Four barriers and recommendations organizations need to consider before diving into IoT-driven manufacturing transformation.
Connectivity has become a highly coveted feature for consumers, but it can have many advantages for engineers, product designers and manufacturers as well. The prevalence of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies has ushered in a new era of ‘digital manufacturing’ driven by real-time connectivity between an organization’s equipment, employees, business partners and customers. While this trend has opened the door to new business opportunities and helped create unprecedented operational efficiencies in the supply chain, there are many factors standing in the way of a seamless connected strategy. Below are four considerations your organization should take into account before diving into IoT-driven manufacturing transformation.
Changing Business Models
The adoption of IoT technologies can do more than connect your devices – it can change your organization’s entire business model. IoT has streamlined many processes in the supply chain by cutting out the middle man and enabling more direct consumer sales. Companies looking to enjoy the full cost-saving value of IoT adoption will first need to re-evaluate their supply chain investments, including staff, equipment and omni-channel sales platforms, and eliminate costly processes that are no longer needed.
Evolving Customer Demands
Providing a positive customer experience is just as important for today’s B2B companies as it is in the B2C space. Technology savvy customers expect constant innovation, 24/7 availability, and outcome-based experiences. Customers are also increasingly demanding personalized products to meet their unique needs, requiring a greater level of customer focus than manufacturers have needed in the past. To meet these needs, organizations must have omni-channel coordination, device connectivity, and responsive supply chains.
Investments in brand new, state-of-the-art IoT equipment will do little for your organization if there is no interoperability between devices. IoT is an umbrella term covering devices and tools running on a number of unique frequencies and protocols, and manufacturers must be able to connect multiple devices, both internally and externally, in multiple ways. A successful IoT-driven manufacturing transformation enables all devices and solutions to work together – from your machines on the floor to your ERP system – in order to gain actionable insights from the data being harvested. When data must flow seamlessly from the shop floor to your ERP system, your organization will be able to assess critical parameters like supply levels, machine health and productivity as well as factors like product quality, cost, and timing.
Putting Data to Action
By now you’ve probably heard the phrase, ‘data is the new gold.’ While we cannot argue the potential value of data, IoT adopters should know that data in itself cannot bring about new profits for your company. Rather, how your organization capitalizes on that data that will determine its actionable value. Make sure your organization is equipped with an IT strategy that not only collects data, but also runs on a single, unified system that can process, analyze and share data in real-time across all business departments to help spread insights and achieve your desired business outcomes.
IoT-driven manufacturing transformation begins and ends with a trusted ERP system that connects multiple technologies and integrates business networks, supply chains and end-users throughout an organization. For more information on preparing your company for an IoT-driven manufacturing transformation, access the on-demand video, Digital Manufacturing: Successful Steps on the Road to Transformation.