Industry 4.0 is here. It is all about the fourth industrial revolution which is all set to transform the manufacturing process using advanced capabilities and IT solutions for manufacturing such as smart sensors and actuators. As a result, manufacturers are gaining benefits from increased visibility into operations, cost minimization, quicker production times and provide excellent customer support. The only way manufacturers can take a leap ahead of competitors and win market share and embrace the latest in growth-driven Industry 4.0 technologies. Right from Enterprise Mobility Solutions to emerging technologies, digital transformation is critical to building and executing growth strategies for manufacturing.
However, there are several factors which need to be taken into account. Equally important it is to understand how IT solutions for the manufacturing industry will impact the company’s financial performance and drive the company toward high performance.
IoT is the Next Big Thing
Manufacturers can strategically use the Internet of Things (IoT), which forms an intrinsic ecosystem of connected devices within an existing infrastructure. IoT can achieve goals such as cost control, enhanced efficiency, increased workers’ safety, and product innovation. IoT’s existence is primarily due to available Internet access, smaller sensors, and cloud computing. Innovation is steering business growth and technology is allowing manufacturers to rapidly evolve with an increasingly digital-first business landscape.
IoT is a network of intelligent devices to monitor, gather, exchange and analyze data. Each industrial IoT ecosystem consists of:
- Intelligent and smart assets that can depict, sense, communicate and store information about themselves.
- Public and/or private data communications infrastructure.
- Analytics and applications that generate actionable business information from data and people.
This statistics represents the projected global Internet of Things (IoT) spending in 2020, with a breakdown by application. “It is expected that by 2020, construction vehicle IoT spending will account for 21.8 percent of total IoT spending.”
IoT and predictive analytics play a major impact on the entire manufacturing process, offering several ways to connect operations and transform business processes. IoT is transforming every touch point into a sensor for data collection and providing real-time insights for manufacturers.
Big Data is Helping Manufacturers Achieve More
According to a McKinsey report, nearly “1.8 billion people will enter the global consuming class over the next 15 years and worldwide consumption will nearly double to $64 trillion.” In such a scenario data analytics provides manufacturers an opportunity to predict, innovate and implement. Businesses can use advanced analytics to gain insights into historical process data, identify patterns among process and optimize factors to design optimum processes. The biggest bottleneck is integrating data from multiple sources and drawing valuable insights. However, the evolution in cloud services and solutions is allowing companies to collect data from varied sources making big data usable.
Manufacturers can utilize a comprehensive understanding of their business. This allows to enhance production, optimize operations, and address issues even problems arise.
VR and AR to Create Win-Win Situations
Emerging technologies providing highly immersive experience such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will continue to create beneficial partnerships to impact manufacturers. VR can allow seamless integration with computer-aided designs which allows product developers to use VR and make changes to products during the product design stage before getting into modeling and manufacturing processes.
Workers are using smartglass which identify barcodes on inventory boxes and provide information such as destination/ origin information.
Smartglasses help ensure that all parts are assembled correctly eliminating the need of consulting. AR and VR can reduce inspection time and assist in detecting errors in addition to improving workers’ sight line, which enables them to complete tasks faster.
AR technology can be used with cameras and sensors for training. Workers can be shown how to perform a task and correct errors, which makes it possible to quickly and effectively train unskilled workers for high-value work.
Blockchain’s Potential will Change Manufacturing
Blockchain implementations can streamline operations and provide greater visibility into the supply chain. With features such as transparency, openness, security and traceability, it comes down to tracking assets with accuracy. Blockchain has completely revamped designing, engineering, and scaling of products. By improving supplier order accuracy, and product quality, manufacturers can meet delivery dates, as well as improve product quality and sell.
Many manufacturing supply chains will continue to evolve into intelligent networks with real-time information, legacy systems modernization and integration as well as maintaining delivery accuracy and quality parameters. With Artificial Intelligence and business analytics, manufacturers are looking for effortless syncing of on-premise legacy, third-party, and cloud-based applications into a single unified platform that integrates with suppliers and enables greater speed and scale.
The world is changing and so is manufacturing. In addition, many other changes, challenges, and new technologies are impacting manufacturing, including security challenges, smart sensors, wearables, transparency and risk management.