The manufacturing industry will be one of the industries that will be most heavily affected by the internet of things. Manufacturers across all areas including automotive and electronics have already invested in embedded devices to monitor equipment and assets. As the cost of hardware falls, the are stepping up their investment in IoT devices and are already reaping the benefits.


A huge benefit with an IoT solution is its ability to connect assets, processes, systems, and people. Realizing that automating the processes, engaging employees and managing data can deliver better outputs, the manufacturing industry has started embracing digital transformation technology.

The manufacturing industry is undergoing many changes and those specializing in traditional manufacturing are finding it difficult to keep up. Perhaps the biggest change is how traditional manufacturing has come under pressure to manage vast amounts of data captured from different sources. Here are some of the ways the Internet of Things (IoT) can help

Simplifies manufacturing operational processes

Manufacturing involves lots of tiresome human work and processes. Each process needs to be monitored and managing multiple processes in a day-to-day process is backbreaking. Process delays, inefficient process management or human errors can crush productivity, resulting in dismal sales.

With IoT-enabled sensors, managing different processes becomes seamless. Pulling analytics data, which is highly accurate for weighing the efficiency of the processes, becomes effortless. The insights gained can be utilized in improving the process further for achieving better results.

Streamlines supply chain process

Connecting the production line to suppliers makes the overall process cycles complex and challenging, as all stakeholders have to understand interdependencies and function accordingly. It leads to production inefficiency.

With an IoT system in place, the supply chain process can be made simple and seamless with location tracking, remote inventory monitoring and automatic reporting of materials consumed.

Helps in managing asset and equipment failure

IoT sensors are powered with self-diagnostic abilities, which enables the tool to identify the asset problems or mishaps and communicate the same to avoid further damage or device downtime. So, in short, it plays a meaty role in preventing the problem even before the issue starts which in turn saves time and money.

IoT-implemented devices in manufacturing premises help with predictive analysis to perform vital notifications to decision makers before an unplanned event happens. By this way, manufacturers can save on equipment costs and failure.

Ensures protection and employee safety

Employees working in the heat intense environments of manufacturing companies often face hazardous conditions and at times this can even be threatening. An IoT-enabled environment will help monitor these places constantly to ensure the employees contact the respective departments instantly and get the necessary first aid or treatment on time.

Also, detecting abnormal environment changes due to heat can be determined and fixed on-time before the condition worsens.

Benefits of IoT in manufacturing

In the future, the manufacturers must deal with more and more data and complex process cycles. Adopting to IoT technology will enable the manufacturers to elevate the performance, productivity, and efficiency to the next level.

Early-movers in manufacturing say IoT is increasing insight into customer preferences and behaviours.
A better measure of risks

66 percent of early-movers use IoT to measure risks, protect company assets and improve staff safety.

Improved reliability

60 percent of early-movers are improving the reliability or performance of products and services with IoT.

Competitive advantage

66 percent of early adopters say IOT is now critical to competitive advantage



In few other industries, there are so many opportunities to leverage the Internet of Things in connecting physical and digital, making various assets, such as machines, other production assets and the various object in a non-production sense, as well as a variety of product and manufacturing process parameters part of a vast information network. This is an important element as with manufacturing we typically tend to think about goods and products but the bigger opportunity for manufacturers lies in cyber-physical systems, a service economy model and the information opportunity.

Manufacturing operations

First comes manufacturing operations, as mentioned also the largest manufacturing IoT use case. In other words: operations of manufacturing facilities, involving several assets and operational personnel.

Manufacturing operations include the several elements which are typical in Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM), such as asset management, intelligent manufacturing, performance optimization and monitoring, planning, human machine interaction, end-to-end operational visibility and these cyber-physical systems as we know them from Industry 4.0. In fact, cyber-physical systems and the Internet of Things are twins in Industry 4.0.

IoT spending in this vast use case (or even set of use cases) is good for over 57 percent of all IoT manufacturing investments.

Production asset management and maintenance

This is the second largest IoT use case in manufacturing and in reality also consists of a range of potential applications.

It includes production asset monitoring and tracking, from location to the monitoring of parameters in several areas such as quality, performance, potential damage or breakdowns, bottlenecks, the list goes on. On top of performance and optimization, there is of course also the dimension of maintenance (as a result and/or in a predictive way).

It’s clear that asset management and maintenance in a manufacturing industry setting also go beyond pure production assets.

Field service

US manufacturers deploy IoT tech in, respectively, the manufacturing plant, warehouse, extended supply chain and customer (site). PwC – see infographic below

According to the mentioned IDC report, this is the third most important IoT use case in manufacturing.

Here we leave the factory or manufacturing facility and go directly to an important area where manufacturers are service providers. From product-related services to business-related services: the (field) service organizations of manufacturers are important drivers of growth and, obviously, of margin. It’s clear that information in the hyper-connected and hyper-aware digitized and IoT-enabled manufacturing ecosystem, along with the tools to plan, schedule and pro-actively service, are important differentiators.

In an updated forecast on IoT spending in June 2017, IDC predicts that manufacturing will reach $183 billion in 2017 from an IoT spending perspective. Production asset management spending would reach 45 billion.

Other manufacturing IoT use cases

Although the 3 mentioned areas account for the large majority of spending, there are several other manufacturing IoT use cases on levels of processes, assets and, let’s not forget, people.

Safety, security, worker protection (and productivity) and the many links between manufacturing in the strictest sense with connected services/operations/industries such as transport, supplier management and so forth all contribute to the vast IoT-related  manufacturing solutions.

Vehicle and asset tracking, connected factory applications, staff safety applications, health monitoring (real-time), smart ventilation and air quality management, smart environmental measurement, access control (security), smart measurement of presence/levels of liquids, gases, radiation and dangerous materials (depending on the type of operation), asset protection, facility management, risk measurement, the list is long.

Last but not least there are the several related processes inside and outside the manufacturing facility. Production assets are one thing, activities such as preparing for shipment, packaging and quality control of manufactured goods another.


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