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    Benefits of IOT

    Top 10 Benefits of IoT for Manufacturers

    When it comes to IIoT devices, the vast majority reside in manufacturing, followed closely by healthcare and retail industries. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) puts a focus on this interconnectivity and data provided by the terminals, sensors, and other systems on the factory floor. These data-fueled factories become “intelligent” environments, which are capable of informing enterprises from the top down. They provide visibility regarding the efficiency of factory processes and performance both in real-time and over time. In short, the data enables manufacturers to refine and improve operations with relevant and up-to-date data.

    So, how can your organization stand to benefit from making the investment in IoT connectivity? Here are the top 10 benefits of IoT for manufacturers.

    1. The Connected Factory

      IoT enabled machines and endpoints are capable of communicating operational information to personnel both inside and peripheral to your organization. That includes machine operators, managers, field service personnel and even partners like suppliers, subcontractors, and OEMs. This connectivity delivers mission-critical data and information to operation managers and factory leadership on-site and out-of-office. The power to control operations and manage factory activity on a remote level increases opportunities for process optimization and automation. View the Connected Factory in Action info graphic at Manufacturing Tomorrow.

    2. Production Visibility

      When it comes to production, the continuous monitoring of processes that IoT connectivity provides will enable improvements to be made on a rolling basis. Hang-time in assembly and manufacturing operations gain particular benefit when bottlenecks are identified and adjustments can be made in nearly real-time to realize better approaches to production management and the reduction of operational costs. Additionally, part waste is reduced alongside fewer resources tied up in inventory and better overall product delivery. For some organizations, IoT connectivity will lead to a 15 percent productivity increase in delivery and supply chain performance.

    3. Better Inventory Management

      With technologies like RFID and IoT connectivity, personnel tasked with managing inventory can leverage automated asset tracking and reporting through ERP to avoid the costly mistakes that come with working within antiquated inventory tracking systems. This connectivity allows items to be tracked and the data recorded to the ERP system automatically. These performance management capabilities made possible through IoT connectivity and ERP can help organizations reduce the number of working hours committed to inventory management each month and reduce the probability of human error. Track your stock from shop to dock with IoT technologies in your facility.

    4. Build a Safer Work Environment

      While there are no doubts that IoT connectivity and ERP improve production on the factory floor; these technologies can also help create a safer working environment for employees. This can be in the form of vision and spatial awareness systems for human-machine interactions or wearable safety technologies your staff keep on their person throughout the day. There are several safety concerns in any manufacturing facility. IoT connected devices can communicate to larger systems within the organization of aberrations, such as too much vibration or heat being exhibited from a machine or pressure loss within piping segments, and even gas leaks that might be otherwise undetectable to human perception. Staff moving through dangerous parts of your facility can signal to connected machines that a human is in close proximity and appropriate action can be taken automatically. An employee that sustains an injury in a remote location of the facility or even off-site can receive faster care with the inclusion of IoT-connected safety equipment. These are only a handful of examples of how IoT for manufacturers can improve safety in your facility.

    5. Secure Your Facilities

      With a growing number of bad actors participating in malicious attacks on manufacturers across the globe, manufacturing facility security is a topic of conversation every organization should be discussing. When it comes to security, IoT provides manufacturers with a way to monitor their data coming into the system as well as going out. Terminals and end-points can signal foreign devices being connected to infrastructure, large amounts of data being moved, and individuals accessing data they otherwise shouldn’t have access to. Leveraging IoT for manufacturers can help guard against security threats to vital hardware, software, and cloud-stored data. You can even manage devices and policies throughout an enterprise from a single point using IoT connectivity. For more information on Practical Security for the Internet of Things – view the infographic from ABI Research.

