The Internet of Things has certainly taken manufacturing by storm in recent years. The market as a whole is in the process of a technological revolution and it will be the most forward-thinking and proactive companies that will stand to benefit from the change.
The Impact of the Internet of Things on Manufacturing
Web connected machinery and automated processes within a factory setting are just two technological innovations that are improving production quality and speed. Competitive manufacturers recognized that factories that are fully connected are able to run more efficiently and more productively than non-connected facilities. The technological improvements that do the most to boost efficiency include software and hardware used to improve time-to-market, optimize the use of resources, reduce the overall cost of ownership, facilitate risk management, and increase workforce efficiency. Web-enabled dashboards allow staff to monitor factory operations from a local or remote location. Smart systems help to reduce maintenance costs and downtime, as well as collect and analyze data to improve processes further.
Common Misconceptions About Changes in the Industry
While the Internet of Things offers a number of exciting opportunities for improvement in manufacturing, there are a certain number of reservations many businesses still have when considering upgrading their processes. First and foremost, a general fear of the unknown or changes to how business is done plays a large part in why businesses may hesitate to convert to a more modern system. The most effective response to fear is knowledge. Beyond general misapprehensions and misconceptions associated with this technological revolution, other concerns include whether investors will see a return on their invested time and energy associated with implementation, determining who within the company to task with managing and measuring IoT platform and task services, and of course, where to even start.
The Internet of Things Simplified
Truth in fact, many technologies that the Internet of Things depends on are already in place. The key difference is the connectivity across platforms. Machines that speak with each other and with a variety of efficiency-improving and data-collection tools help to create a more productive manufacturing system. Therefore, the overall cost of implementing a smart factory is reduced because the technology is already in place. Rather than needing to completely overhaul an established system, a few minor upgrades are – in reality – all that is needed.
Calculating Return on Investment
Return on investment is often at the forefront in a decision like this. While individual ROI is heavily influenced by variables such as geography, market segment, and expertise, there are several noted ways to validate investment in the Internet of Things. This include the amount of time saved by connecting data-driven assets, identifying tasks that can be performed by an individual as opposed to an automated process, calculating efficiencies gained through greater worker autonomy and greater access to more data across a wider variety of devices. Take these factors into account when calculating whether improvements will be a good fit for your business, as in most cases they are.
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