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Do Manufacturers Need a New IIoT Platform?

Blog: Apriso Blog

Blog_11-19-15Virtually everyone agrees that the Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT, is poised to have a huge impact on manufacturing. It will transform everything: how you design, manufacture, distribute and support products from cradle to grave.

The challenge is if you run a global manufacturing enterprise, where do you start? The technology and choices can be overwhelming. Should you develop enterprise manufacturing intelligence capabilities first? How will you integrate disparate legacy systems? What about closing the loop between design and production? What is the best way to manage an IIoT – is another platform required for the shop floor?

To help provide guidance and a path forward, the first thing you should be thinking about is what sort of “ecosystem” do you want? With that vision, it will be easier to plot a course to achieve. At a high level, I would propose the Industrial Internet of Things is all about collecting data, automating responses, converting that data into intelligence and then using the knowledge that ensues to streamline decision support, support continuous process improvement to enable sustained operational excellence.

If that sounds like a good vision to you, then here are four steps to accomplish it.

 

Four Steps to be Ready for the IIoT

 

Interestingly, many manufacturers have been pursuing an IIoT strategy already without actually realizing it. It might be the perfect way to help future-proof your manufacturing operations and provide a path to manage today’s manufacturing transformation – without calling it explicitly “IIoT.” What this means is that if your company has, or is now deploying an enterprise Manufacturing Execution System (MES), you are already well on your way to leveraging the IIoT. You have key processes established, trained knowledge workers and years of experience in pursuing operational excellence – the perfect framework to address new opportunities of an IIoT world.

With a MES in place, you have already begun your IIoT journey. And, if you already have some sort of Manufacturing or Business Intelligence systems in place, you can simply expand and deepen what you already have into a global solution for Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM).

On the other hand, if you’re one of the shrinking numbers of manufacturers that hasn’t yet taken the plunge, perhaps now is a good time to start? Put together a plan to manage global manufacturing operations from a single platform. Then add intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities. I see a convergence coming – a seamless integration between the MOM platform (ideally, BPM-based at the core) and an emerging analytics platform (with a modeling and inference engine at the core). This will become the platform of the 4th industrial age for manufacturers. The potential to generate significant business value and ROI will be huge, and you’ll have an IIoT platform for whatever comes next.

I welcome your feedback. What do you think?

 

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