Microsoft ISV Series
Microsoft ISV Series
Conversations with Mr. Manish Arora, Founder of Maximl, about: Hybrid Work, Team Collaboration, ROI Optimisation, Maintenance Automation, Digital Transformation, Microsoft for Process Manufacturing and a variety of more hot topics.
Co-presented by: Value Prospect Consulting
Maximl offers the first full-stack collaboration platform for deskless workers in process industries.
How does Maximl enables employees in process industries to stay connected in a hybrid work model?
As many companies are now adopting the hybrid workplace model and the employees becoming isolated, employee connection is crucial in having an engaged workforce. While some may argue that employee connection is not a necessary part of today’s company, we still believe it is still an important element in maintaining the firm’s productivity and output. What benefit does the workers’ connectivity bring to a company and how does your product help to foster those relationships?
I think that's a very fair observation that you bring out on the hybrid model and remote workers, as well as the events of the last two years. To begin, I'll discuss how we, as individuals, view it. And second, what is Maximl doing to improve it for the individual deskless workers within manufacturing plants. I believe that it plays a critical role in both work-related and non-work-related outcomes. It is appropriate for individuals to feel connected, driven, and involved in their work. It encompasses all aspects of how you learn, execute, and feel linked to the progress of work on a regular basis for the majority of the individual. Now, when you look at manufacturing shop floors, the issue is quite different. When the pandemic struck, there was a severe lack of technological presence on the human side, on manufacturing shop floors, which prohibited organizations from adopting a hybrid manufacturing model. Therefore, if you recall the days of lockdowns and the whole acceleration of this hybrid model for a number of critical commodities and manufacturing plants, they had to operate with a great deal of caution for those workers, but they had to operate. Our diagnosis of this issue in the area, in which we work is that, there is a paucity of technology that enable people in the white-collar, tech world to interact elegantly using a variety of productivity tools. There is a scarcity of technologies capable of enabling them to do so. However, whether in a physical environment, an offline space, or an online space, participation is critical, and I believe that a lot of those issues will surface in the near future.
To learn more about how Maximl may help you prepare for the future, or to schedule a discovery call, click here.
How is Maximl enabling industries like Oil & Gas, Chemical, Metal & Mining, Power Generation and CPG to increase their ROI?
While deskless workers are increasing even across industries like Oil & Gas, Chemical, Metal & Mining, Power Generation and CPG which requires onsite work activities, how can these companies further increase safety and work quality as well as maximise their ROI by implementing Maximl?
I believe I would like to begin by examining ROI and where we stand today in terms of efficiency and safety. If you look at the clear thing in our industry, which is, again, large continuous production environments, some of the foundational industries of society, such as the ones I'm discussing today, An hour of downtime results in around $250,000 of production loss. Thus, it is a high-stakes environment from both a financial and a safety standpoint, like any minor non-compliance with how you conduct your operations, whether it is a fire hazard or anything else with significant human and financial consequences. Each year, refineries lose $47 billion ann in unplanned downtime. That is the magnitude of the issue in a single subsequent of the broader market. On average, Fortune 500 companies spend approximately 4% to 5% of their revenue on asset maintenance and future asset reliability. That is where the industry is today, and that is where the focus is shifting now. I believe we need to put that into context, the number of deskless workers is increasing. There is an increase in automation, which eliminates repetitive work. This could be physical or administrative in nature. Thus, this is something that is reducing and will continue to reduce the need for one category of deskless workers, which we refer to in the industry as skilled, semi-skilled workers. There is another type of deskless worker, which is a category that we address very specifically, and it is referred to as knowledge deskless workers. This group includes individuals who make operational decisions on the shop floor. Right. From the supervisor overseeing, say, a team of five or six people performing a single task on a heat exchanger inside a refinery. Thus, from that person to the individual who has spent 15-20 years inside a plant as a member of the operations team, maintenance team, or inspection team, these are the individuals whose work will be transformed in the future as new and new industry 4.0 innovations become available. Machines are becoming smarter, they will provide significantly more data, and there will be a great deal of intelligence about how a piece of equipment is performing. Additionally, its health. Right? That is something that is occurring right now; now coming to how Maximl is going to help in this context. For knowledge workers, where there are significant losses and companies are investing significant resources to contain those losses.
