IIoT-powered inventory management
helps manufacturing organizations reduce inventory and free up liquidity directly. For example, sensors use ultrasound to monitor container-fill levels at a single site. Other applications use geotags combined with integrated mobile communication to track the flow of materials over long distances. This real-time transparency allows the logistics team to better manage the material flow and reduce inventory by ordering raw materials and other inputs closer to the required date. As a result, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) helps reduce inventories by up to 36%
, per McKinsey.
Amidst the Industry 4.0 environment, manufacturing maintenance is not just 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%. In addition, 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
Workforce management tools based on IIoT enable enforcing important steps for physical distancing when sites are open. If employees agree and regional regulations allow, workers, put on positioning devices that show their movements within site. This data is converted into intelligent algorithms, helping managers in workflow optimization and contact minimization at critical points, such as shift changeovers. For instance, based on IIoT insights, an organization could stagger breaks and arrange shifts at a drastically faster pace, enabling the company to maintain operations while dramatically decreasing employee contact. In addition, some workforce tracking solutions limit access to already crowded areas automatically.
When workers are COVID positive, organizations can notify employees with whom they have been in contact by using the positioning data available from their wearable devices. For employee privacy reasons, all worker-centric data must be anonymous. In scenarios where COVID-19 causes worker absenteeism because of ill health, the devices inform the concerned department about the staff shortage areas to recognize operational areas where risks such as slowdowns can occur.
Besides employee protection, workforce management solutions can increase employee productivity and decrease cycle times. According to McKinsey, workforce management solutions improve employee productivity by 10% to 30%
, based on the factory setup, such as the count of machines and processes.
The industry is witnessing a remarkable digital transformation. This transition will transform plant floor operations and begin a new era in manufacturing, Industry 4.0, which is 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.
Warehouses offer several automation opportunities, such as automated material storage and retrieval systems, shuttle systems, smart picking robots, smart shelves, collaboration robots (cobots), intelligent and automated systems that sort, pick, and pack, besides drones that execute inventory inspection. In addition, digital Twins creates duplicates of warehouses digitally to better understand the results from myriad digital technologies, helping design optimum warehouse operations. AR tools that make picking numerous orders at once less difficult and more productive and exoskeletons to minimize accidents from repeatedly handling heavy materials are other Industry 4.0
solutions that provide immense support to the warehouse workers.