Manufacturers are adopting smart technologies to improve efficiencies in their factories. But many companies are stuck in the early stages of adoption. They often discover that initiating a smart-manufacturing project is labor-intensive, time-consuming and costly. A common hurdle manufacturers encounter is the integration of multiple technologies.
Cloud applications help manufacturers reduce costs related to these challenges and shorten project timelines. In the following sections, we’ll take a closer look at how smart technologies are increasing opportunities for manufacturers and best practices for efficient implementations.
The Smart Factory Opportunity
Smart factories can produce more with lower costs, according to a recent report. In fact, manufacturers expect smart technologies to drive a sevenfold increase in annual efficiency gains by 2022. Some industries can expect to nearly double their operating profit and margin with smart technologies.
Smart factories increase output, quality, and consistency. Additional benefits may include:
Streamlined and automated data: Smart technologies automate data collection and provide advanced production analytics, so managers can make more informed decisions. In a smart operating environment, manufacturers can tie their operations technology with business systems to measure their key performance indicators against business goals.
Predictive maintenance: With better visibility, manufacturers can predict and resolve maintenance issues before they lead to downtime or product-quality issues. For example, sensors affixed to machines or devices may send condition-monitoring or repair data in real time, so manufacturers can identify problems more efficiently.
Significant cost reductions: Manufacturers can identify waste and increase forecast accuracy when their operations and enterprise systems are connected. They have better insight into supply chain issues, such as inventory levels and delivery status, as well as demand cycles.
Reduce workforce challenges: Automation helps manufacturers launch and complete projects with fewer workers. Having real-time access to data across multiple platforms frees workers to focus on their core responsibilities. This allows manufacturers to innovate faster without investing in additional resources.
Enhanced productivity: Smart, connected systems help factories improve throughput. In a connected enterprise, manufacturers have seamless visibility into bottlenecks, machine performance, and other operational inefficiencies.
Efficient IoT Integration and Implementation
The smart manufacturing transformation begins with the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT-enabled devices send performance-related information via sensors over a network. During the early-adoption phase, many manufacturers struggle to build IoT applications and integrate them with disparate business applications.
Seek IoT Expertise to Speed the Adoption Process
Smart technologies offer a significant competitive advantage for manufacturers. But they’re not easy to implement. Manufacturers can overcome early-adoption challenges with the help of experienced consultants. When seeking a consulting firm, it’s important to consider advisors who have significant experience helping factories transition to smart technologies. This will help cut the implementation phase and place manufacturers on the right path from the beginning.