Manufacturing history is a study in evolution, as industry has quickly adopted and adapted to new technologies, from power generation and electrification to automation and the digital age. That’s why the way that cars and other products are manufactured today looks very different than it did when Eli Whitney first developed a simple production line based on interchangeable parts used in the manufacturing of muskets.
|In many ways, manufacturing has been part of the Internet of Things (IoT) throughout its entire history. Many companies have been embedding sensor-based technology in their devices for decades without fully realizing their potential. Manufacturing was one of the first adopters of robots and automated processes—many of these machines signaled distress with a sensor providing notification and addressing the problem before the machine stopped working, thereby avoiding downtime.
Today, thanks to the power of IoT, new data processing technologies, and availability of analytical forecasting models, the entire manufacturing value chain, from concept to completion and beyond, can now take advantage of this sensor technology.
For a modern example, some of today’s most sophisticated fighter jets are built almost completely out of outsourced parts. With a digital supply chain supported by advanced predictive analytics coordinating three principal partners, nine countries, 40,000 individual parts, and thousands of suppliers, a major manufacturer of these jets predicts it will soon be able to build one jet per day, a process that used to take months or years.
As this example illustrates, IoT and analytics are innovating manufacturing, improving interoperability across a large set of assets and linking machines, products, computers, people and analytical resources into one ecosystem.
At the simplest level, IoT and analytics are creating two important buckets of value in manufacturing: growing the business and operating the existing business more efficiently.
Growing the business with IoT
IoT in manufacturing is about creating smarter products, connecting and integrating with customers, and accelerating innovation. Done well, significant growth opportunities result. Let’s take a closer look at these areas and how IoT and analytics are having an impact:
The efficiency advantage of IoT
In operating the existing business, IoT and analytics are helping companies to connect a diverse set of assets. This results in efficiency gains throughout the manufacturing process. Here’s how efficiencies are being added, from more effective product design and planning to a more resilient supply chain and value-added product delivery and support:
In every facet of manufacturing, investment and speculation abound as companies explore the possibilities of IoT and analytics and become more insight-driven. The possibilities for applying analytics and the IoT to manufacturing may seem limitless, but one thing is crystal clear—technology-driven manufacturing innovations are evolving rapidly, which makes analytics and IoT a trend to watch in 2016 and beyond.
How do you see analytics and IoT having an impact on manufacturing in your industry? In what ways will connected insights help to grow your existing business or improve operations?
Read more about the evolution of IoT in Analytics Trends 2016: The Next Evolution.
“IoT & Analytics in Manufacturing: Growth and Efficiency through Connected Insights” was originally published in Short Takes on Analytics on February 17, 2016