A Q&A with a new face in the clouds

Oct. 27, 2020
Google Cloud’s Suchitra Bose explores process vs. discrete manufacturing.

Google Cloud's Suchitra Bose

A few weeks back, Google Cloud announced new hires Suchitra Bose, as director of process manufacturing for the Americas. Since we’re always interested in new ideas and new faces in new roles, we posed a few questions to Suchitra to get her take on trends in the cloud-computing space. Take a look…

Smart Industry: How is process manufacturing maturing into digital transformation differently than the discrete side? What about different impact of / responses to COVID? 

Suchitra: Digital transformation is advancing in both process and discrete manufacturing—specifically around automation, edge computing, and sustainability. 

Discrete manufacturing tends to have a more complex supply chain, so the focus of new technologies is to improve the visibility and transparency of the supply chain and assets. 

In process manufacturing, COVID-19 has had a strong impact on demand and retail channels, as most of the essential items fall under process manufacturing. Think of a hand-sanitizer maker who must now navigate unprecedented demand and doesn’t have the capacity to adjust production, or a high-end cosmetic manufacturer who can’t push its products through traditional retail brick-and-mortar channels.

Overall, as a response to the pandemic, there’s been a focus on cost reduction through automation and predictability of outcomes by applying artificial intelligence (AI). Going one step further, quality control and defect detection, where visual AI/machine-learning applications can help detect product variations and reduce defects, have also gained significant traction.

Smart Industry: Part of your focus is "transformational deal support." What does that mean?

Suchitra: Google Cloud brings something special to the table with customers; it’s not your typical technology vendor. There’s a distinct culture of openness, collaboration and information exchanges. My goal is to be an AI-driven innovation partner, where I can really roll up my sleeves, connect with customers, and iterate on industry solutions that make cloud technology simple and accessible, and drive tangible results. 

Smart Industry: There another phrase in your bio that caught my eye…what does it mean to further industrialize AI?

Suchitra: Most manufacturing companies have started to explore the opportunities provided by AI in individual pilots. And, they’ve seen good business outcomes (such as increased uptime), from these pilots. However, these results are often achieved with significant efforts, involving highly specialized (and scarce) experts. As a result, scaling from these initial pilots tends to be slow, if not impossible. The focus needs to be on making manufacturing AI use cases as accessible, robust and easy-to-use as possible, so that the business outcomes can scale as well.

Smart Industry: What most excites you about digital transformation in the process industries in the coming months?

Suchitra: COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation for all industries, and process manufacturing is no exception. Process manufacturers can further embrace technology—such as cloud computing, data analytics, and AI—to drive efficiencies, reduce IT costs, support new remote and connected work environments, and create new revenue streams.

The silver lining in such a challenging time as right now is that process manufacturers can build further resiliency in their operations—and Google Cloud is committed to helping how we can. For example, IoT and sensors are everywhere in process manufacturing, providing critical data for control and feedback loop systems. But there’s potential to do even more. Imagine if you could seamlessly extract that data to the cloud and make it available to your organization…what use cases you could enable? There are opportunities for optimization using simulation software and for monetization, when combined with external industry data. We’re excited to help manufacturers break down their data silos and bridge the gap between OT and IT.