Best practices for leveraging the IoT in manufacturing was the presentation theme of IQMS Director of Industry Relations Ed Potoczak at Advanced Manufacturing Canada 2016. Pulling from the real-world experiences of companies that rely on IQMS, a leading manufacturing ERP software and manufacturing execution system (MES)authority, Potoczak addressed seven factors to consider in using IoT technology to improve manufacturers’ operations. The conference ran November 2-3, 2016 at the Toronto Congress Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
Potoczak began his presentation, “IoT from the Here and Now to the Next Generation,” by observing that, through the Internet of Things, we are surrounded by smart devices, which are enabling efficiencies and visibility that were impossible to achieve in the past. He then looked at the role of IoT in the industry revolution toward the “smart factory” in which workers and leaders are empowered by real-time, actionable information on the status and trends of their business and production processes, as well as why some manufacturers are still hesitant to embrace IoT.
Next, Potoczak discussed best practices that manufacturers can learn from early adopters, who for years have enjoyed the productivity benefits of IoT on the factory floor. Key recommendations included:
- Start with the end result in mind.
- Begin small to overcome fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD).
- Pilot one or two cells or process lines to gain experience with the tools.
- Keep the initial implementation simple to facilitate adoption and early success; then expect to become more sophisticated over time.
- Analyze the return on investment (ROI) from the pilot to understand planned versus actual results.
- Create an investment and roll-out plan in phases.
- Avoid custom solutions; instead use standardized tools with parameter controls that make it possible to adjust results as needed.
Potoczak then concluded with six real-world use cases from manufacturers who have used IoT technology to close the feedback loop on their operations, accelerate processes, minimize mistakes, reduce costs, and assure consistent quality.