Monday, August 3, 2015

The Industrial Internet of Things: data must be actionable

In a recent Automation World article titled “Constructive Disruption: A Vision of Smart Manufacturing,” Jim Wetzel, Chair of the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC) and General Mills’ Director of Global Reliability, shared his definition of smart manufacturing:

“‘For us, it is trending [data] in the cloud for traceability, transparency, and visualization,’ says Wetzel. ‘It is networking the supply chain, and shortening the time to get actionable information on the plant floor.’”

This school of thought – that smart manufacturing, at its core, is about leveraging actionable intelligence – is gaining broader adoption across the industry. Simply using sensors and software to collect massive amounts of data is NOT smart manufacturing. Collecting data, putting it into context and having agile systems in place that can respond in real time to make intelligent decisions IS smart manufacturing.

Preparing for the “Constructive Disruption” that is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), by implementing systems that can make process data actionable is a must for today’s manufacturers. Leaders in the manufacturing industry, like Jim Wetzel and those associated with the SMLC, recognize that the ROI of smart manufacturing can be measured by improvements in time to market, decreases in waste, increased accuracy and efficiency of resource allocation, and better labor management.

“‘The measure of success,’ Wetzel says, ‘is having the ability to deliver value and evolve with changing business using a technology infrastructure that is supportable, quick, and delivers information that can be trusted.’”

Smart manufacturing allows us to automate continuous improvement initiatives by providing a framework for optimizing operations.