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In an interview with CIO Applications, Dr. Mohamed (Mo) Abuali, CEO of IoTco – The Internet of Things Company, shares valuable insights on how the company supports manufacturers in their journey toward zero downtime and zero defects.
Challenges Impeding Industry 4.0
As an organization hailed from the automotive industry, IoTco is cognizant of how the manufacturing industry’s challenges have evolved over the past 20 years. Today, the key challenges that weigh down the manufacturing industry exist in all three avenues of the business — people, process, and technology. With baby boomers retiring and digital natives entering the shop floors, manufacturers should balance the pole between knowledge sharing and change management to enhance the new normal of human-machine interfacing. They need to ensure that their workforce handling the advanced IIoT, AI, and predictive and prescriptive analytics tools are appropriately trained.
Think big, start small, and scale fast is the principle that fuels the IoTco engine
Connecting different systems and capturing their data poses a challenge on the technology front. The legacy systems in place and the new AI-operated tools have to be integrated on both OT and IT fronts. Moving from an analog to an automated system requires proper planning and a governance structure to monitor and maintain the process. A combination of ROI and shop-floor to top-floor mindset is crucial to facilitating a seamless transition from a traditional manufacturing facility into an AI-driven smart factory. This is where our connectivity team can help. We also have solutions that can do integrations at a reduced cost.
IoTco carries out industry 4.0 assessments to understand clients’ challenges on people, process and technology fronts. The responses are instrumental in instilling countermeasures to mitigate all these challenges. IoTco helps clients create industry 4.0 blueprints with defined short- and long-term strategies for maximizing ROI.
A “3D Approach” to set up Digital Transformation Foundations
IoTco has a systematic methodology to help manufacturers kick-start their digital transformation journey. It comprises discovery, design, and delivery (3D) as the pillars of the process.
In the discovery phase, our team conducts a comprehensive industry 4.0 assessment to uncover all potential gaps and areas of improvement. We start with a clear understanding of clients’ existing technologies and processes, business cases, and their impacts on ROI. Then, IIoT hardware, sensors, and connectivity solutions are selected based on the insights from the assessment.
Design is the next phase, where we provide customized technical workshops to help the workforce adapt to advanced tools. The training programs are conducted in a corporate setting as well as a selected factory. When training and assessment go hand in hand, it becomes a recipe for a successful digital transformation.
Since IIoT is a broad area that deals with large-scale AI initiatives and big-ticket investment state-of-the-art machines, taking a ‘proof of value’ route for solution delivery is crucial to mitigate the possibilities of unwanted spending. We always run a pilot version for weeks or even months to gain a comprehensive understanding of the best practices specific to manufacturing facilities.
With the insights gleaned from the pilot version, our team at IoTco generates solution templates for scaling across additional assets and plants. This approach facilitates ease of implementation and faster scalability. IoTco then establishes a center of excellence (COE) in collaboration with clients to address all future training requirements, ultimately ensuring scalability.
“Think big, start small, and scale fast” is the principle that fuels the IoTco engine.
Instilling metrics is crucial for measuring performance and the different stages of digital maturity. Industry 4.0, after all, alludes to a significant increase in interoperability and convergence between OT and IT. In addition, from ERPs to manufacturing execution systems (MES), several novel technologies are beginning to enter manufacturing facilities. These require high maintenance and quality control processes. IoTco, to that end, sets up predictive analytics and data mining tools to gain more insight for informed decision-making, which translates into a highly optimized and agile manufacturing operation. The approach is instrumental in assessing machine health and even process health without leaving elbow room for maintenance and quality concerns.
The solid foundation on lean manufacturing, in addition to an eye on ROI and business case, supported by best-in-class tools, enables us to deliver scalable solutions that unlock the true potential of digital transformation for our clients.
Customer Success Stories that Substantiate the Value Proposition of IoTco
IoTco partners with leading companies to offer manufacturers IIoT platforms/applications, system integrations and automation solutions. Our strategies and predictive analytics tools have helped clients improve machine maintenance and product quality.
For instance, one of the leading tier-one automotive suppliers that used our predictive maintenance recommendations was able to improve and optimize spare part usage. They also reduced inefficiencies in maintenance and labor scheduling processes. As this client steered away from a reactive to proactive and predictive maintenance approach, they were able to bring down the spare inventory requirements by over 20 percent.
Similarly, a manufacturer that used a lot of casting and molding machines lowered their scrap by five percent by leveraging IoTco’s AI and predictive quality tools. As a result, the client achieved a significant ROI of over quarter-milliondollar savings per year. These instances affirm the capability of IoTco to help clients maximize their investments in IIoT. Many of our clients have been annually awarded the A.I. Analytics Leadership Award by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) for maintenance and quality improvement.
Differentiators that Set IoTco a Cut above the Rest
The team at IoTco has an average of 25 years of manufacturing experience. This strong domain knowledge is a crucial differentiator for us when offering expert advisory services pertaining to industry 4.0 and IIoT across multiple verticals, including automotive, aerospace and defense, energy, industrial machinery, and semiconductor industries. We also conduct Digital Transformation Assessments to create a three to five years Industry 4.0 Roadmap, essentially setting up manufacturers for success in their digital transformation journey.
Our intuitive knowledge of the manufacturing world, ROI mindset, scalable solutions and faster implementations collectively allow us to empower manufacturers to achieve zero downtime and zero defects.