Smart factories can revolutionize manufacturing. They can help manufacturers increase workplace safety and efficiency, decrease costs and errors, and optimize every step of the supply chain. However, there are unique challenges to the practical, widespread implementation of smart factories.
Transitioning physical locations and the workforce to the Internet of Things (IoT) requires attention to detail. With the right approach, business leaders can streamline this transition. Plus, they can overcome obstacles to creating and maintaining smart factories. Most importantly, they can get the best results from their smart factories now and in the future.
Smart Factory Challenges
Establishing a smart factory may seem simple at first glance. Yet, many problems can crop up that hamper a business’ ability to create and manage a smart factory. These include:
1. Disjointed Approach
Multiple business departments must communicate and collaborate with one another. They must work together to determine proper frameworks and protocols for managing smart factory technologies. Failure to do so can result in silos that extend across the factory. These silos can make it tough for a business to optimize its factory’s productivity and efficiency.
2. Lack of Equipment Monitoring
A smart factory runs on a wide range of IoT devices. In addition, the factory requires equipment monitoring systems to ensure all devices consistently perform at peak levels. Without the ability to monitor equipment performance in real-time, a business risks operational issues. If a piece of equipment stops working, the business can suffer operational delays. In this instance, the company may struggle to keep pace with customer requests. The business can also experience revenue losses and brand reputation damage.
3. Poor Security
Cybercriminals target smart devices, including those commonly used in smart factories. Meanwhile, a business must teach its workers how to secure data stored both on-premises and in the cloud. If workers lack adequate security training, they risk exposing a smart factory or any devices connected to it.
Tips to Address Smart Factory Challenges
You do not want to leave anything to chance with smart factory development and implementation. Plan for all aspects of a connected factory so business leaders can identify and address smart factory obstacles before they cause long-lasting problems. There are several things that business leaders can do to resolve smart factory obstacles in their early stages such as:
1. Make a Plan
Create a plan for implementing IoT technologies into your factory. Establish business objectives and consider why you want a smart factory. Next, determine the steps to accomplish your objectives. Also, determine which smart technologies you can use to optimize your factory operations.
Along with developing a plan, create implementation goals and milestones for your smart factory. Review your operating budget and determine how much time and money you’ll need to accomplish your goals. Track your progress as you work toward achieving these goals. If you fall behind, conduct an analysis of your smart factory operations to find out why. From here, you can mitigate factory obstacles.
2. Generate Smart Factory Insights
Prioritize insight-driven manufacturing. Use IoT technologies to capture data across your smart factory operations. The technologies allow you to generate real-time smart factory insights. Over time, you can use these insights to understand performance issues. You can produce insights to help you stay ahead of problems, too.
Craft reports based on smart factory insights. Business leaders can review these reports and use them to brainstorm ways to enhance their manufacturing operations. They may find additional IoT technologies are needed for predictive smart factory maintenance. In these instances, a company can upgrade its existing technologies or invest in new ones.
3. Educate Workers
Teach workers about digital transformation and its importance to your business. You can then introduce IoT technologies your workers can use in a smart factory. Explain how these technologies work and their benefits. This enables workers to understand the value they provide. You can empower workers with the insights they need to guard against factory obstacles as well.
Develop a training program to educate workers of all skill and experience levels about smart factory operations. The program can emphasize IoT technology use and maintenance across a factory. It enables workers to become key contributors to a factory’s success. Keep a smart factory training program up to date. Conduct surveys and questionnaires to learn how workers manage smart factory obstacles. This allows you to collect employee insights on manufacturing operations. You can use these insights to ensure your business is well-equipped to mitigate issues.
The Next Wave of Manufacturing
Smart factories represent the next wave of manufacturing, and your business needs to plan accordingly. A smart factory can help you simplify and accelerate your manufacturing operations. You can use your smart factory to drive revenue growth and increase productivity and efficiency.
Develop a smart factory implementation plan that aligns with your business’s expectations. You can then use IoT technologies to transform your manufacturing operations. Manage these technologies and keep an eye out for potential issues with them. With a proactive approach to managing your smart factory, you can keep your manufacturing operations performing efficiently.