In this digital age of manufacturing, more data is being generated faster than ever — in fact, plant leadership and machine operators are swimming in it.
From orders to production performance to quality and shipments, the information necessary to make operational improvements is just beyond their fingertips waiting to be unlocked. Unfortunately, in a typical factory, more than 99 percent of data is discarded before it can be used to improve operations. Traditional systems are failing to supply decision-makers with vital, need-to-know information.
I’ve witnessed this challenge firsthand over the years.
Throughout my career in R&D as an engineer with Procter & Gamble, I routinely visited plants with a broad spectrum of capabilities.
During a plant tour with a Pennsylvania-based manufacturer in 2014, I listened to the critical issues facing the business and observed dozens of opportunities to close the data gaps and improve results.
The good news is that, just like the introduction of open-sourced platforms and consumer apps transformed our personal lives, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is making it possible for manufacturers to capture data and apply information in ways that were just not possible with traditional systems.
Leveraging the data connectivity and intuitive user experiences made possible with modern applications, we can handle the complexity behind the scenes, enable people and impact everything from the shop floor to the bottom line, including:
- Enhancing operational efficiency
- Reducing downtime
- Reducing scrap
- Preventing failure
- Improving delivery and yield
Here are three non-negotiable attributes to look for when considering manufacturing technology partners:
No. 1 - Compatibility
An integrated platform, data architecture and user experience can help you get more out of your existing assets and the investments you have already made.
No. 2 - Simplicity With a Purpose
We have heard repeatedly, “if it is not simple, we just won’t do it.” Applications must be easy to implement and use, and deliver immediate value to drive adoption.An operator shared with me, “if we do this right it will transform how we work, if it is just another task or management looking over our shoulder it will fail.”
No. 3 - Scalability
In addition to improving results today, solutions built to the latest open standards will enable you to take full advantage of the broader capabilities emerging with the IIoT.
Leading, data-driven companies are leveraging these principles and paving the way.
Based on a McKinsey analysis in 2015, industry leaders have reduced downtime by as much as 45 percent and improved productivity up to 25 percent.
And, this momentum is sweeping the industry: A recent Gartner study shows that 43 percent of organizations are using, or plan to implement, the IIoT (also known as Industry 4.0) in 2017, with manufacturing leading the way.
Needless to say, it’s exciting to be at the leading edge of the next industrial revolution emerging with the IIoT. Spectators beware, the digitization of manufacturing is inevitable. Highly efficient companies that take full advantage of these disruptive technologies will win.
Duane Clement is the founder and CEO of Data Inventions.