Industry 4.0 is at its peak. Every industry in the market is evolving into a smart industry. With the implementation of smart solutions in business processes, organizations are leveraging the benefits of IoT and elevating their businesses to the next extent.
If we talk about the Internet of Things, it is becoming a fast adopting and even faster-evolving technology at the present time. As a result of the massive availability of sensors, affordable connectivity, scalable platforms, process and storage capabilities of enormous structured and unstructured data, and enterprise IoT solutions, IoT has become -“the technology” for business success. Technology companies and service providers are increasingly offering companies with innovative solutions on how they can connect things to the Internet to radically change their business operations.
The foundation of a smart industry can be laid upon three pillars;
The solutions help a business to transform its processes in terms of operations, co-ordination and outcomes. So, let’s have a look at these smart solutions one by one.
Despite having an automated factory environment, most manufacturers fail to push manufacturing productivity to the max and meet customer demands. Stakeholders are having their hands full to cope with challenges like lack of a proper infrastructure or tools to monitor the complete production line from a central location. Unbalanced workload at stations, production cycle times & quality or additional operational costs are certain challenges that affect the productivity of businesses.
The key challenges faced by industries today are:
- Lack of real-time data and disparate data systems
- Keeping abreast of regulations and managing compliance
- Implementing procedures that allow faster time to market
- Balancing maintenance with throughput
- Ensure customer satisfactions
Dealing with the above challenges, organizations are finding it hard to cope with market growth and demands of customers.
Whether its recent job stats, periodic report updates or data to monitor operations on the production line, a handy system that can explicitly perform and manage all these tasks, is something that business heads are looking for in their factories. Features like quality control and statistical analysis of a smart factory solution are compatible with almost every station of a production line. With a smart factory solution, supervisors get real-time, continuous and standardized task level data to perform a detailed analysis of factory performance. With a better knowledge of their production lines, supervisors can easily make out the problematic areas and take informed decisions to meet the dynamic demands of production lines.
Smart Asset Monitoring
Smart asset monitoring is creating a whole lot of buzz in the present scenario. With the attributes and features the solution offers, it is considered as the ‘X factor’ for acquiring a competitive edge. Industries that are majorly asset driven like manufacturing, industrial machinery, power and utilities, mining, oil & gas and many more, are gaining the most out of the solution. An asset drives the success of an industry and a broken, lost, or an incorrect asset may hinder the ultimate goal of the business – the profit margin.
Prior to smart asset monitoring solution, organizations were facing challenges like-
- Tracking asset performance
- Limited control over assets
- Loss of assets
- Separate silos of IT and OT
- Scheduling an effective maintenance plan
An IoT-enabled smart asset monitoring solution not only helps in gaining better control over the equipment and machinery of a business but also provides proficiency by increasing efficiency and productivity, reducing operational costs, increasing customer experiences, etc. With the help of a smart asset monitoring solution, businesses can get deeper insights about health, availability, productivity, and location about the assets. What makes the solution so popular is the ability to monitor all the prior mentioned attributes from a single point of view. Also, the feature of keeping the record of every active asset, eliminating any ghost assets and providing intact information on how assets are being utilized in every process adds the cherry on the cake for a smart asset monitoring solution.
Smart Connected Worker
One of the toughest challenges businesses are dealing with today is ensuring a field worker’s safety. Apart from the safety of a worker, tracking and monitoring their activity in the field is also a challenge organizations have to deal with. Industries are in a hot pursuit for a solution that can efficiently and effectively meet the required parameters. Organizations are also looking to improve the overall efficiency of the worker by reducing the time consumed in non-productive work and offer them a safer work environment.
Key challenges faced by industries are;
- Unexpected accidents in the field
- Improving worker performance
- Enhancing employee experience
- Track the locations of workers and reducing the risk of errors
- Improving data accuracy
- Creating visibility in the process work status
Connecting industrial workers, in addition to having a fully-connected system has now become a feasible solution to achieve better operational efficiency and to ensure worker safety and productivity. Along with connected assets and machinery, connected workers can help a company gain better regulatory compliance and take a real-time glance at a worker’s activity and health.
Why do industries need these smart solutions?
We are now aware of the three solutions build on an enterprise IoT platform that can transform an industry into a smart industry. However, let’s have a look at an example to understand the major advantages of all these solutions put together;
Think of a factory, where numbers of employees are working in coordination with a number of machines and equipment.
The ultimate productivity of the factory depends on the fact that every individual and machinery works perfectly. A breakdown or any disruption in the functioning of any asset can lead to a considerable loss of time, resource, and money.
Stakeholders may face challenges like;
- Production line breakdown
- Unavailability of assets
- Loss of final product
- Injured labor
- Too many resources on one task
So, how can stakeholders overcome these challenges? This is where smart solutions come in handy. Implemented together, Smart Factory, Smart Asset Monitoring, and Smart Connected Worker can predict, analyze and respond to situations before any damage occurs.
A very basic question that immediately pops into our head is how can these smart solutions help organizations in tackling unpredicted challenges?
Well, a smart factory solution can help stakeholders with predicting any event long before it actually occurs. This can be achieved by predictive analysis capability of the solution. With the help of data gathered from different machines and stations at the shop floor, the solution analyses the working pattern of equipment and predicts any anomaly in the working of assets.
A smart asset monitoring solution can monitor assets preset on-site or off-shore by keeping track of their location, utilization and availability. This ensures optimum utilization of overall resources available with the organization. The tracking and monitoring of the assets also ensures the safety of the assets along with preventing them from theft.
Smart connected worker on the other hand ensures safety and security of the employees, keeping the business up and running. The solution can locate an employee and send a notification to the supervisor in case of any accident, injury, or if the employee enters a forbidden zone. This as a whole keeps employees safe and increases their productivity.
These smart solutions are designed and developed to cut down the complexities involved in data collection, insight generation, and provide better decision-making parameters. When implemented correctly, these smart solutions bring major business benefits, including boosted productivity as well as a competitive advantage. Besides enabling organizations to utilize their business infrastructure and assets in innovative ways, smart industrial solutions offer new services and deliver additional revenue.
Let’s have a look at the benefits an organization can avail by implementing these three solutions together,
Improved Operational Efficiencies
Smart industrial IoT solutions use real-time data from sensors to monitor and enhance process efficiency, reduce human intervention, and energy costs. All data obtained can be utilized to minimize downtime due to maintenance, unavailability of assets and lack of human resources in the factory.
Better Safety and Security
Besides resolving situations faster by coordinating with multiple teams, these solutions allow businesses to improve workplace safety and guard against physical threats using sensors and video cameras that help monitor equipment.
Faster Decision Making
Organizations can use real-time operational insights to make faster and smarter business decisions and reduce operating costs. These IoT-enabled solutions help distribute intelligence and prioritize all business decisions.
A new level of business intelligence
Smart solutions can serve as a forecasting tool for better decision-making by constantly monitoring, aggregating, and analyzing data from various sensors installed across the factory or deployed to the entire staff. These sensors help supervisors to collect real-time data which in turn allows companies to obtain insights into various operations and initiate preventative actions.
To be in the league of growing businesses, getting smart can be an optimal solution for your business. By incorporating smart industrial solutions in a business, enterprises can convert real-time data into actionable insights which in turn can help in better decision-making.