Community Spotlight

SMDH Community Spotlight - Interview with Mike Wright

In the next in our series of spotlight interviews, our Community Lead, Paul McMillan, caught up with SMDH community member Mike Wright, Co-Founder & CEO at Output Industries Limited.

Output Industries’ platforms connect existing manufacturing assets to the cloud - creating an accurate and real-time overview of asset performance. Pre-built visualisations and workflows empower teams to reduce production loss, increase throughput, and easily manage incidents on any device.

To learn more, watch our recent Community event with Output Industries, which focussed on the benefits of implementing their Busroot solution, an affordable real-time production monitoring platform into the company’s manufacturing process.

Hey Mike - great to speak to you! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Before founding with my co-founder Thomas Baker, I previously worked for several global digital agencies in London, leading cross-functional teams to deliver large digital transformation programmes. I'm driven by a simple ethos that excellent ideas are nothing without exceptional execution.

It's from this cross-sector and industry experience that output industries began. Our vision is simple: Democratise Manufacturing Performance. 

My role is to ensure that we constantly deliver our promise to customers and stay true to our vision. We work closely with our partners and network to ensure the product we are developing is fit for the market and meets the demands faced by manufacturers not just today but in the future. As a young startup with a nimble team, we often wear many hats, which is a challenging but always rewarding part of being a business founder.

Over the last 2-3 years, I've worked in various manufacturing facilities, from a global tyre manufacturer in Chennai, India, to a UK-based knitwear manufacturer. Whatever the manufacturing process, I'm always excited to see how things are made and learn from the makers.

You'll find me on a surfboard or a road bike outside the office. Being based in Cornwall certainly has its benefits!

What do you think the biggest challenges facing SME manufacturers are right now?

The UK manufacturing industry is currently grappling with various challenges that have been widely discussed in the press. These include Brexit, supply chain disruption, skills shortages, environmental regulations, industry 4.0, global competition, cyber security, and energy costs. 

However, just being aware of these issues is not enough. Our experience and interactions with customers have shown that the biggest challenge faced by UK manufacturing SMEs is there is a wealth of information out there, but it’s cutting through the theoretical to practical solutions that can return value quickly.

What do you think the industry needs to do to address those challenges?

The technology market has much to offer in this regard, but it needs to focus on educating manufacturers about these solutions before trying to sell them. By working together, we can better understand these challenges and create opportunities to address them.

The most recent announcement on the £4.5bn in government funding to support the sector seems to be a step in the right direction.

What does 'community' mean to you? And what is the role of 'community' in the manufacturing sector?

Building and managing a community in the right way can be a powerful force. SMDH seems to have done just that. For me, the most significant aspect of this community is the opportunity to learn from one another and have a safe space to discuss challenges and potential solutions, regardless of the manufacturing sector we belong to.

The primary goal of fostering this community is to provide the necessary resources and people to help advance the adoption of technology in manufacturing.

What motivated you to join The Smart Manufacturing Community? 

As someone who has worked in the advertising and marketing industry, I appreciate the importance of building a solid community that shares a common vision. I firmly believe in fostering an environment that benefits everyone rather than just a privileged few with connections. Transparency and honesty are at the core of our values, and we strive to share our insights and discoveries with the community to enable us all to flourish.

Do you have any resources that you'd recommend to the community?

James Clear's Atomic Habits is a must-read, offering practical insights for impactful changes. The accompanying newsletter is excellent.

How can you help others in the community? 

Our product is not the only value we offer to the community. We also gain valuable insights and ideas from other manufacturing SMEs that can be shared to inspire others to embrace digital transformation. We communicate with many SMEs each week through our existing customers and outreach activities, and we have noticed that they all share the same goal but face different challenges. In the upcoming months, we plan to create bite-sized content to share our learnings and ideas to inspire others to embark on their digital transformation journeys.

And how can others help you?

Our goal is to create the best possible product. We welcome all feedback and ideas to improve manufacturing challenges. Technology should increase productivity, not hinder it..


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