Scale with ease: It’s time your data started earning its keep
If you work in an industrial organisation, you already know that your future is digital. Across sectors, from manufacturing and logistics to energy and utilities, the fourth industrial revolution is transforming the way companies plan their activities, manage their assets and engage with their customers.
In most businesses, however, there is still a yawning gap between the potential and the reality of Industry 4.0. Everyone is thinking about new technologies and new ways of working. Plenty are tinkering, with pilot projects or feasibility studies. But few companies can claim that their digital projects are creating real value.
What’s holding them back? A lot comes down to the mistaken belief that the risks of Industry 4.0 outweigh the benefits. Industrial assets are expensive and long-lived. Companies have spent years refining their procedures and developing the knowhow to deliver reliable, stable operations. They worry that the pursuit of digital improvements will involve costs that might never be recouped, will require them to rip out and replace perfectly serviceable equipment, or could even compromise existing performance.
Those fears are misplaced. The maturity of Industry 4.0 technologies – from IoT and advanced analytics to augmented reality (AR) systems – has improved dramatically over the past few years. Today’s digital toolkit is robust, secure and straightforward to implement. As importantly, these technologies are designed to work alongside existing automation and enterprise IT systems, not to replace them.
All that means you shouldn’t think of Industry 4.0 as a technical challenge, but as a business opportunity. In fact, digital technologies are often the fastest, most cost-effective way address the pain points that matter for industrial companies.
Done right, this business-first approach to Industry 4.0 dramatically reduces risk in digital projects. Here are three straightforward steps that will help you control costs, accelerate payback and maximise the long-term value of your Industry 4.0 efforts:
- Start with a real problem. Pick an issue that that really matters today. That could be almost anything: a key production bottleneck, a reliability issue that has proved tough to fix, or a persistent challenge to quality, productivity, sustainability. Whatever the problem, ensure you understand the value of a successful resolution. How much would you save, for example, if you could halve operational losses, or extend maintenance intervals from twelve months to eighteen?
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. Start every digital project with what you have. Most companies collect much more data from their assets than they currently use. Modern IoT platforms, such as PTC’s Thingworx are designed to integrate seamlessly with all the major types of industrial network. That means you spend less time on the digital plumbing and more solving the problems that matter.
- Be ready to scale. Once you’ve solved one real problem using Industry 4.0, we guarantee you’ll see other opportunities. Adopting standards and building your solution on robust, scalable technologies means you’ll have the foundation you need support your growing digital ambitions.
Are you interested in demonstrating real business value from Industry 4.0 in your organisation? For more information about the points discussed in this article get in touch with our Capula Futures team.