How do you ensure your Return on Investment (ROI) with new technology? The Internet of Things (IoT) and its Industrial counterpart (IIoT) offer amazing technologies. The fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, changes the way the manufacturing industry does business. Why is it important for manufacturers and Investors to adapt to the IIoT? How do you invest smart and get the most ROI? What areas of technology should a company focus in?
Your Competition, Your Consumers, and the IIoT
Your Competitors Are Going There. C3 IoT is a large technology company that offers Artificial Intelligence (AI) and IoT software solutions. Ed Abbo is their president and Chief Technical Officer. In an interview with Industry Week, Abbo stresses the importance of leveraging data to develop IoT products. He claims that if manufacturers and industrial companies “can’t get (it) right, they will be at a competitive disadvantage.”
Ready Or Not, Here We Come. In August 2017, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) published Monetizing the Industrial Internet of Things. This study examines what manufacturers are pursuing in the IIoT and why.
One of the findings shows that most industry leaders are already moving forward. 47 percent of manufacturers have IoT products or services. This could be a platform they use to sell products to their consumer. Or it could be the way the company gathers and analyzes data.
But only 14 percent of manufacturers have clear strategies for how they will use IoT. They admit to still being in the early phases of creation or implementation. This suggests that despite the complex nature of these new technologies, industry leaders recognize the importance of keeping current.
Consumers Want It. According to the PwC and MAPI, “the global population of connected things has already eclipsed the world’s human population.” In 2017, about 8.4 billion devices are connected to the Internet of Things. In just three years that number will increase to over 20 billion connected devices.
Consumers want technology to makes life’s inconveniences obsolete. They rely on gadgets to route their cars -- soon they will trust AI to drive them around. New technology can take daily pains out of the consumer’s everyday life. And they’re willing to pay for it. Revenue created by IoT-based services and products is expected to increase 10 percent in the next 5 years.
IIoT Functions That Create ROI
Weather automating an entire warehouse or just setting up a wireless network solution, investing in IIoT technologies can be expensive. It’s easy to discuss the advantages of the new workflows of paper. But how can industry leaders make sure they make a return on their investment?
By identifying efficient solutions that best benefit your business, you can create a clear strategy. Consider some of these routes to take when integrating your business with IIoT.
Increase Manufacturing Safety Through Monitoring And Automation. With wireless computer solutions and the internet, you can keep an eye on your manufacturing process without being there. Furthermore, smart technology can alert you if anything goes wrong -- before it goes wrong.
Manufacturers may invest in alarm systems that trigger if something incorrect happens during the manufacturing process. Smart sensors can monitor common signs of equipment failure and immediately automate a solution. The possibilities of increased safety with monitoring and automation are endless.
According to an article published by the Wall Street Journal, high-level manufacturing companies use vibration analysis to predict possible equipment malfunctions. Top Quartile performers utilizes this technology with over 80 percent of their equipment. Comparatively, Third Quartile manufacturing companies only monitor vibrations for 35 percent of their production equipment.
The article goes on to say that companies that regularly monitor their equipment have “14 percent less downtime and 71 percent lower (equipment) maintenance cost.” They also credit these statistic to planned equipment maintenance schedules. Decreased downtime and functioning equipment means more product and greater profits.
RFID. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a technology that can automate all of your company's data. Common RFID system solutions include inventory tracking and management and data collection/processing.
Companies like the Advanced Mobile Group can integrate RFID solutions with pre-existing workflows, or they can create a brand new infrastructure from the ground up. These systems can help you:
- tighten control on your inventory.
- reduce losses from shrinkage or waste.
- provide readily accessible data for creating insights.
- reduce errors or inaccuracies.
- increase efficiency during all phases of production.
Manage Your Mobile Employees. Wireless technology solutions and interconnected devices can keep your field employees in sync with your home office. Consider how quickly your company needs to receive and exchange information. Or how large of a transportation fleet you need to manage.
A driver can use a vehicle-mounted mobile terminal to confirm delivery of a shipment. A field representative uses a handheld computer to confirm your product arrived at the point of sale. No matter the information, it’s delivered instantly.
Start Small and Scale
It isn’t necessarily the most money that you can spend but the smartest money you can spend. Ask yourself questions that identify where the IIoT can benefit your company best.
Do you need to manage inventory? Install RFID or Barcode scanning technology.
Do you need to keep track of mobile workers? Implement an interconnect mobile computing solution.
Do you want to increase manufacturing productivity and eliminate machine downtime? Use technology to monitor, maintain, and automate your equipment.
Research the different solutions available to you. Focus on small, specific investments. Find your success and scale!