By Derek Chin
The internet of things (IoT) is making its entrance into the workplace of every industry — and manufacturing is no exception. This technology is changing the way manufacturers do business. Successful implementation is critical to ensuring the business not only adapts but thrives in the era of Industry 4.0.
The manufacturing industry is expected to account for 15 percent of all IoT spending in the U.S. in the next two years, so it’s clear manufacturers are ready to make the investment in IoT. But before industry leaders rush into implementing new IoT solutions, they should understand the common pitfalls to avoid.
Pitfall: Trying to run before you can walk
The buzz of digital transformation can force business leaders into a frenzy, leading many companies to scale IoT solutions prematurely. Committing to large-scale change and bringing in new technology before validating the solution is a costly mistake.
Solution: Establish goals, avoid committing to fixed timelines and build prototypes
Success stories begin with a clear understanding of the problem and a clear articulation of what the company is trying to achieve. Establishing success criteria in the form of small, achievable goals — such as what percent you are going to increase efficiencies — is a great way to validate your investment. Once you have measurable success criteria, be aware that you will be experimenting with multiple iterations before you develop the right solution.
In this state of experimental ambiguity, do not commit your team to delivering the perfect solution by a fixed date — instead commit to demonstrating actionable progress with lean prototypes. These small-scale prototypes allow your team to be nimble and will rapidly accelerate your path to accomplishing the overarching business objectives. Only after validating your solution’s success should you entertain the idea of scaling.
Pitfall: Trying to make it on your own
Too often, IoT projects get thrown to IT departments that don’t necessarily have the capabilities or bandwidth to take on new ventures. Some manufacturers don’t even have an IT department and rely on operations or administration teams to set up technology. When starting from nothing, it takes a particular expertise to build, deploy and manage IoT technology. Relying on existing teams can prolong implementation and reduce optimization of the IoT investment.
Solution: Find an experienced partner
Before you start the IoT journey, find a partner or consult an expert who has a successful history of deploying IoT for manufacturers. Industrial IoT is used for optimizing product lines and improving internal efficiencies. The quickest path to realizing a return on investment is not to start from scratch but to find the right partner to accelerate your learning curve leveraging IoT in the manufacturing industry.
Read Derek's full article, and two more common pitfalls and solutions, at Enterprise IoT Insights.
Published on 11.01.18