Managing a network of plants, functions, production processes, and employees is hard work.
Every day there are countless opportunities for mistakes that erode the bottom line: a tiny ingredient error ruins a beverage batch; a failed sensor destroys a complex customer order; a frontline worker doesn’t notice an idle machine in need of stock; a warehouse temp mislabels a container.
There’s an easier way.
The Connected Enterprise (a means to achieve Smart Manufacturing) brings visibility and contextual information to these activities — and much, much more.
The Connected Enterprise helps to stop these losses as they occur, while also pointing managers and employees toward potential productivity improvements. Minute-by-minute losses are transformed into daily cost savings — and improved profitability.
Two-thirds of manufacturing executives say the application of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies within plants and processes, a requirement of The Connected Enterprise, will increase profitability in the next five years; one-quarter expect the IoT profit boost to be greater than 5%. Embedded intelligence can immediately make a profit impact in a variety of settings, including:
- Product specifications: If a variation occurs, smart machinery stops production — preventing defective goods from reaching customers.
- Labor utilization: Automation modernization allows frontline workers to efficiently manage multiple machines simultaneously (i.e., IoT-enabled Jidoka).
- EHS compliance: Intelligent equipment monitors and guards against prevents accidents and environmental mishaps before they occur, to reduce the risk of avoiding injury and financial penalties (e.g., fines, lawsuits, increased insurance premiums).
- Agile production: IoT-enabled facilities report in real time where capacity is needed or available, adjusting production continuously to optimize asset and employee deployment.
Executives too often “fix” an issue by throwing more people or new equipment at the problem.
Smart Manufacturing takes a different approach: Leveraging current assets by embedding them with intelligence to communicate across the enterprise.
Smarter equipment offers a critical first step for any type of improvement — gathering information — and makes it possible for manufacturers to know what’s really happening inside their facilities. This real-time information makes profit-focused analytics — and positive change — a reality.
Where do your plants lose profits now? More importantly: What are you doing to prevent it?
Beth Parkinson is the market development director, connected enterprise at Rockwell Automation. This blog was originally published here.