4 things to keep in mind when implementing Industry 4.0

07 September 2016

There’s a lot of hype about Industry 4.0, otherwise called the ‘Industrial Internet of Things’. With all that’s on offer, it’s easy to get distracted by the possibilities of the myriad technologies and lose sight of what it should be about – helping you to improve your throughput, quality and uptime. 

We’ve some simple tips to help you to start your Industry 4.0 journey the right way: 

Size appropriately

It’s easy to get blinded by the sheer volume of technology and solutions on the market. There’s a solution for every size of company (and with every budget) and it’s important not to waste time on something that isn’t appropriate for your situation. It’s no good reaching out to large and complex solutions-providers if you’re looking at low volume. Likewise, there’s a plethora of good DIY solutions but they can require their own large time investment and have no support, not appropriate for larger organisations. 

Is the solution right for your business size?

 

Don’t try to do it all yourself

With a number of DIY IoT solutions out there, it’s easy to buy into the marketing hype of ‘just switch it on and go!’, unfortunately that’s rarely the case and it’s all too easy to find a solution taking up precious time from you and your team rather than helping you. Just keep in mind that the solution is meant to work for you – not the other way around. Because of this it’s best to work with a company that specialises in implementing IoT solutions (but remember to size appropriately!) – it’s their job to take the pain of implementation away and the time saved and peace of mind gained will be greater than the financial outlay. 

Use expertise to your advantage

 

Start with the end

What is it that you’re looking to achieve? Greater process visibility, improved quality, less unplanned downtime or all of the above? Since Industry 4.0 / the Industrial Internet of Things offers such a wealth of technology and opportunities, it’s easy to get distracted. Instead, start with the end in sight, e.g. “I want to reduce my unplanned downtime to help reduce operational expenses and improve customer satisfaction” and specify the solution as appropriate. It’s also important to understand how the solution will affect your capex/opex. If the solution has an unknown return on investment, it may not be suitable. Learn more about how the IoT helps predictive maintenance here.

Understand and establish clear benefit goals 

 

Gently, gently

Pick one, easily-defined problem and solve it well. With the organisational and procedural changes enabled by Industry 4.0, it’s important to take things at a manageable pace. Change can be an uncomfortable or revelatory thing but it needs to be managed in a scalable way – start small and build up each success from there. History is littered with grand projects that failed through lack of patience.

Make it scalable – start small and build on successes

PROGNOSYS

We’ve developed an easy to use, cloud-based condition monitoring and prognostics software tool to automatically forecast machine failure which can work with any IoT solution. We’d love to discuss your predictive maintenance plans and are offering a free Industry 4.0 & predictive maintenance consultation.

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