7 IIoT Use Cases Crucial to Building a Sustainable Industry 4.0 Manufacturing Enterprise

Oct 18, 2022
Manufacturing | 5 min READ
The Rise of IIoT Powered Manufacturing
Early adopters of smart factories reporting higher efficiencies in operations and revenues are some factors that have provided an impetus to the rise of IIoT powered manufacturing. According to a study by McKinsey, the estimated value of the economic impact created by IoT in factory settings across the globe is between $1.2 trillion to $3.7 trillion per year in 2025. Furthermore, the wide acceptance of IIoT powered manufacturing can be gauged from the findings of a recent study by Deloitte. In the US, 86% of manufacturers are of the opinion that smart factories will become the major driver of competition by 2025. Besides, 83% strongly feel that smart factories are poised to change the way products are manufactured.
Madan Mohan
Madan Mohan

Former SVP, Global Head-Delivery and Operations

Manufacturing and Services Verticals


Shamdutt Kamble
Shamdutt Kamble

Global Practice Director

Digital Manufacturing


The pandemic induced by the coronavirus has reinforced how the Industrial Internet of Things has improved organizational resilience in the face of adversities. IIoT has empowered organizations across various sectors, including manufacturing, to respond to market changes at a more rapid and efficient pace by enabling them to make quick adjustments to production capacity while augmenting remote operations when there are hindrances to access to any facility. Several manufacturing companies have piloted digital initiatives in IIoT, signaling the magnitude of opportunities in store for the future.
IIoT Use Cases in Manufacturing
Despite facing technical and organizational challenges while adopting industrial IoT such as interoperability, data security, and IT and OT (Operational Technology) convergence, few manufacturers have successfully scaled up their IIoT-powered use cases. As a result, they derive conspicuous benefits from both the financial and operational sides. Amidst myriad applications, some of the prevalent IIoT use cases in the manufacturing sector include predictive maintenance, supply chain resilience, traceability and tracking, smart warehouse, telematics, quality control, and paperless manufacturing. In the following section, we will discuss each of these use-cases in more depth and comprehensiveness to put IIoT applications across manufacturing in perspective.
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Predictive Maintenance
Amidst the Industry 4.0 environment, maintenance is not limited to downtime prevention of individual assets. Because machines are now interconnected more and more along the production line, and a faulty machine could pause the entire production process, the adoption of predictive maintenance becomes imperative. On average, per Deloitte, predictive maintenance enhances productivity by 25%, minimizes breakdowns by 70%, and reduces maintenance costs by 25%. Predictive maintenance in manufacturing could improve uptime by 9%, lower costs by 12%, decrease safety, health, environmental & quality risks by 14%, and increase the lifetime of aging assets by 20%, according to a PwC report.
Supply Chain Management
The undeniable impact of supply chain disruptions is known to the world. Supply chain inefficiencies cost UK-based companies around $1.9 billion per year in lost productivity. The manufacturing and wider supply chain operations are witnessing a massive role by advanced analytics and the internet of things (IoT). The Industrial IoT (IIoT) ensures a seamless flow of processes across every step of a complex supply chain, besides offering solutions to businesses in advanced warehousing, logistics, and transportation.
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7 IIoT Use Cases Crucial to Building a Sustainable Industry 4.0 Manufacturing Enterprise
Track and Trace
IIoT technologies might cause a drastic increase in production quality and throughput; however, they are often not plug-and-play solutions as many manufacturing businesses might think them to be. Therefore, to get the maximum value from an IIoT solution, manufacturers need to completely comprehend the nature of their operations and then invest in a strong, real-time traceability system that collects relevant data proactively and systematically. From basic barcode reading of individual parts to systems providing actionable intelligence on bottlenecks and quality concerns, it is not incorrect to say that traceability systems have evolved with time.
According to McKinsey, the global market size for fleet telematics hardware, software, and services will be $75 billion by 2025. Fleet telematics technologies are gaining traction at a rapid pace. This is clear from the fact that nearly 15% of vehicles have telematics installed as standard, and there are about 100 million telematics units in operation globally. Telematics enables businesses to store and analyze fleet operations data. This helps companies predict failure and determine proper intervals for preventive maintenance, making fleets more efficient and reliable by optimizing vehicle usage to enhance fuel efficiency and service levels.
Smart Warehouse
Warehouses offer several opportunities for automation such as shuttle systems, automated material storage, and retrieval systems, smart shelves, smart picking robots, collaboration robots (cobots), automated and intelligent sorting, picking, and packing systems, besides drones that execute inventory inspection. In addition, a digital twin creates a digital duplicate of a warehouse better to understand the results available from myriad digital technologies, helping design optimum warehouse operations. Augmented-reality tools that make picking multiple orders at one go less difficult and more effective, and exoskeletons to minimize injury from repeated heavy-material handling are other Industry 4.0 solutions that provide immense support to the warehouse workers.
Paperless Manufacturing
The industry is witnessing a remarkable digital transformation, a transition that will transform plant floor operations and begin a new era in manufacturing, Industry 4.0, powered by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Technological advancements, legislation changes, and a growing marketplace are some factors that will drive the need for paperless manufacturing. In addition, manufacturers are under pressure to go paperless owing to the demands of the regulatory and compliance authorities for the generation of automated digital records. Embracing paperless manufacturing has several benefits, including improved accuracy, high-quality electronic record keeping, and the availability of easily shareable data.
Quality Control
IIoT technologies play a crucial role in quality management besides enhancing day-to-day operations, such as helping improve employee safety, operational efficiency, asset productivity, and product quality. For example, machine-vision algorithms can perform automated quality inspection and quality control by employing predictive algorithms, relieving constraints in workforce availability while improving the precision and threshold of quality checks. As SKU (stock keeping unit) counts increase for finished products and raw materials, making end-to-end traceability certain becomes more and more vital for quality. Industry 4.0 technologies, including simple barcode scanning, RFID tracking, and blockchain, can help.
Rapid advances in technology are key to the evolution of Industry 4.0 in manufacturing. Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and Automation are instrumental for the smooth functioning of smart factories. For example, IIoT can make factories more efficient, save on costs and minimize risk for human operators by transforming linear manufacturing supply chains into interconnected digital supply networks (DSN).
IIoT-based technologies can enhance transparency by providing a real-time dashboard of key performance indicators supporting shop-floor performance dialogs. These software solutions track improvement actions and send alerts to operators via mobile devices besides evaluating machine data, such as information on overall equipment effectiveness, part production, and quality through IIoT connectivity. According to McKinsey, improved performance management can help companies boost labor productivity by 20% to 40%.
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