The business world is changing, and business innovation will be changing right along with it. The arrival of initiatives such as Industry 4.0 ushered in a suite of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), autonomous robots, 3D printing and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Because of this, 2021 and beyond is poised for a level of growth and new business opportunities unlike anything imagined before.
- these technologies, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), is transforming manufacturing in disruptive ways by creating new industries and new services while enhancing efficiency in others. And the numbers are staggering. By the end of 2020 there were over 11 billion connected devices worldwide and recent estimates expect that number to almost triple to 30 billion by 2025.
The proportion of these connected devices deployed within manufacturing will be significant as well. As a result, many companies will find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to operate their business without innovation and without altering their mindset about what business innovation will look like going forward.
Benefits of IoT in Manufacturing
Industrial IoT opens windows to business innovation not possible before. Some of these benefits include:
- Process Optimization – With IIoT’s use of complex algorithms, advanced analytics, and machine learning, processes can be improved with real-time data. This includes faster identification of trends as well as the identification of micro-trends not detectable before.
- Increased Automation – The depth of analytical capacity and the improvement of autonomous or semi-autonomous robotics means production processes are more flexible. Problems can be uncovered faster and often addressed before they cause downtime, increasing operational efficiency.
- Improved Quality – Because data is available in real-time and can be analyzed as it is captured, quality can be improved for all production processes. This can be as simple as identifying quality variances as they occur and programming automatic equipment adjustments to correct. Or it could mean using machine learning algorithms to correct a problem to a more precise level than human hands could manage.
- Predictive Maintenance – With data on machine state under constant analysis, companies can use predictive maintenance to save cost. A study by McKinsey found that production machine availability grew 5 to 15% when using predictive maintenance tied to IIoT software. This impacted maintenance costs by reducing maintenance expenditures by 18-25%.
Examples of IIoT That Will Impact Business Innovation
But what does business innovation look like in the world of IoT? What pathways will be opened to allow business leaders and entrepreneurs to develop new products, services and processes to take advantage of what this technology offers? Here is a look at a few examples of how manufacturing IoT can impact business innovation in multiple ways across an enterprise.
- Digital Twins – With real-time, accurate data streams captured from production processes as well as from connected consumer and market feedback, R&D efforts can be enhanced to improve existing lines and develop new products. Digital Twins use CAD and 3D modelling alongside real data and predictive analytics to develop scenarios for improving product performance, quality and operation. Because it is digital, prototyping can be done virtually to reduce multiple physical iterations to save cost on materials and labor and by improving a product’s time to market. Digital twins can also play an integral part in predictive maintenance by assessing whether failure for parts will occur before or past its OEM predicted cycle.
- Supply Chain Visibility – With IoT, manufacturers can expand their collection of data from their own production floor back through their supply chain to each vendor and forward to their point of sale at their customer’s retail site. This gives better visibility and decision-making for planning, scheduling and inventory control. Companies can deploy Just in Time (JIT) strategies, improve vendor negotiations and plan for seasonality and other disruptions. It also enables better traceability for critical products such as food and medicine to ensure safety through an IoT enabled supply chain all the way through production.
- Enterprise Level ERP – Because this level of connectivity requires removing silos within the company, data is standardized and rationalized for all to use. Most of today’s IoT software can be linked directly to enterprise ERP systems to improve financial planning, capex planning, budgeting considerations and cash flow.
Staying on Top of Business Innovation with IoT
The level of disruption brought about by IoT within manufacturing and other businesses is game-changing. And leaders and entrepreneurs need to understand not only how it affects them, but how they can change their strategy to leverage IoT for better business innovation throughout their enterprise.
As leaders look to better understand their market, develop new products and new business lines, execute using real-time insights, and improve customer experience, many may feel the need for additional assistance and resources. The Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre (HBEC) offers world-class business innovation programs to help new and current leaders understand the challenges of today’s changing business climate. Their expertise can help chart a path in a business world ripe for innovation strategies powered by IoT and other new and emerging technologies.