Why the future of work is digital with Murali Mandi

On this episode of Forging Connections, Madison Lampert talks with Murali Mandi, Chief Operating Officer at Honeywell Connected Plant, about the future of work and digital transformation. Listen now to learn about how and why the future of work is digital.

Episode Transcript

Intro (00:01):

Welcome to Forging Connections, a podcast from Honeywell about the convergence of IT and operational technology for industrial companies. We'll talk about the future of productivity, sustainability, safety, and cybersecurity. Let's get connected.

Madison Lampert (00:17):

Hi everybody. I'm here today with Murali Mandi, the vice president and general manager of Honeywell Connected Industrial. Hi there.

Murali Mandi (00:25):

Hello, Madison. How are you doing?

Madison Lampert (00:26):

Hi. I'm doing well. How are you? Thanks for being with us today. I'm excited to have you and talk about workforce challenges and thinking about future of work, which I think we've all been talking about for, for a while now and love to get your perspective from the industrial standpoint on the future of industrials. Um, and before we get started, I'd love to just hear a little bit about you and share some of your background before we talk about sort of how things have changed, um, sort of perspective on human capital, but love to hear a little bit about you first; tell our audience.

Murali Mandi (00:56):

Great. So, so again, you know, I'm the vice president general manager for the, uh, industrial's, uh, software business. Um, I've been Honeywell now for 30 years and in the industrial's business, we are responsible for process asset and people optimization as well as the productivity improvement, uh, for our customers. And I'm really nice to be talking about the worker performance in, uh, today's, uh, today's call.

Madison Lampert (01:28):

Great. And while 30 years is a record for Honeywell, I feel good for you. <laugh>

Murali Mandi (01:33):


Madison Lampert (01:34):

<laugh>. So tell me a little bit about how things have changed over the past 10 years. And I think focusing a little bit more on the past two years with respect to workforce challenges in, in your world.

Murali Mandi (01:44):

Yeah. So first of all, well, first challenges, uh, remain as a top priority for, you know, most of our key executives in our industries, uh, especially the events, um, of the last few years. Um, you know, COVID and more how further strengthen the need for, you know, better enabling our people for the future of, uh, industrial work. Uh, there are possibly three areas that I can think of. Um, first is clearly the aging workforce, uh, and that's a challenge, um, for our industries and the industry really needs to rethink how they make our, um, their work safer and more productive moving forward. The second area is clearly about increased number of people just leaving the industry. You know, they have, um, different interests, they have found different interests and likely they want to continue with retirement or do something completely different, which had by the way, not happened pre-COVID.


And the third one is, um, new young workforce who is joining the industry and their interests are absolutely different resources with, uh, digital like style, if you will. And of course, it's our responsibility to make sure that they are also more competent and skilled as we move forward. Um, clearly our customers see this as the need of the future, and they're looking for new ways to enable their people to do the future of, uh, industrial work. And this is actually creating further interest in terms of, uh, connected worker, the main topic of our today's business for today's call.

Madison Lampert (03:47):

Can you tell us just a little bit about what you mean by connected worker?

Murali Mandi (03:52):

Uh, a worker who has got the, the tools, um, and, uh, and associated software to make sure that he or she can be more productive and create a much more safer and productive environment.

Madison Lampert (04:12):

So I think that lends well to the idea of human capital and how Honeywell sees the future of work with respect to human capital. Can you speak a little bit about that?

Murali Mandi (04:20):

Uh, absolutely. So when, when we clearly realize the importance of the people, and of course the future work, um, we see that industrial work will be increasingly digital. Um, and it's really important for us to shape the future, uh, with the right digital capabilities. Uh, again, this is a, you know, newer terminology for lot of the, uh, aged or aged workforce, if you will. But at the same time, the younger population, I­ — is absolutely aligned to new ways of doing things, using the digital capabilities if you will. Uh, as an industry, we clearly see the next frontier of digital transformation to be part of what is called as intelligent autonomous operations. Um, intelligent autonomous operations basically mean that we are able to do more with less. We're able to do more during more remote work. And we are able to do things, uh, with, um, less tools, less people, and more productive and safer operations. Uh, this does not necessarily mean replacing people, but reshaping the role of the industrial worker through the digital technologies. Um, I expect that industrial work will be low or zero harm with the best competency and productivity for the people moving forward.

