Your manufacturing company likely has business goals which include growing revenue, margins, and profits, as well as beating out the competition.
In today's market, those goals are increasingly difficult to achieve. Companies must continue to become more efficient, increase output, work for more demanding customers, work under increasing regulations, all the while continuing to earn current or better margins and profits.
In the past, installing ERP systems or using Lean and Six Sigma frameworks were enough to improve the business. Many businesses can still benefit from those kinds of efforts. However, more and more those efforts aren't enough to get the required efficiencies, production and competitive differentiation.
The Internet of Things, which is a set of technologies put together into a system to convert data into useful information, is the next solution for enabling a business to accomplish their goals. Here are a few ways IoT becomes the next solution:
Digging Deeper: ERP and MES (Manufacturing Execution System) systems are setup to provide data down to a certain level of detail for manufacturing processes. That used to be enough for companies to make major improvements in production efficiencies. However, IoT can provide data that is another level or two deeper. It can, among other tasks, provide data about conditions inside equipment. That data can be used to understand how close the machine is to its effective operational limits, in addition to providing production output and related data.
More Uptime: The internal data can also be used to provide information on the condition of machines and even predict if and when they might break down. This allows maintenance and service technicians to fix the machines before major issues occur and keep them up and running longer, thereby increasing OEE (Optimal Equipment Effectiveness).
Sharing Data: The information that comes from an IoT system about production and equipment conditions can be shared beyond the manufacturing plant floor. Equipment often has an HMI (Human Machine Interface), or a screen from which users can view status information. However, that data is often not available outside of the shop floor. Utilizing the "Internet" portion of the Internet of Things allows maintenance technicians, management, and business leaders to see important data as needed.
Once the IoT system is in place, people across the organization can use the deeper, more useful data from equipment, manufacturing processes, and other areas of the business to drive decisions and actions. This is where the data becomes valuable information, and thereby becomes the differentiator in moving the business to the next level of growth in revenue, margins and profit, and also in competitive advantage.