Article Updated in October 2020 Every industry is pressured to increase efficiency and cost savings, but manufacturing can actually accelerate innovation with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions. New opportunities are opening up that drive value by improving asset management and operational efficiencies. Internal discussions around key areas in manufacturing operations are popping up to figure out how to capitalize on the benefits that IIoT solutions can bring.
What’s important to consider is not that IoT solutions are innovative new technologies, but rather, that they enable companies to become smarter, more agile and adaptive. Today’s successful companies use disruptive innovation to transform their businesses, shape the future of their companies and gain a huge competitive advantage. Think of Uber, Apple or Tesla...
What Can IoT Solutions Do for Your Manufacturing Business?
The Internet of Things in the manufacturing industry is not only changing what product you create, but how you make them. Many plants are already using sensors in their manufacturing processes connected to the cloud. These are connected to other devices, processes and teams across the whole organization. This all creates value by providing data and insights like never before to make smart decisions based on a multitude of real facts.
However, IIoT isn’t mainstream yet. Many companies do not have a full understanding of how big an impact industrial IoT can have on their businesses, and even less of an understanding of how to get started. They are discouraged by underlying complexities and perceived costs associated in deploying IoT solutions and building business cases to support them.
This can be overcome by finding the right partner and trusted advisor with experience in your industry – one that will assess your needs and build a phased approach with you and your team.
A Phased Approach to Operational Efficiency
Do you know how your business compares to your competition? Can you pinpoint where you are the most and least efficient? Are your costs high?
Get Started by Identifying the Problems
What are you biggest pain points? (productivity, costs, speed, downtime, asset reliability). Then reimagine your manufacturing processes, policies and teams. Start fresh and ask yourself what you could do if you had data to give you visibility. Consult your teams, customers, suppliers and channel partners. Then explore different paths.
Complex problems can be resolved through innovative technologies. Also explore lean manufacturing best practices and its principles revolving around adding value to products and services, increasing the value stream from beginning to end, improving the workflow, reducing time-to-market and achieving the highest levels of performance across the board. The manufacturing floor is the first place to start making changes that will generate quantifiable results.
Create a Program to Source Innovative Ideas
New ideas come from people in your organization. Create a program, possibly with incentives to gather new ideas from your employees, suppliers, channel partners, and customers no matter what role or title they have, and vet them. Your path to innovation is possibly in your back yard.
Innovation is a journey and with a continuous source of ideas, you can start with small projects and add an IoT solution component to it. With a few wins, you will gain experience, support and confidence to continue to build. Instrumental to your success is putting processes in place to test and measure your various projects so you can quantify and analyze results . You may not always achieve the results you were hoping for, but with adjustments, you will get there.
Use Data to Gain Insights and Understanding Impacts
Data is at the core of IoT innovation. Understanding your data will provide insights to help you :
Improve asset management and reliability;
Improve operational visibility;
You can then build a strategic and sustainable plan to phase in various projects to transform and innovate your manufacturing plant. With the right combination of people, processes and technology, you will optimize your plant’s performance to reach peak operational efficiency.