The dearth of game-changing innovation is a challenge that the manufacturing sector has battled with for long but this is fast changing. The technology that is disrupting manufacturing in a big way currently is IoT. Business Insider estimates that global manufacturers will invest $70 billion on IoT solutions in 2020 – a jump of $29 billion since 2015. The reason: manufacturers around the world are now seeing value in the technology.
IoT is digitizing machinery and supply chains, making them ‘intelligent’ enough to make suggestions and take decisions autonomously within predefined rulesets. In the manufacturing context, IoT is a network created by attaching sensors to physical assets that can collect data, store and transmit it wirelessly, while also leveraging machine learning and analytics (supported by cloud) to take the expected action. When it comes to supply chain management, IoT lays the foundation to make it smart. In essence, the technology is poised to transform the way products are manufactured and delivered in the future. Here are two applications worth a mention.
Digitally Monitoring Physical Aspects of Manufacturing
IoT sensors are capable of monitoring machines and triggering an alert every time they deviate from the set parameters. These sensors function by taking into account aspects such as temperature, sound frequencies and vibrations of machines to determine whether they are functioning optimally. The IoT system can issue an alert if there is a deviation from these parameters so that immediate corrective action can be taken. A mechanism such as this can help cut downtime and maintain operational efficiency, while reducing labor and energy costs drastically. Most importantly, it makes predictive maintenance a seamless process when there is no possibility of a machine breakdown or prevalence of a dangerous operating condition.
IoT has limitless applications. Picture this: every year, the manufacturing industry loses millions of dollars simply because workers are unable to locate tools quick enough. What if each of these tools was fitted with IoT sensors? The answer is obvious.
Smarter Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Perhaps the most apparent application of IoT in supply chain management is tracking goods in transition so that they arrive in time to the right destination without any damage, but this is just a tiny constituent of the big picture. Some of the logistics and supply chain aspects that IoT can transform are:
- Optimum inventory management and tracking through item-level tags
- Employee efficiency and safety brought about by connected wearables
- Real-time asset tracking through video analytics made possible by connected cameras
- Intelligent energy management through smart HVAC systems
The application of IoT in supply chain management can only be limited by one’s imagination.
The manufacturing industry must realize that technological progress is not without challenges. Only those who manage a competitive advantage by facilitating rapid growth and transformation will survive in the new manufacturing paradigm where everything is ultimately digital.
The ITC Infotech Advantage
Our deep practitioner’s understanding of manufacturing sector’s needs makes us the ideal partner to guide you through your shift to IoT. We offer secure and holistic IoT solutions to manufacturers, from the conceptual stage to end-user training. In addition, we leverage our robust partnership network that includes leaders like PTC to ensure our clients enjoy a seamless digital transformation.