Madison Lampert (06:04):

Interesting. And, uh, I mean, Honeywell connected in it in its own, right, is, is doing exactly that it's creating those solutions to help solve these trends and, and change the way industrial operations work. So what are some of those solutions that can, that help that human capital sort of meet its, uh, capabilities and, and goals?

Murali Mandi (06:25):

Absolutely. So, um, you know, you talked about Honeywell enterprise, you know, we provide industrial enterprise grade software to our customers, whether they are in buildings, whether they are in process industries, whether they are in, you know, life sciences or whether they are in aerospace. So of course, you know, we are focusing our solutions in probably three key areas. First is clearly around managing the workforce competency itself. Um, Honeywell Forge workforce competency, enables our organizations, ramp up their processes, and achieve the competencies faster than traditional methods. Clearly, you know, they support the design and validation of processes with, for example, digital twins, which earlier was just the operator training simulators. Now taking it to the next level. Uh, the associated other area is reducing the knowledge cap of the field staff with immersing field training simulators, which absolutely boosts their confidence. And the last one is achieving the enterprise-wide training and certification, not really dependent on silo operations across plants, across units, but really taking you to the enterprise level.


Eventually, our goal is to reduce the incidences of the bad incidents significantly. And of course ensure that the overall value provided in terms of, uh, whether it is the, uh, efficiency during startup, or it could be the downtime is significantly used. The second area is about improving the worker productivity itself. Again, significant number of, uh, tools such as inspection lamps, um, which is a clear area of our connected industrials, uh, space significantly helps the customer improve the worker productivity. And the third area is safety, right? Safety is the most important aspect for our industries. Um, everyone needs safety training, but now we have got better, faster ways to manage the training to ensure that the right type of people are, um, able to, um, get the right operational procedures so that they can work their, um, they perform their work in a much better way and in a much efficient way.

Madison Lampert (09:22):

And, you know, it's, it's interesting these, I think, um, digital twins, all of these things sort of major buzzwords, and, but these are things we're really doing. Um, what's sort of the most exciting one of these tools or solutions that we, that we have or in the pipeline or something you're focused on that that you're excited about?

Murali Mandi (09:39):

Well, actually working on, um, multiple tools in this particular space, um, again, um, digital twin is not a new world, uh, in the industry. You know, some of you may have heard of process digital twin asset, digital twin, um, you know, you know, they have our people digital twin, right. Variety of different terminologies that are used. But I think what is important for us is we are clearly coming from postal and domain based solutions to this industry. And that is probably one of the reasons why we have been number one in the industry and whatever solutions that we provide are likely, um, going to ensure that the, uh, clients will have a much safer, reliable and productive operations.

Madison Lampert (10:34):

And I think the idea of, you know, disrupting your operation is, is scary for many. Um, so how do companies build on digital solutions and actually realistically implement this without disrupting operations?

Murali Mandi (10:47):

Um, yeah. You know, that is always a process, right? In terms of how you, how you finally get there. Uh, as, as you can imagine, you know, is not, not bad, probably it is, it is the way we should be working towards difficult areas, as well as solving the difficult problems. We're also seeing that some of the companies who are better prepared for the disrupt technologies have come out, uh, in front of the situations. So what should they be doing? You know, first they should be assessing the skills in the organization and, and make sure that developing the plans to build the competency. The second area they should be working on is to build the right competency, first assess then of course build the right competency using the right training methods. And as you mentioned, those training methods can be operator training simulators. It can be, you know, the digital twins that I talked about and some of the latest technology that we are seeing the market, which is really the immersive field simulators.


