The Opportunity for OEMs in the Industrial IoT

December 19, 2016

Manufacturers everywhere are trying to get more value out of their operations, while facing machine uptime problems and a shortage of experienced staff. This provides a clear opportunity for OEMs who, with the assistance of an IoT vendor, can offer a solution that improves reliability while creating a data flow that allows for continuous improvement. Those OEMs who find the right IoT partner will survive and thrive.

As the market matures, manufacturing customers will get increasingly demanding, while not necessarily being more IoT savvy themselves. Customers will be looking for OEMs that can provide knowledge, while, at the same time, accepting more of the risk.

The customers of OEMs will get more demanding about the availability and uptime of the products OEMs provide, while not wanting to see OEM field service trucks in their parking lots. Deployment and provisioning will have to be as close to zero touch as possible. OEMs will look to their vendors to enable continuous monitoring of the equipment they’ve installed, while providing control of the entire repair and maintenance supply chain in terms of parts and tools.

Show customers how they will have fewer field service truck rolls, and how those visits will anticipate equipment failure and prevent it quickly and reliably.

Dealing with Fears and Apprehensions

Like anyone else, OEMs are worried that the IoT is overhyped, that it won’t provide them with the value promised. IoT proponents encourage manufacturers to shift from making products to producing business outcomes. Along with opportunity, this also shifts risks to the OEM. Anyone assisting an OEM in adding value through IoT has to demonstrate how that risk can be controlled, and turned into a source of profit.

And risk is controlled through information. Show how the IoT provides a clear view of equipment performance, allows for remote upgrades, enables predictive maintenance, manages parts inventory, and provides insight for the best future equipment upgrades.

Never Too Soon to Collect Data

By whatever means they can do it, OEMs should gather information about usage, failure rates, efficiency, energy usage–and, as far as they possibly can, extend their information chain out through the manufacturers they serve to the end users. Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), a metric combining measured downtime, less-than-specified speed, and how much output was scrapped or inadequate over the course of a project, will give them a constant indication of what needs to be improved.

OEMs might not realize the true value of their data collection efforts for years. Future changes could retrospectively make some previously unimportant class of data suddenly valuable.

There are versatile and easily implemented technologies and protocols that will enable OEMs to start collecting data and gain the experience necessary to be a credible competitor in an increasingly difficult environment.

To read more about the IoT trends to watch, download Driving The IoT Journey: 10 Trends To Watch from ABI Research.

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