92: The Acceleration of Smart Manufacturing Adoption with Plex CTO Jerry Foster

The future is digital, and the manufacturing industry is no exception. Jerry Foster, the CTO of Plex, is one of the select visionaries who jumped on the ‘digitization’ bandwagon quite early in the game. Plex is a company that paved the way for business enterprise software in the cloud through a smart manufacturing platform that connects people, systems, machines, and supply chains.

Jerry joins Manufacturing Happy Hour to share the company’s unconventional origin story and to break down some of the most interesting parts of their annual State of Smart Manufacturing report.

It’s an episode packed full of great insights as we dig into topics like the role of AI in manufacturing and tech paralysis. Tune in to hear more about implementing new technology, plus insights into the worlds of racquetball and Star Wars.


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3 Quick Things from this Episode

  1. The pandemic exposed problems in manufacturing that have been present for years, particularly around workforce and a need to digitize.
  2. The role of blockchain in the manufacturing industry is currently futuristic and squarely in the “hype” category…but that could change.
  3. One of the key takeaways from Plex’s State of Smart Manufacturing Report is that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) is now becoming a significant consumer concern. It’s possible to be both profitable and socially conscious.

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Tweetable Quotes

  • “Artificial intelligence or machine learning are the only ways to really tame the beast that is data management — it’s like getting 100,000 interns to analyze all that data almost for free.”
  • “In my opinion, it’s the cloud and the convergence of that data and computing capabilities that have brought AI to the forefront.”
  • “If you’ve got action-oriented people, no one’s thinking about implications, and with analysis-oriented, you’ll have great spreadsheets, but no results, so you need both.”

Please Scroll Down for Recommended Resources from this Episode

Do you want to connect with other leaders that are moving the needle in manufacturing everyday? Then make sure to join us in the Manufacturing Happy Hour Industry Community on LinkedIn.

A3 is the leading global automation trade association of the robotics, machine vision, motion control, and AI industries. Their events are some of the best places to get connected in the industry. Make sure to check out their marquee event Automate taking place in Detroit, MI June 6-9, 2022. Head to AutomateShow.com to register for free today.

Interested in generating leads through videos, podcasts, or other digital content? Then make sure to check out our 6 Strategies for Growing Your Manufacturing Business Using Social Media.

What We Discuss with Jerry

  • What is smart manufacturing?
  • How Jerry got his start in smart manufacturing
  • What it was like to spearhead the first business enterprise software in the cloud
  • Jerry breaks down the smart manufacturing growth trajectory
  • How to form a successful integrated team
  • Jerry discusses useful technologies that were once dismissed as “hype”
  • How the role of blockchain fits into manufacturing
  • How AI has evolved over the years
  • What proactive leaders look like
  • How to find a balance between profitability and sustainability
  • How playing racquetball has influenced Jerry’s career
  • Jerry’s advice to manufacturing leaders looking to leverage smart manufacturing

Recommended Resources

  • Plex Systems, a smart manufacturing platform that connects people, systems, machines, and supply chains.
  • Plex’s State of Smart Manufacturing Report, an annual report sharing insights from over 300 manufacturing leaders on the challenges facing their business and how they address them using technology.

Connect with Jerry

LinkedIn | Twitter