September 1, 2020

The Transformational Impact of the Internet of Things On 21st Century Manufacturing

IOT ManufacturingThere is no denying that the Internet of Things (IoT) has transformed the way that we work and live in the 21st century. Nowadays, nearly everyone has a connected device in their home, like smart light-bulbs, thermostats, speakers, and even the virtual assistants that we talk with on our phones. Most manufacturers started to invest in IoT several years ago as their goal was to become more productive, efficient, and competitive.

Accenture has stated that an extensive range of industries from utilities, oil, gas, agriculture, mining, discrete manufacturing, automotive, and beyond have started using IoT to collect data, connect their entire supply chain, which is driving predictive analytics and artificial intelligence. They are using a network of embedded devices and sensors to connect with appliances, vehicles, and other equipment throughout their warehouses, manufacturing floors, logistics operations, which is allowing companies to benefit from real-time process monitoring and control. That is ultimately making them better equipped to not only make faster but better-informed decisions.

Modernizing their Approach to Manufacturing

IoT technologies are starting to change the way that certain products are now manufactured, developed, and delivered. McKinsey has projected that factories are now more efficient, and are ensuring better safety for human operators, which has resulted in reduced downtime, along with reduced error rates, which has led to saving millions of dollars. The four main areas in which IoT is going to make the most impact are the following:

·       Productivity and Efficiency:

IoT devices are being connected to the networks that can communicate with one another to drive automation, and they can also be monitored and controlled remotely with the help of on-site and off-site personnel. Companies can also analyze different data derived from IoT technology to uncover opportunities for optimizing business processes.

·       Inventory Management and Tracking:

Software and devices are being installed in warehouses to track changes in inventory through automated systems, which allow companies to reassign employees to tasks that are more cognitively significant.

·       Decision Making and Data Sharing

IoT has completely transformed the way data is handled, with IoT devices tracking and recording patterns in their devices. This brings real-world data that can be easily shared through the supply chain to leverage for fact-based decision making.

·       Remote Workers

IoT technology is transforming the staffing of manufacturing facilities. In the past, these operations required an extensive staff of technicians for maintaining the machinery. Nowadays, sensors can provide information to workers, so that they can remotely observe the condition of the machines.

Making Use of Data

As companies start deploying IoT across all their operations, the amount of data that they are generating can be overwhelming. For deriving actionable intelligence, manufacturers are now implementing analytics solutions and data lakes that can mine both the traditional structured data that is housed in the ERPs but in other systems, along with real-time unstructured IoT data.

They can leverage data through disparate systems and use predictive analytics to uncover patterns and insights into the system. Machine learning is helping to uncover the bigger picture that is hidden in the data, and this is allowing organizations to use artificial intelligence on the vast and varied data that they are collecting.

Manufacturers are empowered with this data and can now respond to the crisis, run scenarios, and identify trends that involve any possible disruption that is related to an IoT device. There are several ways in which this data can be used:

·       Location Tracking

Real-time location tracking through sensors on machinery, tools, and products are helping people reduce downtime that has been lost when searching for misplaced items.

·       Improvements in Business Processes

Through the integration of IoT devices directly into business processes, organizations can use their data for continuous feedback, optimization, analysis, and decision making.

·       Machine Synchronization

Machines equipped with IoT technology can communicate with one another to synchronize actions or complete specific processes. If the machine goes down, the sensors can trigger a service request or another action.

·       Dashboards

A device will pass data to the dashboard for analysis, and the dashboard will then deliver an alert that will trigger the defined action to resolve that problem.

Planning for Your Investment

The Internet of Things is currently providing opportunities for businesses to optimize their operations and improve profitability in the long run. However, it does require an initial investment in devices and the related technology infrastructure. It’s important that companies start any IoT deployment with a solid plan developed according to how their operations can best use these resources for their advantage. Companies may need to start hiring employees that have specialized skills to work and support their IoT-equipped devices and to analyze and manage the data that they generate.

So, is it worth the initial investment of personnel, time, and money, along with the business disruption to deploy IoT? That mainly depends on the organization’s level of efficiency and risk aversion, and it needs to drive expense reduction or upgrade outdated technology. Make no mistake, IoT can deliver great returns on investment through saving cost and time in the long run and will provide data for better-informed business decisions. It has helped organizations to work smarter, and let technology do all the work of inefficient manual processes while reducing the risk that is associated with failing legacy equipment.

There are now more devices connected to the internet than it has ever been before, and that number is going to continue to climb in the future, as IoT is going to transform the entire approach to manufacturing. The sensors in these devices are going to transmit data regarding certification, repairs, operating efficiencies, as well as opportunities to optimize the equipment. That ensures IoT can not only reduce your downtime but help ensure compliance and drive profitability and productivity at the same time.

by Bobby J Davidson

We love our company and we love what we do.  Check out the ‘Why Percento‘ page to learn more: Love of Technology and Business!  As the President of Percento Technologies International, I provide day-to-day leadership to the company’s senior management and I am personally involved in the strategy, business development and sales activities of the firm.

The company was founded in 1999 with the purpose of providing a one call source for organizations in need of Enterprise IT Consulting and Management.  We also provide a line of products in the boutique Cloud Server space with a touch of high-end website strategy consulting and design services.   We personalizes the IT Service experience with a team approach, working with clients from diverse sectors of industry, including energy services, financial, legal, entertainment, healthcare, hospitality, retail and general and/or corporate business.