    6. Predictive Maintenance

      Predictive maintenance identifies the condition of equipment while it is in-service and determines the optimal service interval. It saves time and money by completing maintenance activity only when necessary. A special focus has been placed on predictive maintenance, as opposed to preventative maintenance, more recently. This is because it allows longer periods of operation between maintenance tasks, resulting in less downtime for essential machinery. When coupled with technologies like IoT for Manufacturers, everything from vibration, voltage, temperature, and other performance indicators feed into sensing tools attached to machines. This information is interpreted and visualized by intelligent software solutions, such as ERP platforms, into updates, warnings, and alerts. Your teams can use this information to evaluate the situation and take the most appropriate action. Intelligent and connected devices assist in setting data points that indicate when a part is reaching end-of-life, too. Automated systems can be directed to order replacement parts if none are on-site and schedule the replacement or repair in such a way that minimizes unplanned production downtime, which can cost manufacturers as much as $300,000 an hour.

    7. Predictive Forecasting

      Today’s global economies move too quickly for manufacturers to rely on historical data to forecast demand. Weather events, materials shortages, and a host of other environmental factors can influence demand for any given product at any given time. Accurate forecasting is critical for manufacturers that want to sell as much of a product as possible without oversaturating their markets.

      Take, for instance, a widget. A consumer buys a connected widget, which in turn collects data about usage, wear and tear, and overall performance. The relative data is then sent back to the manufacturer to determine what adjustments need to be made to the product for more predictable forecasts of future demand. If the product is satisfactory for customers across a wide range of environments and uses, then the average life-cycle can be taken into account and manufacturing volume can be adjusted to match. The result is more accurate demand forecasting, fewer wasted resources and stock tied up in inventory. What follows is an increase in overall customer satisfaction based on quality and deliverability when consumers return for a replacement part.

      IoT for Manufacturers in this sense can go far beyond demand forecasting to include the entire supply chain with traditional forecasting, statistical bottom-up forecasting, and ship-to forecasting. Zara is one retailer using IoT to forecast demand and minimize waste.

    8. Increased Energy Efficiency

      If you didn’t already know, industries like discrete and process manufacturers are responsible for the majority of energy consumption worldwide. In fact, industrial manufacturing is responsible for consuming 54% globally delivered electricity. This leads to pretty sizable operating costs. Fortunately, IoT for manufacturers can significantly increase energy efficiency in a number of ways.

      Initially, managers can easily identify hardware and devices that use the most energy. This information can be used in creating advanced operating profiles that tell machines when to power up and operate or power down and conserve energy. Systems draining too much power, or more than they should be, can be a sign of malfunction. IoT connectivity can highlight these abnormalities right away and address problems more immediately than if the power consumption of machinery were not being monitored. This capability keeps machines operating at peak efficiency and capacity without draining resources unnecessarily.

      Beyond this, IoT connectivity can give you an energy profile of your entire facility, or many facilities. The data can then be used to create the most appropriate and efficient back-up systems to keep operations running smoothly despite adverse environmental factors. As a result, you can keep operating during tight deadlines and production schedules despite outages.

    9. Improved Quality

      Quality can mean many things for manufacturers and their partners. Internally, improving processes through IoT devices can come from something as commonplace as alerting operators when there is too much material buildup on a machine’s end effectors or internal mechanisms. The addressing action would lead to improved machine performance, better output, and an improved process. In a temperature controlled facility, aberrant tempt reading could be the result of a door left open, poor insulation, or a faulty HVAC system component. All of which can be identified and addressed with the help of IoT connectivity.

      Alternatively, connected products and goods used in the field can relay valuable data that might not have been previously tested. This can include machinery performance when used in a cold, dry climate versus the humid tropics. Even phones that fail in freezing or sweltering temperatures can tell designers and engineers what components are of substandard quality, leading to improvements in future products manufactured with those conditions taken into account.

    10. Increase Operational Efficiency

      IoT connected devices allow manufacturing operations and executives to utilize data flowing through their facilities to make smarter, more informed decisions. Using the information available enables the connected enterprise to undertake proactive, continuous improvement initiatives that create a more agile and stable future through both insight and action.

      Truly, the benefits delivered by IoT-connected assets go beyond operational efficiency. The connected enterprise represents the next level of organizational maturity. It encapsulates predictive maintenance, higher quality products, more focused leadership, and overall organizational health. Overall, IoT for manufacturers allows staff throughout a company to work smarter, not harder, today. Over the long term, cost benefits are realized many times over as upsets and disruptions in operations can be avoided entirely.

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