The IoT is a trend that is here to stay—meaning manufacturers will have to adapt to the trend or risking falling behind.

iot manufacturing-boss magazineThe Internet of Things (IoT), with its global explosion of Internet-connected devices, is providing ever-growing sources of digital touch points. Manufacturers can use it to get the most from available resources by extracting data about the performance of manufacturing processes, logistics, and supply chain systems.

As the global IoT market takes off, Gartner predicts that 26 billion devices will be connected by 2020. Already, these connected devices are generating a massive volume of information that manufacturers can use.

According to management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, the manufacturing sector generates more data than any other sector in the global economy. Much of this information is created by networked industrial machines and internet-connected supply chain devices, and can be used to inform decision-making processes and help streamline a multitude of associated processes and systems.

Many large manufacturers are starting to use data drawn from connected industrial devices to optimize factory operations. However, local organizations are offshoring many manufacturing activities, so the information garnered from these sources may not play a direct role in their operation. There is an increasing number of connected devices involved in end-to-end supply chain and logistics activities that can deliver enormously valuable information.


Manufacturers should plan sufficiently to meet the growing network bandwidth requirements, data storage and processing power demands of the IoT, as well as the resources required to manage them.
The data collected from operational assets via connected devices can be highly sensitive from a competitive or customer privacy perspective, so it is essential that security measures are adequate to meet legislated guidelines and industry standards.
Datacentres need to be able to distinguish between data for internal use and data for business partners up and down the supply chain, such as retailers. Such data will often need to be handled differently in order for it to be safely shared with customers or suppliers.
Australian privacy legislation mandates the protection of customer personal information. This can impact manufacturers’ ability to improve services based on customer usage.

McKinsey & Company suggests that digital manufacturing technologies will transform every link in the manufacturing value chain, from research and development, supply chain, and factory operations to marketing, sales, and service.

As such, manufacturers are waking up to the opportunities of the IoT and, as physical assets increasingly become digitally-connected, local manufacturers need to be aware of how the connected devices and systems within their entire manufacturing value chain can help them drive productivity at every level of their business.

Logistics and supply chain activities are symbiotic, and must become more streamlined as expectations of faster product fulfilment turnaround times grow. Stock management technology is becoming part of the IoT, with interconnected devices letting organisations communicate and report on various movements taking place across the entire supply chain in real-time.

The data and connectivity provided by such connected devices within the IoT may prove invaluable. If used properly, this data can enable faster decision-making, more efficient streamlining, and greater stock management oversight from end-to-end. The challenge, however, is in the collection, storage, and manipulation of this machine data.

To make the most of the information that the IoT can deliver, manufacturing organisations must ensure their systems and data centers, or those of their supply chain management providers, are capable of handling the rapidly
increasing volumes of data being produced by connected devices.

The IoT can deliver reams of useful data that can help manufacturers improve their design, manufacturing, marketing, sales and, importantly, their supply chain. It provides a pragmatic approach for manufacturers to optimize and innovate for sustainability, resource maximization, and competitive advantage. Manufacturers that overcome the challenges of effectively managing and analyzing such volumes of information will realize these benefits and more.

iot manufacturing-boss magazineGlen Bernardino has more than 20 years’ experience in the IT industry and deep expertise in working with large enterprises to use infrastructure, software, and services to solve complex business challenges. Glen recognizes that the agenda for many government agencies and large corporations going forward will be dominated by the integration of big data analytics, cloud computing, mobile technology, the Internet of Things, and social media into the enterprise. Glen works closely with organizations as they navigate the myriad of options open to them, to understand what will best deliver clear and quantifiable value to their business.