What is known as the “Internet of Things” (or “IoT”) is having a major impact on manufacturing, providing manufacturers more visibility into their operations while enabling predictive maintenance on their machines and allowing them to provide remote support to their customers. Before we dive into the core details of this blog, have a quick look at these eye-opening facts regarding the IoT and manufacturing we’ve gathered:

  • There will be nearly 20.8 billion devices on the IoT by 2020
  • Some 41-percent of manufacturing organizations use sensor data frequently
  • “Wearables” (wearable devices) are being used to improve worker safety, education and customer support

The IoT: A Quick Primer

Since the infancy days of the internet, many have dreamt about being able to create an ecosystem of products – from kitchen appliances to HVAC – that were somehow all connected and integrated. The answer was the Internet of Things, connecting unique devices within an existing internet infrastructure, and while it’s become a reality courtesy of near-ubiquitous internet access, smaller sensors and cloud computing (and despite the millions of devices that are already connected to the internet), the IoT is still in its gestation stage.

Most experts believe this will be the next big boom, and for the manufacturing sector, this means having more data available for monitoring and improving operations; in turn, this will enable more efficient energy management, remotely-monitored safety and emergency notification systems, better infrastructure management and process automation. What’s more, the IoT also boasts major implications for manufacturing smart capabilities into products themselves.

Manufacturers, Listen Up: This is How the IoT is Impacting Operations

Okay, so this is what you should have taken from this article by now: The Internet of Things is changing the landscape of how businesses gather and analyze data across nearly every industry and sector – including manufacturing. Here’s what we’d like to add: IoT for manufacturing can harness the data from machines and equipment to transform the processes and systems of the modern factory environment – by denying or ignoring the transformation that the IoT will inevitably bring, you risk falling behind competitors and losing clients that value speed and innovation.

Here are the ways the IoT is changing the manufacturing operations game:

  • Digitizing and Optimizing Manufacturing Processes – In manufacturing, the IoT connects assets to processes, systems and people, and this enables better integration of plant processes, achieving higher levels of productivity and taking manufacturing to the next level of transformation (known as Industry 4.0 in certain tech circles).
  • Providing Intelligent Assets and Equipment – By enabling “intelligent assets” with IoT sensors and cognitive capabilities, equipment can sense, communicate and self-diagnose issues in order to optimize performance and reduce downtime. This can prevent production delays and improve production line performance, reduce equipment downtime and increase process efficiency and expedite equipment repairs.
  • Offering Cognitive Processes and Operations – By analyzing both structured data being collected in databases and unstructured data such as photos or video footage, it is possible to bring more certainty to decision-making and business operations. Through cognitive processes and operations, businesses can improve productivity of the production line through inventory and scrap reductions, expedite service calls and repairs and reduce warranty costs and improve quality/yield due to improved quality practices.

DMS Companies: Always on the Bleeding Edge of All Things IT

Where do you turn to discover all the ways the IoT can be useful for your manufacturing business? As a technology solutions provider for businesses striving for operational excellence, DMS is the answer. The DMS Group of Companies packs a triple punch that encompasses ERP integration/support, ERP add-on product development and full-service IT solutions for businesses, all realized through our three divisions that include DMS, Insight Works and DMS iTech.

Begin your technology evolution journey here.