What we have is that when we look at this personas of knowledge-tested workers, we help them improve their performance at work by augmenting their capabilities. That accomplishes two goals. The first is that we create knowledge; knowledge exists in two forms today. The first category is large manuals. SOPs' is one type of which is similar to an encyclopedia in that it is not particularly instructive. And secondly, the majority of execution knowledge is tacit. What Maximl is doing is aggregating all of this onto a technology platform and making execution increasingly instructive in order to simplify the complexity of operations themselves. This results in a difference in execution between a technician with one year of experience and a technician with thirty years of experience. This is the one you breach by ensuring that you provide a system that guides the technician through each and every step. The second is that we provide them with a digital collaboration platform. To solve problems more quickly and to eliminate a large number of non-value-added activities that exist as a result of not utilizing technology to solve problems.
The third and most critical aspect is that we are the only company that can provide you with quantifiable data on how much the SOP appearance costs. so if you examine the work that occurs in the shop floor, you will notice that it is all about standardization. Companies want a high degree of repeatability and reproducibility across all outcomes. And it is this that we assist you in controlling through the provision of a connected environment. Right. This is not simply about a technician entering or declaring, "I did this, I did that." Additionally, we integrate with IoT sensors that provide real-time compliance data from the field. Right. It could be as straightforward as integrating with the temperature sensor and verifying that it is operating within the specified range. Thus, what Maximl is achieving is that it is systematically increasing the quality of work performed, the workforce's productivity, and the industry's safety standards by ensuring that standard work is delivered at scale. So, the problem is simple on a small scale, if I only have one piece of equipment to maintain, and this is a problem that can be easily resolved by bringing in the best technician and ensuring that they have a thorough understanding of the SOP and are extremely diligent. However, when thousands of pieces of equipment are involved, thousands of people are involved, the workforce is constantly changing, non-standard skill sets are involved, and so on, this is the Maximl address for large scale manufacturing.
To learn more about how Maximl can help you prepare for the future, or to schedule a discovery call, click here.
How is Maximl automating maintenance functions across process industries?
Your product also offers maintenance functions which is clearly an important factor for the mining, chemical and CPG industries, as a large part of their functions are automated. Could you share how your product manages maintenance and the benefit it brings to the company as a whole?
Maintenance is a critical component of what we deliver to the industries for which we work, and maximizing the efficiency of planned maintenance, as well as preventive maintenance, it is the primary outcome that we can achieve. When it comes to automation, I believe there is a significant amount to the desk-bound persona. For instance, entire maintenance scheduling and planning occur in the ERP. There is something called a plant maintenance module, which automates the process of maintaining the asset's history and all the tasks performed on it. so, as soon as the part of the value chain that we pay close attention to in a significant way. This is the time period between when a maintenance work order is issued from the ERP and when the work is completed, and when the work order is closed in the ERP during those 12 hours or eight-hour shifts. Right. There is a world of things that occur between those two points, and that is what we are attempting to optimize, as we believe there is a significant underutilisation of technology and that it has been playing out as a zero to one game. Right. In between 50% and 60% of our customers. It is the unorganized portion of the value chain that we organized on a single integrated environment, rather than simply replacing another connected worker platform or point solution, as is the case with digital nature. That is a single. How do we do that? If we return to the value chain of work execution, the starting point is a SOP.
Now, these SOPs are constructed as lengthy paper-based documents, 20 to 50 pages in length, that were expected to be memorized and passed through training programs. The first gap is that there is a dearth of data on learning outcomes. Right. You have no way of knowing who your best employees. you visit any large plant in the country today, such as a large steel plant, where at least 2000 employees will enter that Organisation each day. Right. Who is your best performer and who, for example, requires a type of training that is not objectively available? That is the first section that we standardize by building work instructions from SOPs, moving from the encyclopaedia model or, shall we say, moving from the age-old navigation model, read and study a map, consult a few people and eventually arrive to Google Maps-like interface. Right. Which instructs you at each point to do this or that.
If this is the issue you anticipate, this is a possible solution based on how we handled the previous one. Thus, the first part is to introduce work instructions that will assist people in completing their tasks in a less people-dependent manner. The second reason is that we enable a consumer-like experience that enables you to resolve technical issues more quickly. If you look at the majority of the customers with whom we work, you'll notice that many of them make extensive use of tools like WhatsApp, which demonstrates the limitations of current technology.
There is a general need for people to collaborate, communicate more quickly, and get things done more quickly, but there is an absence of an integrated tool within their workspace. there's a lot of vertical innovation that is happening there which Maximl is plugging into AR/VR and collaborate and solve problems in a more immersive experience.
