Why Today’s Manufacturers Must Invest in Smart Manufacturing

Smart manufacturing is a growing trend that shows no signs of stopping. Across industries, digital technologies and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions are transforming the shop floor from traditional linear operations to interconnected systems that communicate, adapt, collect, exchange and analyze data. These solutions are helping organizations boost production, improve efficiency and increase cost-savings, while simultaneously reducing unplanned downtime, part setup time, required system maintenance, and more.

Every day, more and more companies are making the decision to invest in smart manufacturing. Why? Because smart manufacturing saves time, makes your team’s job easier, and it allows you to be smarter with the resources at your disposal.
As you can imagine, smart manufacturing is a pretty big topic. This article will focus on why investing in smart manufacturing is important for manufacturers of any size.
Let’s start with why this type of system is so valuable to manufacturers today. Why should they give up their outdated systems that are costing them time, resources, and most importantly money? Read on!
First, let’s talk about the basics.

What is smart manufacturing anyway? Why is it important?

Smart factory systems (or smart manufacturing) are digital solutions that help manufacturers become more efficient by optimizing processes through data collection and analysis.
Why is this important? Because each manufacturer has different goals based on its size, resources, customer base, products, etc. A system like Freedom’s measures key performance indicators (KPIs) for your company to track its success (or lack thereof). If you don’t know where you’re starting from or how far along you’ve come in your journey, you won’t know if your goal was achieved!
The good news is that more than just large companies with huge budgets can take advantage of this modern technology. Those of you who are smaller, leaner companies can still reap the benefits. You may start off with a small investment and gradually work your way up to a more robust solution as you become more certain that it’s working for you.
For larger manufacturers – especially those in logistics – smart manufacturing is even more valuable because they have an increased amount of resources (in the form of products, equipment, employees) at their disposal.
Why invest in something that isn’t going to help your bottom line? Why waste time on repetitive tasks that could be managed by a computer system? Why run unnecessary risks when all of this information exists right now? It just makes sense. As long as you’re willing to adapt and embrace change, you’ll be okay; and so will your bottom line.
Have you ever felt like it takes forever to find out where your company stands? Why can’t you just see how many products are on the manufacturing floor at any given time, or who is working there, or where they are located? Why do you have to wait for some guy to come out of a building with stacks of paper that he then hands off to another person who then enters the data into a computer that then emails them to someone else? Why can’t all of this happen in real-time without human error getting in the way? Why does it take so long?
There are several reasons why things don’t move as quickly as they could. The old ways of doing things are familiar but inefficient. Why keep subjecting yourself to time-consuming manual tasks when you could automate them with a smart manufacturing system? Why spend money on people who enter data when computers can do the same work in less time? Why wait for status updates or reports when they can come at the push of a button? Why not create an automated system that learns what your company needs and creates reports accordingly?

How Does Smart Manufacturing Work?

Let’s take a closer look at how it works, since most people will need some convincing before they’re willing to invest in something new.
Smart manufacturing systems are comprised of three key components: sensors, software, and dashboards. We’ll talk about each one in detail so you understand why these systems are so valuable.

Sensors

First, let’s talk about sensors. Sensors collect information from your factory floor and report it back to the central system as soon as they’re read. Why are sensors important? Because you won’t have to manually enter data anymore! Why take a chance on human error when sensors can do all of the work for you? Why would you want people running around the plant with clipboards in their hands if it can all be done by a computerized system? Think about how many potential errors there could be – from reading the numbers wrong to entering them incorrectly – that would get in the way of collecting accurate data. Worst of all, why wait hours for somebody else to go into a facility and enter the data?! With a smart manufacturing system, you get real-time data in a fraction of the time.
This all has to do with how sensors work. Why does it take so long for this information to reach the manufacturer? Why isn’t there a better option for getting this information ASAP? Why can’t they be located directly on equipment and/or personnel? Why must humans go from place to place throughout the facility to manually read sensors and then report back what they see? Wouldn’t it make sense if every piece of equipment had a sensor connected directly to it that reported straight back to a computer or cloud-based IoT platform without human intervention, errors, delays, etc.? Again, why should businesses have to settle for any less than instant updates?! Once you have people collecting data, there is a delay. Why not make this process automated instead? Why not create an IoT platform that collects data automatically in real-time?

