The Fourth Industrial Revolution is happening around us right now, and it is changing how we live, work, and communicate. We can see the evidence of this change and disruption at a rapidly increasing pace. This is largely due to the range of technologies and information available to manufacturers well as as digital technologies being applied in new ways. Just 3D printing alone could revolutionize factories and supply chains. New materials will change countless products, and data will change the way we perceive the world. Virtual reality, augmented reality, connected products and assets, and external data are already having a material impact on businesses including improved asset reliability, optimised production operations, increased product quality, remote monitoring, environment health and safety performance, and enabling new business models. These are just a few of the many areas of opportunity for manufacturers and other industrial companies.
Smart Manufacturing will reach most businesses in phases, and the first step is the move to an integrated manufacturing environment. According to LNS Research, the uptake of Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) systems in factories around the world is only about 20%. The other 80% should start the move by first assessing internal systems, environment and automation level, evaluating the level of maturity against best practices, finding out if or who in the company is leading the charge to Digital Transformation, and aligning IoT solutions to meet enterprise strategic objectives.
Simply collecting data and making it available to a wide audience within a plant and across the business will lead to almost immediate returns, but making thoughtful choices about IoT will make gains sustainable. A company doesn’t need to tackle every machine, work cell and line across the entire plant for a successful launch. Simply starting with a few key assets is often a faster, easier way to jump-start an initiative with big returns. If everyone from business leader to shop floor operator has access to appropriate information at the relevant time, they will do a better job. More productive people lead to better business decisions and more profit. Once information becomes available, analysis, feedback, and action deliver new value, and safer, cleaner factories. This is only the first stage of Smart Manufacturing with no hype or expectation of instant transformation.
For those just starting out on the Digital Transformation journey, remain cognizant that Smart Manufacturing is a huge topic – one that many try to tackle with enterprise-wide IoT mega-projects. Most companies will not succeed with that approach. Focused and steady improvement plans with clear objectives will lead to a set of projects that deliver defined results along a defined timeline. The first results will be data collecting and organizing. Analytics could then follow to allow the manufacturer to learn more about processes. The journey continues with feedback about the process to drive value and quality. Each step will have clear goals and measurable results. It’s a long journey that will benefit from measuring long term benefits instead of grasping for shortterm ROI. Small incremental wins are the building blocks of long term success in an IIoT project, but senior management must have a strategic vision in mind.
Complete the eblow form anf find out more about Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 in eBook, "Smart Manufacturing: How Manufacturing is Becoming the Center of the Enterprise" by LNS Research.
Manufacturing executives have been bombarded by new concepts and technologies over the last few years; we are in the fourth Industrial Revolution, Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0; Internet of Things (IoT); Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The feeling of needing to do something, but not knowing what, can lead to paralysis by confusion.
In this eBook, you’ll learn what it means to be a Smart Manufacturer, why you should begin your digital transformation journey now, and tips on getting started.