That concludes the second part of our discussion of what we accomplished through superior collaboration and problem-solving speed. And the third thing, as I mentioned previously, is real-time compliance. We have modelled these aspects of our work instructions as control points. Right. Control points are nothing more than the points to which you are required to adhere. Assume the equipment is required to be at a specific temperature before it can be opened. These are the variables that we can control on a machine level, a PLC level, a process level, and also on a human level. Thus, the platform's ability to deliver real-time compliance. Once all of this is completed, a massive amount of data is generated that was never digitalized and was never available for any, say, data-driven continuous improvement initiative. Right. Whether it is your six Sigma,Lean, TQM, or TPM, all of these require data that is extremely difficult to process because it is stored on paper or in forms that cannot be quickly consumed and analyzed. As a result, they rely heavily on available machine data. However, over time, this invaluable information becomes digitalized and institutionalized, allowing you to advance to the next frontier of continuous improvement, which is a real-time understanding of gaps and, ultimately, the ability to address them. Right. Thus, why is my factory number one performing better than factory number two at certain tasks, such as heat exchanger or vessel maintenance? Right. And how am I to replicate those practices here, is something you can accomplish with technology. That is the first outcome of this process of continuous improvement.
The second part is that once you encounter a problem with deviations, you can conduct a cause0effect analysis, whether the cause is human or process-related. Right. Who is the precise individual who requires which type of training? If there is a troubleshooting job tomorrow, there has been a breakdown. Right. Who is the most likely candidate to solve it? These are the areas in which we can improve data-driven decision-making. Therefore, that is the holy grail of continuous improvement, or as I would put it, that is the holy grail of continuous improvement and the next frontier for it. Right. That you use data to gain real-time insights and improve your shop floor. That is what we do for maintenance, and a significant portion of our role is the un-digitalized component and enriching the already-presented and mature ERP APM ecosystem, among others.
To learn more about how Maximl can help you prepare for the future, or to schedule a discovery call, click here.
How is Maximl helping organisations like Indian Oil, NRL, and Reliance Industries to achieve unified collaboration across processes?
While there are many other collaboration platforms, industry leaders such as Indian Oil, NRL and Reliance Industries Ltd, specially choose your products. What makes your product so powerful compared to the other firm’s products that make those industry leaders choose Maximl and relies so heavily on your product and services?
This, I believe, must be viewed in the context of our own journey. Right. I believe that when we began solving these types of problems, the only reason why large Fortune 500 companies look to a young company or a start-up to solve mission-critical and asset integrity-critical processes such as what we do is that there are very few people solving these types of problems. A significant portion of digitalization occurred for the desk-bound ecosystem, not for work execution. The majority of the large legacy technology players are addressing this, particularly in the process-based space. Right. Oil and Gas Steel Chemicals, which is where we began our journey, identified two The primary reason that current solutions on the market are unable to address this first is that How can you effectively incorporate the localized context of a single shop floor into a standard process? There are numerous workflow engines and numerous standard solutions. How you can tailor it to a specific site, shop floor, or use case is critical. Additionally, the capabilities of the individual attempting to configure or accomplish that task should be considered. While developing the solution was one aspect that resulted in the type of no-code platform that we developed for this purpose, Right. That was the first section; the second section is devoted entirely to adoption. Many of the technology solutions for the space that we built have historically been top-down solutions sold to the CXO boardroom by an impressive salesman. After that, there is a six-month implementation period. And when the rubber meets the road, I'm not interested in using it.
My life was better off without it. And, of course, these are intelligent individuals and they find way to do things that are productive. Unless you consider the final user's desire for instant gratification, this will not work. That, I believe, is the second part that we examined; the primary reason for this was that the seeds were already displayed in the B2C space, because these are the same people who are now adopting all of the business-to-consumer apps that have been integrated into their smartphones. Thus, change is already occurring, and they desire to utilize an increasing amount of superior work experience throughout the spectrum. Thus, that was a clear focus from the start, and it continues to be at the forefront of our product engineering efforts, not just through, I would say, user experience in terms of how it feels to be, but also through actual time savings for them on a daily basis. Right. How to eliminate non-values is an integral part of the fundamental solution architecture. Thus, those are the two reasons. I believe that the reason we were able to deploy it enterprise-wide with some of the largest players, particularly within the organization, is due to the adoption that occurs when the product is used. Thus, I believe those are the two reasons we believed this would work, and we will continue to rely on them as we proceed.
To learn more about how Maximl can help you prepare for the future, or to schedule a discovery call, click here.
What is Digital Transformation and how is Maximl helping organisations to be Future Ready?