Software

Now let’s talk about software. The software component of smart manufacturing ensures all of these sensors are connected together to the central computer system. Why is this important? Because your company will be able to get faster status updates! Why take chances when you can have instant access to whatever sensor information you need, whenever you need it?! Why wait for somebody else to type in the numbers manually or print out reports if they can come straight to you through an online interface or app on your phone?!
Of course, unless the manufacturer invests in the right software, none of this will work anyway. Why would customers bother with an IoT platform without the ability to access what they need, when they need it? Why settle for a system that isn’t fully-automated and reliable? Why not invest in software that does all the tedious work for you while freeing up your time and resources? If customers want to simply input their own data into a system that isn’t connected to a cloud or an IoT platform, it defeats the whole purpose of what the smart manufacturing system is all about – getting instant updates and accurate status reports! Why would you create a system with so many limitations? Why not invest in software that allows businesses to move forward instead of moving backward?
Why does information need to be uploaded manually anyway? Why aren’t there more sensors on equipment that can automatically send data back to the central computer/app/platform without human intervention?! Why can’t today’s systems be more automated than ever before?! Why do customers have to wait for somebody else to collect information first before they can access it? Why must these old, outdated methods still persist when all manufacturers want are quicker ways to collect data and get the real-time information they need?

Dashboards

Of course, without an IoT dashboard that links these sensors together to a central computer system, all of this will be a waste of time. Why take outdated methods when smart manufacturing offers a better way? Smart manufacturing dashboards can help automate your process while offering customers greater functionality and access to information in real-time.  Smart manufacturing dashboards can also collect and receive data from your IOT platforms and better inform your teams.  And lastly, dashbaords can create a truly automated system that benefits manufacturers and their employees alike.

Smart Manufacturing Trends

Smart manufacturing is a growing trend that shows no signs of stopping. Across industries, digital technologies and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions are transforming the shop floor from traditional linear operations to interconnected systems that communicate, adapt, collect, exchange and analyze data. These solutions are helping organizations boost production, improve efficiency and increase cost-savings, while simultaneously reducing unplanned downtime, part setup time, required system maintenance, and more.
While investing in and implementing new technologies may seem daunting, failing to keep up with today’s advancing technological landscape puts an organization at high risk. Falling behind jeopardizes the customer base, part, and overall quality, operational agility, efficiency across the value stream, and the bottom line.
The bottom line is, smart manufacturing is here to stay. Customers are now demanding more automation , instant access to information, real-time updates, fewer errors, less human intervention and much more! Businesses can’t afford to lag behind today. Why should manufacturers have to keep up with the trends? If they do not invest in smart manufacturing now.

Adopt the Right Solution for Your Business & Budget

While the IIoT and smart manufacturing are driving change across manufacturing industries, it is vital that organizations invest in the right solutions that can drive results to the bottom line.
Smart Manufacturing Trends & Stats highlights some of the most common questions facing today’s manufacturers as they consider the adoption of smart manufacturing solutions, as well as what can be achieved with the right solutions.


FREEDOM™ is a leading smart manufacturing production monitoring software solution that helps companies:

  • Identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies,
  • Streamline processes,
  • Improve operational efficiency and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE),

Simple to install and easy to maintain, FREEDOM™ provides real-time configurable reports on machine performance, production activity, quality metrics, and availability. These valuable insights inform managers of where production losses are occurring and why—and enable quick, informed reconciliation of issues.
FREEDOM™ delivers an outstanding efficiency increase greater than 20% in just the first month!
Do you need to achieve a similar productivity increase? Call us at 513-719-1600 to or visit our contact page learn more about how our smart manufacturing software can help achieve your productivity goals.

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