Automotive Alliance (NEAA), the West of England Aerospace Forum (WEAF), and Rail Forum Midlands, and we’re bringing those clusters together with meaningful information and allowing their members to talk to each other, collaborate cross-sector, extend their network and share their information and grow.
So that’s really what drives us and that’s what the SCALE model is about.
Tell us about your decision to open up an office in the North East.
The reason why we selected to open up an office within the northeast is not only my connections with being on the regional board for MakeUK – which helps with understanding what’s going on in the region – but also living there myself. I’m living locally and seeing what’s going on with the free port; it’s a huge boost to the economy and we have lots of inward investment coming from the government.
The northeast is an exciting area to be for engineering and manufacturing. And it’s traditionally a place obviously with the coal mines and the steelworks, and a real sort of the heart of industry for the UK. So it’s great to see that’s coming back again with all the investment that’s coming to the local area.
I really want to help the customers drive and grow through digital transformation. At the moment, we are finding within the northeast that there is a lack of understanding from some of our customers, or even industry experts actually. So for us to be able to sit in the middle here at Fitfactory, really helps us to bridge the gap between the technology companies and engineering and manufacturing, and feedback and breakdown what industry experts are saying OEMs are looking for. But also the other way around, we can tell them what the SMEs are actually capable of doing and where they are in their digital journey currently. So it’s a thriving area and we’re really excited to be here and can’t wait to see what the future holds
What’s your vision to achieve with Fitfactory?
Using our scale model, we want to roll that out globally, connecting the SMEs with the OEMs on a more collaborative platform. We want to allow them to use the digital information they receive to make informed real-time decisions that can impact and improve the supply chain of all industries for engineering.
Learn more about Fitfactory’s mission to bridge the gap between industry and technology by following our blog: http://eepurl.com/hjLNML