Today, with the push of the pandemic, more companies are adopting digital transformation in their workplaces, however, a majority of them fail to generate value from their digital transformation. First, could you kindly explain what digital transformation means from a tech perspective, and how Maximl enables organisations for achieving an effective digitalised ecosystem?
To begin, let us consider the term "transformation." Right. This indicates that something has changed. And, as we all know, change is difficult and slow. And, more specifically, when we're talking about large organizations and large manufacturing setups, this is bound to happen. The reasons for whenever, let us say, a charter for a digital transformation project exists even before we begin. My previous organization's role was to ensure the success of digital transformation initiatives. Right. And what we've seen is that, on paper, there are a lot of positive outcomes that will result from digital transformation, simply because it makes sense. Right. Every sector of the economy is supposed to increase its productivity, and technology is the means to accomplish this. At scale, it's a no-brainer that digital transformation will add value. The question now is what is the ROI and how quickly can it be generated? That, I believe, is where a good deal of these things come into play. And some of these things are due to both technological and human factors. Right. Technology, on the other hand, demonstrates how agile it is to truly model the work that occurs today. Those are the types of reasons. How quickly can you implement it? How quickly can you configure and prepare it for a specific customer? And the second component is the rate of adoption. Right? We believe that is the case because we have examined the ecosystem of B2B enterprise software, as well as the B2C system, and noticed that products, any sort of technology, are becoming increasingly product-driven rather than sales-driven, which means that I want to demonstrate the value of my product rather than make a promise of a ROI. Rather than making a promise of a ROI, I want you to experience the outcomes of a digital transformation through my product. Rather than, say, having an Excel sheet that details what will be, this is the direction.
That is the correct course of action. Additionally, we consider. That is the philosophy we have adopted in terms of determining the quickest way to implement, the quickest way for our solution to be adopted, and the quickest way for our customers to see the need while maintaining some KPIs. Right. That is critical to them. And frequently, that is the biggest issue: buy-in is not generated because the promise of ROI is so far in the future that there is a lot of debate about what the point of this is: the effort required to achieve this change management-worthy outcome. And I believe that the vicious cycle is that a large portion of the bulk of digital transformation occurs in this manner.
Thus, the cycle must be broken. Right. Because it is fundamental to human nature to seek immediate gratification. And then, I believe, on a team level within the organization, that lays out precisely what our goal is if, for example, there are lagging parameters on which you can truly extract ROI. Are there any proxy leading parameters that you can develop that will convince the entire organization, or at least the top to bottom, and will cause the needle to move? Additionally, seeing that there are outcomes on the horizon is significant; it's similar to a lot of research in that once you start seeing those options, it shifts our team's perspective. That is why, as I believe we have already discussed, adoption simply lowers the energy barrier for people to get on board. However, the third and most difficult part is demonstrating ROI quickly, even if it is not the full ROI that accrues over time and compounds with continuous improvement initiatives. However, if you begin to see some of these things kick immediately, there is a very high barrier. That, I believe, is where the future lies, not just for us, but for anyone who builds for businesses. Right. How do you ensure that your return on investment is quickly quantified and appreciated by your customers? That is the objective.
How is Maximl enabling companies to get 50% faster training rate & 30% reduction in on-field issues?
Usually, it's observed that many software fail to provide quick ROI to their users, especially during the initial adoption phase, what is it that makes Maximl so unique that its customers usually achieves ROI as high as 50% faster training rate for new operators and a 30% reduction in on-field issues, within the deployment phase itself?
I believe I have addressed several of these points. The reason for achieving this rapid ROI is first and foremost a function of how quickly you can implement a system that is relevant and beneficial to the final end-user. Right. If you examine the typical cycles, you will notice that there is a six-month engagement. If you want to solve any problem in the Fortune 500, a six-month cycle is required. Right? Assume you need to boost reliability. Historically, they have provided consulting services. Numerous large enterprise solutions also require this six-month implementation period. What I believe is required for people to see is how we can implement it more quickly so that people can first get their hands on it.
That is the first part, which is accomplished through extensive templatization of the processes we wish to understand. Thus, we do not accompany our customers today and conduct extensive business consulting on their processes. It continues for months. It's a very quick way to align them, to transition from an encyclopedia style standard operating procedure to a work instruction paradigm. And once that is resolved, within a few weeks, the production or authoring of new world instructions occurred at a breakneck pace, utilising the newborn capabilities that are available, which we have built for the business user. Thus, a maintenance manager on the shop floor can quickly customize that work instruction template for their job execution. Right. It's similar to using a template I create, such as Wix, and creating a website for your own small business or something similar. Thus, that is the paradigm that exists, which also provides you with. Thus, the very first section gives them the impression that we played a role in this. This is a system that has been built around the processes that we perform on a daily basis, rather than being a standardized system, which is critical. The second section, I believe, is a return to the same point.
