Okuma America had the honor of hosting a recent meeting of AMT’s Global Service Committee (GSC) during which the group renewed its commitment to serving as the voice of AMT members who work in a variety of customer service roles.
After calling the meeting to order, longtime Committee Chairman Greg Westrick (North America Service Manager, Mazak Corporation) made a motion to elect yours truly, Ira Busman (Vice President of Customer Service, Okuma America Corporation), as the new chair, and all present voted in favor. On behalf of AMT and the Global Service Committee, I would like to thank Greg for his many years of committee participation, leadership, and driving our initiatives forward.
I'm pleased to accept the role of chairman and will do my best to pick up where Greg left off, and to add value to this group and AMT member companies as a whole. I look forward to serving along with my Co-Chair Greg Jones, Vice President – Smartforce Development at AMT, and Catherine Ross, Director of Education – Smartforce Development at AMT. Our group, which is comprised of representatives from leading companies across the manufacturing industry, will continue to focus on a variety of areas related to the service side of the machine tool industry. Following are some of the key issues we’re currently examining.
Ira Busman, Vice President of Customer Service, Okuma America Corporation
SERVICE SUPPORT - WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY
Wearable technology continues to evolve, and the GSC is studying the practicality of smart devices that will enable real-time connectivity for our customers or service agents, to help them troubleshoot and perform guided service activities/preventive maintenance. IT security, bandwidth, connectivity, cost, and effectiveness are all areas on which the team is focused.
After AR-based service the next trend is believed to be IloT (Industrial Internet of Things) predictive/preventive maintenance. This involves remote monitoring that uses artificial intelligence to monitor activity and establish a baseline, then develops an algorithm to predict and troubleshoot issues. In other words: this gives us the ability to remotely monitor a machine tool and predict a crash (or other maintenance need), inform the customer in advance, and avoid productivity loss.
ENHANCING INDUSTRY SKILLS AND STANDARDS
Our workforce development collaboration with NIMS (National Institute for Metalworking Skills) continues, with emphasis on national, industry-recognized credentials for Machine Maintenance, Service, and Repair (MMSR) technicians. As a developer of industry skills standards, NIMS certifies individuals' skills against the standards, accredits training programs nationwide, and promotes innovative solutions (such as apprenticeship) to connect credentialed and work-ready individuals with employers. The new MMSR standards and credentials launch this month in advance of the new academic year and build on NIMS' Level I Industrial Technology Maintenance standards and credentials.
A group of apprentices get hands-on training at Okuma
SERVICE TECHNICIAN COMPENSATION SURVEY
The committee, along with AMT resources, is in the process of conducting a technician compensation survey. We hope to gain insights on current compensation scales, benefits, training, apprenticeship programs, and other pertinent data regarding the service workforce.
“HOME GROWING” TECHNICAL TALENT
Lastly, the group toured the Advanced Training Lab at Okuma’s Partners in THINC facility. The lab, along with the Principal Engineering team at Okuma, conducts high-level, advanced training for our service and application apprentices, field service staff, and our network of distribution professionals. Okuma continues investing in its future and believes "home growing" our technical talent has proven to be a successful strategy.
About Ira Busman Ira Busman is Vice President of Customer Service for Okuma America Corporation, a world-leading builder of CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machine tools, founded in 1898 in Nagoya, Japan. Okuma is the industry’s only single-source provider, with the CNC machine, drive, motors, encoders, and spindle all manufactured by Okuma. The company also designs its own CNC controls to integrate seamlessly with each machine tool’s functionality.