Uh, the third one is, you know, once, once you know, what competence is to build and what tools are available, make sure that, you know, you are enabling the productivity by enabling the workers to apply their competency, to meet these real-time business needs. And finally important part will be to ensure that you're monitoring the performance. You know, it's important to train your operators. It's important to enable them with the right tools, but end of the day, you have to be able to monitor the performance, uh, using the same tools as you move forward and course correct on the training and development plans as you move forward. The great news is majority of the software, the industrial software that we provide allows you to do all the four things that I just talked about.

Madison Lampert (12:46):

So this is setting things up for, you know, the connected worker and its purest definition. And I think you've, you've covered this sort of throughout our discussion, but what are the, the biggest pieces of this, that, and benefits that make a connected worker and what can companies expect out of that?

Murali Mandi (13:03):

Well, you know, in any industry, um, probably there are a few key areas which are, which are very important from, uh, connected worker perspective. Uh, I would say more efficient and collaborative operations is becoming super important now and connected workers work more efficiently and collaboratively. Um, you know, leading to the systems may they can, of course do more with less. The second area I can think of is the mission, critical information, availability and availability of the information on demand. Um, the, the current younger generation is used to getting to the data quickly and our tools will help them get there faster. Uh, it also means that using a variety of tools that you have, you are connecting to the central knowledge basis and the most experienced remote SME’s or subject matter expert-experts relatively quickly. The, the third one is again, making decisions on the fly or what I call as ad hoc decisions, because problems are not going to come to you, um, with advanced notice.


So to be able to get to the right information literally quickly is, is very important and connected technologies really make sure workers have all the information they need and know where exactly it is located and how to get there faster. The fourth one could be the, um, real-time communication again, you know, getting there faster is very important, informing your supervisor or multiple levels up or down faster is very important within the given time period. And the last and the most important one is making workers safer in their plant operations, getting there without making any mistakes, ensuring that the technologies that are connected, helping them, uh, identify the unsafe conditions and be able to operate the plant in the most safest manner in the most productive manner. So these are probably the five areas that I can think of, which are the key benefits out of the connected worker.

Madison Lampert (15:49):

Yeah. I think that the safety and compliance is, is such a focus area. I think that's what sort of stands out to me as it's not even a question as a, um, a benefit. So that's great to hear. Is there anything else for what you're working on and what's ahead, uh, that you are, you're looking forward to, or that you feel like, you know, customers are super focused on that, that you're trying to pivot to?

Murali Mandi (16:09):

Sure. You know, one area that, that we are working on would be how to ensure that worker performance improvement is standardized across different verticals, which means whether it is the industrial vertical buildings, vertical aerospace, vertical life sciences, vertical, and so on so forth. We have seen earlier that every different type of vertical, um, having focusing on this particular space, but now from Honeywell's perspective, we are trying to standardize this across variety of working verticals across variety of SBG’s who make this as the, uh, most important worker performance impactful solution, if you will, in time to time.

Madison Lampert (17:05):

So this isn't just an offering in oil and gas and chemicals, it really can sort of be an offering for, for any, any industry?

Murali Mandi (17:13):

Absolutely. And we want to make it as consistent and standardized as possible across verticals, across industries.

Madison Lampert (17:21):

Very interesting. Uh, well, thank you. I, uh, I think this, this is super helpful. Is there anything else, um, with respect to, to challenges or sort of what you're excited about in the future of work, uh, that you could tell our audience before we sign off today?

Murali Mandi (17:37):

No, I think I, I, I said a lot, uh, um, on this, as I said, um, you know, we have, um, connected is the important area for the Honeywell connected enterprise and we are extending that connected portfolio to workers, uh, to make it most important for our industry.

Madison Lampert (17:59):

Well, uh, thank you so much Murali again. Uh, this is Murali Mandi, the vice president and general manager of Honeywell connected industrial. Uh, thank you so much for joining us today.

Murali Mandi (18:08):

Thank you, Madison.

Madison Lampert (18:09):

Talk to you soon. Thanks everybody.

Outro (18:13):

This has been Forging Connections, a podcast from Honeywell. You can follow Honeywell Forge on LinkedIn and download new episodes from our website at honeywellforge.ai. Thanks for listening.