How IoT is driving smart manufacturing

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Digitisation is transforming the way manufacturers do business, from engaging customers throughout the product lifecycle to optimising operations. Using IoT solutions to collect and analyse large volumes of data, from the factory floor to the customer call centre, is improving visibility, increasing efficiency and flexibility, and reducing costs.

Increase visibility and collaboration throughout supply chain operations

The ability to automate the collection and analysis of data from millions of widely dispersed devices delivers critical insights across the entire supply chain.

The additional insights into production and customer usage also allow manufacturers to open new revenue streams by providing value-added services like ongoing monitoring and proactive support.

Monitor and resolve issues remotely

The decreasing cost of Internet of Things sensors, as well as the increased availability of sophisticated mobile devices and cloud-based data aggregation, allows manufacturers to improve service quality and margins by offering remote monitoring and predictive maintenance services, moving from a break-fix to a never-fail service model.

Manufacturers can revolutionise service delivery and minimise costly engagements by using technology like Microsoft HoloLens mixed reality to bring the eyes of technical experts based anywhere in the world into the field.

Gain the insights needed to innovate

Manufacturers can attain a competitive edge through a deeper understanding of their business, from customer usage through supply chain sourcing and production. Data from IoT-enabled parts, assets, products and equipment can empower developers, engineers, and technicians to collaborate.  

For instance, teams can identify overengineered or faulty components and track product usage in the field to improve future designs. By implementing remote monitoring, manufacturers can decrease time to production as well as accelerate the cycle of innovation using a data-driven approach.

Give employees the tools to work more effectively

By providing visibility across customer assets and work order history, technicians are empowered by a better understanding of not only the current job, but of other similar and successful field service engagements. Service agents also have the ability to provide instant feedback, using machine learning to find and follow similar cases for successful troubleshooting, and scheduling a visit or evaluation.  

By implementing a system to connect production and project management with customer relationship management systems, manufacturers can unify siloed customer service and customer engagement, and deliver personalised service and recommendations to their customers.

The future of manufacturing will be defined by the quality of investments companies are making today. Industry 4.0 is being driven by technology that is disrupting long-held assumptions, technology that is no longer only accessible to the largest organisations. Microsoft technologies such as Dynamics 365 and Azure IoT are driving the integration of digital and physical systems, unifying processes across the front office and production floor.

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