The appropriate consumer-like experience should make you feel as though you want to use it, and it should not feel as though it is a hassle for me to simply open the solution and workaround. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, how are you able to demonstrate progress toward those KPIs? Right. Even if it means that we have a proxy for the important lagging parameters. However, if you can demonstrate that things like response times to, say, operational issues are improving and the amount of time required to conduct routine checks on regular inspections, such as during a daily inspection round, we will begin to see those things. That work is accomplishing this with a significantly higher level of productivity. And the proof of compliance is right there in the form of hard evidence. Thus, these are things that were not present previously for all of the businesses that we generate. That is, in essence, how we believe that increased adoption and improved outcomes can be achieved. Right. To begin, implement more quickly. To accomplish this, a variety of tasks must be completed in a timely and orderly manner. As an example, suppose You create an order one task and then replicate them by creating a large number of templates. That is first, then how quickly can I localize that template for my frontline worker so that they feel ownership of the final solution and that they enjoy using the product while removing non-value-added tasks from their personal work. As a result, they receive satisfaction from using their product on a daily basis. You should have a very clear understanding of what you should expect to see in two, three, and six weeks. It cannot be the case that you will see these results after twelve months. If that occurs, it becomes extremely difficult for a senior leader or a digital transformation team to convince the business user that this is necessary. Therefore, you must begin gaining an understanding of what to expect within a few weeks of receiving this solution. Thus, I believe that those are the critical Lego pieces upon which you can construct an approach to achieving faster implementation cycles.
How does Maximl leverage Microsoft, for helping process manufacturing companies?
Microsoft for Process Manufacturing
As an enterprise SaaS company, how does Maximl leverage Microsoft, for helping process manufacturing companies?
Microsoft is one of the most popular platforms available. I believe that in the last two or three years, the rate of Azure adoption across the Fortune 500 has increased to include manufacturing. Maximl is extremely passionate about solving this problem correctly and bringing the mission of democratising technology to the forefront. I believe solely from that vantage point. Right. There are two components that a SaaS company would require: access to these customers and minimising the friction associated with your product being in the hands of frontline workers.
That is one area in which Microsoft, of course, is one of the largest platforms available. I believe that in the last two to three years, the rate at which Azure adoption has increased across the Fortune 500, which now includes manufacturing as part of the Office 365 suite, and the rest of the Spreadsheets, PowerPoint, Additionally, teams have taken off in a big, big way. Right. We've witnessed that change unfold directly in front of us over the last couple of years. Thus, one point is made regarding the access that the platform provides from a technological standpoint. As a result of considering integration, we are very close to launching an app on the team's platform that solves the delivery problem in a very elegant manner. Each of the knowledge workers we are discussing. Right. As an example, consider today. Any major chemical or metals company uses Office 365. They can access their maintenance processes, workflows, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) through the team's interface. They can learn and engage with their processes, as well as be onboarded. Right. Thus, I believe that in order to empower frontline workers, we want to provide them with tools that they will actually use during their ten-hour shift.
And I believe that has already occurred. As a result, I believe we can add significant value on a strategic level as well. As a partner, we see a lot of push because Microsoft has thought very clearly about the manufacturing sector and its needs. Right. Thus, Microsoft has a manufacturing cloud, a cloud for manufacturing organisations that has been driven and discusses a variety of different verticals. And we make a significant contribution to workforce transformation in terms of frontline worker empowerment while performing their jobs, as well as how they will learn and manage the knowledge generated on the shop floor and that flows in from various different knowledge consultants and so on. Right. Thus, that is a component that Maximl already solves in a significant way. And I believe we can contribute significantly to the initiatives currently underway. The second part is how do we connect all of these systems and get the right data and knowledge to the right person at the right time while they're executing being that integrated and connected player alongside the Microsoft cloud because all of the suite of manufacturing solutions are going to migrate to the cloud over time. Thus, I believe that is the appropriate medium for you to be present. Thus, those are the two major areas in which we believe we can leverage the capabilities and strengths that Microsoft, specifically in the manufacturing context, has already built and has made a very public and explicit commitment to do so. As a result, we're considering how to solve vertical problems on top of the things that Microsoft would do. Thus, there is an independent path of delivery and a distinct component of value creation. However, I believe there is an interaction effect with Microsoft's edge access and delivery mechanisms, which we will absolutely leverage.