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The Industrial Internet of Things has significant commercial and operational implications for manufacturers. It can help companies improve everything from customer experience to asset utilization to employee productivity to supply chain and logistics management. However, our 2017 Manufacturing Report found that 77 percent of manufacturers and distributors surveyed still have no plans to implement IIoT technologies. Many of these respondents are from small and midsized companies that likely don’t think the IIoT is necessary in their operations or simply don’t feel they have the time or resources to make significant changes to their processes.
While the IIoT isn’t suitable for every company, many of these manufacturers are making a mistake by dismissing it. The report also identified several top areas of focus and concern for manufacturers — such as workforce challenges and supply chain management — that the IIoT can help them address. Nearly 60 percent of respondents pointed to a lack of qualified workers as a barrier to business growth, and 64 percent said that supply chain management is important to their success in the next five years. Further, more than half said the ability to improve customer service and response time is a top business driver impacting their technology investment decisions.
The IIoT offers clear and impactful solutions to many of these manufacturers’ biggest stated challenges. It’s important for the leaders of these companies to seriously consider and assess the potential benefits of introducing IIoT technologies into their operations.
Streamline the Supply Chain
The IIoT can fill in gaps in intelligence that have long posed challenges for manufacturers’ customer relationships.
While advanced technology such as cloud-based ERP systems can help a company more efficiently share designs and collaborate with its customers during the production stage, the IIoT can provide a manufacturer insight into the after-sales life of a product. With the IIoT, a manufacturer can monitor its product in the field to assess performance and health in real time. Instead of having to rely on customer requests or regular site visits to ensure continued operation and optimal performance of a product, the IIoT can allow a manufacturer to proactively address emerging problems and prevent costly shutdowns. This is especially helpful for durable products with long service lives. By monitoring product usage and performance, a manufacturer can ensure it maintains strong customer relationships and wards off competitors.
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