Not sure where to start in upgrading your operation? Map out an incremental approach. This article from Industry Week can help you get started.
Smart factories, digitization, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are all hot topics in the manufacturing sector, generating considerable buzz—and some consternation. These disruptive technologies are exciting, yet the complexity can also be overwhelming.
But with a practical, incremental plan of action, including options with minimal disruption and low-risk, even those who have been reluctant to embrace next-generation technology can get started on the journey.
Equipment can be modernized, processes upgraded, and new technologies adopted gradually, all while controlling risk. With a gradual approach, manufacturers can turn to edge applications, hybrid solutions, and a phased roll-out to build confidence and gain buy-in from the various teams.
A gradual approach also provides time to establish data security and ensure compliance with modern regulations, like the EU’s General Database Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Where Are We Going, Anyway?
Once your company has moved into the “acceptance stage,” it’s time to decide your goals for your investment and tactics to get there. Most digital technologies, like IoT, are not out-of-the-box solutions you simply plug in. A customized approach is critical. Setting a very well-defined plan with measurable milestones will help eliminate project ambiguity. Focus on building a plan that is practical, doable, and cost-effective.
For many companies, picking one basic goal offers the chance to get started and prove concepts.
Examples of viable Phase One goals include:
· Prevent unexpected down-time and keep shop floor assets running
· Better manage inventory levels with fewer stock-outs
· Meet customer demand for highly personalized products
· Improve customer engagement and build brand loyalty
· Speed time to market of new product introductions
Note that broad goals, like “double profits” or “increase sales” are not on this list, as they are too generic to develop one digital initiative that would lead to success.
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