Piloting IoT Projects in Manufacturing: Start Small

When I communicate with large-scale manufacturing organizations looking to implement Industrial IoT projects, I tell them no matter how big they are — it is important to start small. Managers are excited to lead new and disruptive technology — as they should be. But from experience I know that keeping the process simple is the key to long-term success. I always recommend first choosing a plant to pilot the IoT project and then a use case. Many managers are so excited about the possibilities for improvement that they want to implement IoT projects over their entire business; however, the pilot is an opportunity to learn and develop a scalable IoT project. Keeping it simple can make all the difference, and here are some additional ideas on how to do that.

Choose one process to improve. The process could be as simple as one manufacturing machine or one assembly line. Our customers have all sorts of pilots. Some are interested in connecting wireless sensors to our LoopEdge platform for edge computing and remote cloud visualization. Some are focused on collecting data from a controller in a machine. Others may have a few different processes at the same time. Either way, the goal is to start small to create a sustainable and scalable model that will work across multiple plants and multiple facilities.

Exercise Patience. There is always a learning curve with new technologies. Engineers with an Operational Technology background may need some time with the transformation to a more digital ecosystem. However, the beauty of the Litmus Automation technology is that customers can get the benefits of digital technology with no coding required. With a little patience a client can get up and running in no time.

Set Goals. Every organization should meet with their vendor to set goals. It sounds simple but it is surprising how many organizations jump into a digital transformation because it sounds like the right thing to do without determining what it is they want to achieve. I always recommend to my clients that we sit down and determine some KPIs and then we can review those after the pilot. With goals the process will be a lot easier and they will be extremely helpful as we scale the pilot across the facility and eventually across multiple facilities.

At the end of the day, the benefits of implementing a new technology will far outweigh the growing pains. Keep at it, stay positive, and make sure to use your vendor as a resource. If you are interested in learning more about Litmus Automation’s Industrial IoT technology, please connect with me at [email protected].

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