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The Visible Value Blog

3 Manufacturing Challenges and (How the IoT Might Just Save the Day)

Posted by Zebra Global

December 3, 2014 at 9:26 AM



The manufacturing sector is vast and complex. From assembling cars to making electronic devices, every manufacturer is unique—they work with different materials, employ different labor forces and operate in different environments.

And yet, despite their differences, they face so many of the same challenges. Maintaining quality, reducing inventory discrepancies and managing Big Data are on the minds of every manufacturing manager.

That’s where the Internet of Things (IoT) comes into play. By pairing sensor technologies with cloud computing and the advanced, real-time data analysis offered by the IoT, manufacturers are able to gain a new level of visibility into their operations. With this Enterprise Asset Intelligence™, they can make better decisions at every step in the manufacturing process.

Challenge 1: Maintaining Product Quality
Manufacturers are tasked with producing items in mass quantities—and at a faster and faster rate. No matter what time of day a product is assembled, who’s working the assembly line or which factory it comes out of, product quality must remain consistent. IoT technologies help make that possible by providing insight into people, assets and transactions. Mobile devices allow manufacturing managers to conduct faster, more accurate quality checks. And data captured from those checks is automated, presenting a real-time view of any quality issues. Now, the manufacturing manager can react more quickly to the situation—minimizing wasted labor and materials.

Challenge 2: Reducing Inventory Discrepancies
When materials are lost, stolen or otherwise missing, the supply chain comes to a halt. And as warehouse managers scramble to make sense of the discrepancy—and task employees with recovering the lost merchandise—precious time, money and resources are wasted. But with sensor technologies and the right IoT solutions, inventory discrepancies can be minimized. By capturing and sharing the mission-critical data across the cloud, manufacturers can give their physical assets a digital voice. This helps them ensure that everything is right where it should be. And with all the data analyzed and available on mobile devices, when there is a discrepancy, identifying the source is just a click, tap or swipe away.

Challenge 3: Big Data
As mobile technologies advance, so does the volume, complexity and variety of data captured. Though this data can yield game-changing business insights, there are no extra hours in the day to make sense of it all. With the right IoT solution in place, however, manufacturers can turn this challenge into an opportunity. Now, previously isolated data sets can be aggregated and analyzed to reveal important insights. And since they’re made available on a centralized, cloud-based system, every member of the organization—whether they’re on the plant floor or in a central office—can access them. 

These are just a few of the challenges facing manufacturing organizations. From managing a global workforce to delivering superior customer service, the hurdles are varied and far-reaching. But with IoT solutions delivering Enterprise Asset Intelligence, manufacturers can overcome these challenges to improve quality, increase efficiency and positively impact their bottom line.  

Want to learn more about how the IoT is transforming manufacturing? Download the industry profile




Topics: Manufacturing, Internet of Things, Visible Value Chain, APAC, North America, Latin America, EMEA