How to Integrate the Internet of Things (IoT) into Manufacturing Best Practices
Manufacturing best practices now incorporate the Internet of Things (IoT). This may not be a familiar term to everyone, but nearly everyone uses it every day. IoT is what connects devices and objects to software and apps to track data. This can be everything from a temperature-controlled coffee mug to a security system that lets homeowners view their front door through a camera connected to a smartphone app. Using the IoT, buildings can connect to vehicles that connect to software that connect back to buildings. The networking potential is endless. Data mined correctly from the IoT also has endless possibility to improve delivery times, production management, safety, and so much more. With cloud-based ERP options, businesses have endless capability to store and sift through this IoT data to mine for best practices, safety, and other business benefits.
Sensors Monitoring Shop Floors
IoT makes so many things possible, such as the potential for connected sensors that can monitor conditions on the shop floor. Like a social network, these sensors communicate with one another, relaying information and adjusting, based on data. Plant equipment sends temperature data to the HVAC controls, which compute that the rising temperatures may affect quality output. The HVAC system then adjusts the fans to blow cool air over specific equipment and keep the temperature at an optimal level so that outputs maintain quality standards.
That’s not all: Information relayed from equipment may help managers gauge the shelf-life of components or weigh the need to take something offline for maintenance. Predictive maintenance alone, based on IoT data, may save money on costly emergency repairs and improve the longevity of equipment.
Using Data to Improve Safety
The same data relayed from equipment can also be used to improve safety. Air quality, ambient temperature, and other factors can be measured and used to judge whether workers need more frequent breaks. Machinery can be kept in better working order so it experiences fewer jams and breakdowns, preventing problems that can impact safety. Even something as simple as a floor with sensors in it can trigger warning signs to flash and warn passers-by of a wet surface and prevent them from slipping and falling.
Data derived from the IoT can certainly be used for safety training. For example, vehicles outfitted with safety sensors connected to the IoT might monitor driving habits so drivers who exhibit best practices in safety can be rewarded and those who take risks can receive remedial training. The safer the workplace, the better.
Open Access to Data
The “democratization” of data simply means allowing full access to data by everyone involved in the manufacturing process. This may sound peculiar; why should a warehouse foreman look at marketing data or a sales manager care about inventory status?
Today, all jobs are interconnected. Seamlessly taking orders, producing goods, and shipping them in a timely fashion requires teamwork throughout the company. The IoT can provide data from every point in a manufacturing company to a centralized system such as an ERP system that produces vital data for everyone. Access to such data can encourage teamwork, collaboration, and improvements that benefit everyone but, most importantly, benefit customers and the business. Adopting this last manufacturing best practice may require a change in thinking, but it can enhance your business a great deal.
Mindover Software is well-versed in helping companies grow in the fast-paced world of technology, from cloud-based ERPs to reporting, to software and support. If you’re ready to move to a cloud-based ERP such as Acumatica or Sage and implement manufacturing best practices by harnessing the power of your company’s IoT data, we’re here to help you find the best solutions for your needs. Contact us today and let us get you completely connected.