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How MxD is Using Supply Chain Issues to Predict Future Risks

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Organizations can use a unified system to fix and improve the supply chain to offset time and costs.

More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, and while organizations are working hard to resolve the supply chain problems impacting the United States and the rest of the world, global disruption persists and has impacted nearly every industry. Berardino Baratta, VP of projects and engineering at MxD, is dedicated to identifying how organizations can bolster supply chains to lessen the severity and duration of future shortages. He has created several supply chain projects that optimize secured data sharing and artificial intelligence (AI) to predict how supply chains can be affected by future situations.

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MxD, located in Chicago, has a cutting-edge innovation center with a 22,000 square foot factory floor for demonstrating and experimenting with digital manufacturing and cybersecurity.

Berardino is confirmed to participate in a keynote panel with three of his peers this week at IME West. He will break down how organizations can use a unified system to fix and improve the supply chain to offset time and costs. Along with improved infrastructure, he expects the economy to thrive under these new implementations, even in the face of something unprecedented like a pandemic.

IME West, which hosts MD&M WestWestPackATX WestD&M WestPlastec West, the Design. Engineer. Build. Conference, and the Cannabis Packaging Conference, slated to take place from April 12 to 14 at the Anaheim Convention Center, facilitates new product and technology discovery and advances the multi-billion-dollar manufacturing industry. Attendees can meet with peers and uncover the latest trends, technologies, and solutions under one roof while expanding their technical know-how through robust educational programming featuring dozens of expert-led panels.

With the event kicking off this week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Berardino; we discussed how organizations can move forward amid today’s supply chain challenges and how he envisions MxD staying ahead of the curb to handle any future disruptions of this magnitude.

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Adrienne Zepeda: Tell us a bit about yourself

Berardino Baratta: I am the vice president of projects and engineering for MxD. In this role, I work closely with MxD’s partners and internal teams to develop, test and commercialize advanced Industry 4.0 concepts and manufacturing technologies to increase innovation, capacity, and efficiency among U.S. manufacturers. In addition, I oversee MxD Cyber, which seeks to raise the cybersecurity profile of small and medium manufacturers to strengthen America’s supply chain and MxD Learn, which aims to develop the manufacturing workforce of the future through a series of new skilling, re-skilling, and up-skilling cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing curriculum programs.

I have over 25 years of diverse experience, including recent roles as senior director of technology strategy for MxD, CEO of Potentia Analytics – an AI healthcare startup – and general manager of Freescale Semiconductor’s multimedia applications division. Prior to these roles, I led the strategy, marketing, and business development team for Freescale’s wireless and mobile systems group. I began my career with Metrowerks Corporation, a leading provider of software development tools, where I led engineering through its growth from a startup to a public organization through acquisition by Motorola Corporation. I received my Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Honors) from McGill University.

Adrienne Zepeda: How can we create a more resilient supply chain?

Berardino Baratta: The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened the urgency and imperative for a secure, resilient, and robust supply chain. For MxD and our members, the COVID pandemic has only increased the sense of urgency around accelerating the use of these technologies so manufacturers can restart and thrive as the economy recovers. We know that expanding predictability into the manufacturing supply chain is more critical now than ever.

To date, MxD has funded 12 supply chain projects, including Supply Chain Risk Alert (SCRA) and Supply Chain Risk Alert 2 (SCRA2). MxD’s active supply chain projects focus on increased supply chain visibility, secure data sharing, and artificial intelligence to predict future supply chain risks.

SCRA developed a rapid analysis tool that provides policymakers and supply chain leaders an ability to efficiently assess a wide range of value chain designs for pandemic scenarios to optimize supply chain resiliency and agility during an emergency, so it is directly drawing from Industry 4.0 principles.

For SCRA2, MxD, along with industry partners, aims to develop a supply chain illumination and risk management middleware platform that provides policymakers and supply chain leaders the ability to understand who is in their supply chain and efficiently assess a wide range of potential and existing risks to their supply chain. The platform allows supply chain leaders to analyze the value chain designs of risk scenarios to optimize supply chain resiliency and agility during an emergency.

The tool developed through this project can modernize manufacturing for critical items such as medical device parts and help the Department of Defense and key manufacturing sectors map existing supply chains to identify vulnerabilities, foreign dependencies, and single-source suppliers. It also provides a pathway to identify alternate or indirect suppliers and model “what if” scenarios involving alternate supply chains to assess the benefit versus the risk of potential changes. This tool enables manufacturers to make data-informed decisions in times of crisis or urgency and minimize the impact on production capabilities.

DERISC, which stands for Digital Education, Resilience, and Innovation for Supply Chain, is another important initiative that aims to provide U.S. manufacturers with a unified and systematic approach to renewing and securing their supply chains by providing the tools, protocols, skills, and information they need to undertake a secure digital transformation.

DERISC brings three components (10K Manufacturers Awareness Campaign, MxD Cyber Marketplace, and MxD Learn Virtual Training Center) together in a comprehensive manner and lays out a clear path for how MxD, the national leader in digital manufacturing and cybersecurity for manufacturing, will leverage its assets to inform, empower and train U.S. manufacturers and their workforce to lead in the opportunities and challenges they face today and in the years to come.

DERISC establishes the foundation of a unique offering by empowering thousands of manufacturers to update and secure their supply chains.

Adrienne Zepeda: What can attendees look forward to learning during your upcoming keynote panel at IME West?

Berardino Baratta: Attendees can look forward to learning about the different ways we can approach fixing and improving the supply chain. We will be discussing how to approach global risk management and resiliency with a focus on governmental policies and the impact on internal finances and manufacturing quality control. The other keynote panelists and I will also address how data and the automation of technologies, predictive maintenance, robotics, and virtualization can provide solutions to small and medium manufacturers.

I will also touch on the nuances of reshoring and how it can benefit the supply chain. The COVID-19 pandemic amplified some problems that already existed. An increased interest in where our products come from indicates a greater awareness and appetite for reshoring manufacturing. Reshoring hinges on training and upskilling the workforce and coordinated investment and planning across the public and private sectors. We cannot sit here and watch foreign governments make considerable investments in their manufacturing sectors and expect to compete without the same magnitude of resources. The U.S. should also explore shortening the supply chain's length by conducting as much manufacturing as possible here.

The supply chain is too opaque; many manufacturers don’t know where all their outsourced parts are coming from nor where to turn if that supply is interrupted.

Adrienne Zepeda: What excites you about engaging with your community in person this week?

Berardino Baratta: I am excited to be in person with my peers and be a part of this esteemed panel. As we know, the pandemic has impacted not only the supply chain but also the ability to gather in-person to hold these types of events.

This panel and conference are terrific opportunities to be among peers and like-minded individuals working toward similar goals. It is a space to share and exchange ideas for the greater cause.

IME West keynote addresses are free to attend for all registered guests – secure a pass to the event here to tune into the Day 2 keynote panel titled “Can Manufacturers Rebuild the Broken Global Supply Chain?” Panelists include:

  • Conrad Leiva, Smart Manufacturing WG Chairman, MESA International, and the VP Ecosystem and Workforce Education, CESMII
  • Berardino Baratta, VP, Projects and Engineering, MxD
  • Kimberly Gibson, Ecosystem Director, America Makes
  • Jeff Brown, VP of Operations, Sonedo
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