Part 1 of 4 in Digital Transformation Series
The Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing the way the world works. In the manufacturing industry, this means that businesses can work more efficiently, as well as faster and safer. It is an all around smarter way to work, ensuring you remain competitive in today’s market.
The industrial manufacturing industry is going through a dramatic shift from a paper-based and reactive state to a digital factory. This transformation is happening in all sectors and market segments. The proven outcome and benefit of this transformation is driving future Smart Factories. Companies without these capabilities will be left behind and subsequently less competitive. In simple terms, we are going from manual and paper-based processes to a digital and automated enterprise. Along this journey is how Prophecy impacts the Industrial Manufacturer to deliver upon the Connected Smart Factory.
The world is changing at a dynamic rate and so are customer expectations. Due to this, businesses are incorporating industrial IoT, also known as Industry 4.0, and digital transformation to enhance agility, resiliency, and sustainability in their smart factories.
In this post-Covid world, manufacturers are fast-tracking their efforts to transition to smart factories with the intent of improving overall equipment effectiveness. According to a survey published by Microsoft, areas of greatest focus remain quality, sustainability, and cybersecurity as well as how automation might improve various aspects of these work processes.
If you are part of the numbers who have yet to begin digital transformation into your enterprise, there are many reasons to reconsider. For instance, in today’s market, customer’s prefer customization over mass-marketed products. Delivering personalized specifications fast becomes easy when processes are automated and human error is minimized. Coupled with 2D or 3D printing which can be accessed via a CPR tool, customers can see exactly what they are ordering despite how intricate or unique it may be, and utilizing the technology of digital twins can also allow for the status of the actual object to be visible. Therefore, errors can be spotted early, and, in general, work flows are optimized.
There are other benefits to IoT as well. IoT helps in the ever-challenging supply chain. Not only because of the pandemic, but also due to natural disasters and political tensions, companies are having to find new vendors closer to home. Businesses are also able to be more climate conscious. Monitoring waste and keeping sustainability as a priority is necessary due to governmental policies and regulations in addition to customers who are now expecting manufacturers to be more aware of their carbon footprint. IoT in smart factories makes these challenges easier to manage while affording employees the flexibility to focus on customers and innovation.
To be more specific, Prophecy IoT focuses on lessening losses in the areas of availability, speed, and quality. It assesses things like effective production time, planned stops versus equipment failure, or other unplanned detractions from progress, process failures, and waste. What Prophecy does is allow for employees to connect with the machine via data in an actionable way. In addition, Prophecy goes beyond machine monitoring to factory automation, which is how speed, safety, agility, and accuracy are all heightened.
The advantages can go on and on. However, in order for digital transformation to work and be able to provide benefits like the ones listed above, certain things must be put in place.
According to Microsoft’s report, one major key to success in this is creating a digital-first culture. What this means is that the focus is put into being data-driven. With data driving the organization, businesses will see greater collaboration among departments, transparent communication, more assertive experimentation, and more confident and stronger decisions being made across the enterprise instead of in isolation. Empowering more employees to make decisions will allow for faster customer service and greater innovation.
Another element of this transformation into a smart factory includes integrating IT and OT (Operational Technology) in order to make a fully operational data ecosystem. With 76 percent of manufacturing assets now connected, many manufacturers are transitioning applications and workloads from on-premises infrastructure to public and private cloud platforms. The combination of operational technology with the IT of systems like cloud-based ERP and AI enhances the abilities of processes across the board. When this balance fails, benefits won’t be maximized.
Much of this success falls upon the adoption of the various Industry 4.0 options. In order for the benefits of data and technology to really be available to your enterprise, the support has to begin from the top. Change management needs to be a top priority as there is a lot to overcome. Change brings disruption and confusion, and the way to combat that is to show that management is fully in support of these changes and for empowering employees.
To fully demonstrate this, training should be significant. Companies often find that their employees have limited data skills, which is understandable when we consider how many companies do not fully utilize the data they have. Workers need extensive training in how to use the technology, but also in how to read and analyze the data in such a way as to make the correct decisions quickly. In addition to initial training, employees should be refreshed in training, especially as new applications become available. That is another important element of developing a smart factory: new applications need to be developed that will allow for data pools to be used even more efficiently. Progress will be constantly growing and changing, and you want your company to be a part of that.
Microsoft’s published survey findings show that almost 75 percent of businesses are on the path to having a dedicated smart factory, including a vision for a data-centric workforce and IoT strategies. The reason for this is that in beginning down this path, they saw the growth through their KPIs, and this encouraged them to keep pressing forward.
If you’re ready to press forward in your enterprise by beginning digital transformation, the consultants at Godlan have the experience to bring data and efficiency to your fingertips. The world is moving quickly, so don’t wait and allow the competition any advantage. Contact our team today at www.Godlan.com or by calling 586.464.4400.