The Impact of IoT in Manufacturing

With wireless connectivity becoming more ubiquitous, IoT has permeated our everyday lives. By some estimates, each person in the world will have between six and seven connected devices by 2020. Research shows that nine out of ten people in America own at least one smart device, and nearly 70 percent use a voice-controlled system. Ironically, despite the focus on enabling the digital lifestyle for us humans, IoT hits its stride in the world of manufacturing technology.

In recent years, IoT has helped to drive process improvements in industries that include retail, logistics, and manufacturing. The manufacturing sector, in particular, has realized significant efficiencies and cost-savings that have subsequently been passed along to us, as consumers.

As IoT innovation continues to evolve, back-office processes have become connected as well, driving improvements throughout the organization and removing informational silos that impede progress.

IoT in Manufacturing: Powering Innovation

In an effort to improve processes, drive automation, and fuel business growth, manufacturing companies have applied IoT technologies to almost every system.

For example:

Machine monitoring enables preventative maintenance, forecasting

Sensors monitor individual machine function, alerting to the need for maintenance or predicting an impending breakdown. This proactive versus reactive approach allows personnel and plant managers to focus on higher-value activities and act as the need arises.

When a machine is slowing down or malfunctioning, IoT sensors send alerts to the control panel. Personnel is alerted, maintenance is scheduled, and costly breakdowns and downtime are reduced. Production levels are maintained, and the resulting data becomes a powerful forecasting tool, helping stakeholders plan more accurately for the future.

Field services, asset tracking

IoT tracks assets, vehicles, and personnel in the factory or the field, providing a critical benefit for manufacturers who are also service providers while enabling greater profitability.

Facility management

From health and safety to security and energy optimization, IoT is at the core of efficient building management.

Real-time data

From the factory floor to the finance department, manufacturing technology is driving process improvement from end-to-end. Sensors provide real-time insights into each process, which is then translated into actionable data that can be leveraged to make business improvements.

IoT and ERP

IoT sensors track and monitor processes such as inventory, machine operation, logistics, and human capital. Data is shared with the ERP, resulting in an accurate snapshot of the state of the business at any given time. Leveraging automation and artificial intelligence, human error is reduced, and tasks are completed with greater expedience.

Logistics management

The combination of RFID and IoT in logistics helps manufacturers manage the supply chain more efficiently. From the factory to the warehouse to the end user’s door, every component and package is accounted for, reducing loss and improving the bottom line.

Greater customer satisfaction

Optimized processes result in more efficient operations and an overall reduction in the cost of manufacturing and delivering products.

In conclusion, IoT in manufacturing has ushered in a new age of productivity and profitability. Leveraging capabilities in facility management, logistics, predictive maintenance, quality control, and ERP connectivity, new efficiencies will continue to open doors to increased potential.

To learn more about IoT in manufacturing, reach out today.