How Manufacturers Can Expand the Business Potential of Data With IoT

Increasing customer expectations, the complexity of the global supply chain, and the stronger demand for customization are some out of the many major challenges that encourage manufacturers to come up with innovative ways to remain competitive. In an attempt to uncover new ways of enhancing manufacturing and supply chain operations and gain productivity improvements, businesses resort to digital transformation. Data is the foundation of IoT value in the manufacturing industry. Data helps boost overall equipment effectiveness, build rich models for condition monitoring, provide visibility into operations, and generate new revenue schemes through connected products. For decades now, manufacturers have used data to monitor, control, and optimize production. By the year 2020, in order to increase agility, efficiency, speed, and innovation, more than 80% of manufacturers would need to place data at the center of their processes. Let us now understand what the Internet of Things (IoT) and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) are and how IoT for business will help expand the business potential of data for the manufacturing sector.

What is IoT?

The Internet of Things is a system of interrelated computing devices which are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and can transfer data over networks without the need for human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. IoT is a concept where devices such as washing machines, cell phones, coffee makers, lamps, headphones, etc. are connected to the internet via an on and off switch. In short, IoT refers to a giant network of connected things.

What is IIOT?

Industrial Internet of Things is a method for digital transformation in manufacturing. It employs a network of sensors for collecting critical production data and uses cloud software to transform data into valuable insights about the efficiency of manufacturing operations.

In order to save time and money, it is important to think through the three main challenges or rather the ‘three Vs’ of big data that you may encounter while using IoT to expand the business potential of data.

The three Vs are:

  1. Volume- Data volumes will continue to grow as you connect more elements of the supply chain and production processes. Cloud-based systems will help reduce the complexity and cost involved in big data storage. Using a tiered storage model that uses low-cost archives for infrequently accessed data and a higher performance system for ‘warm data,’ will help deliver significant savings.

  2. Velocity- Velocity refers to the rate at which data flows into your information systems. Time-series data refers to data points that are captured and time-stamped at regular intervals. This can help capture millions of events within a short time frame. It is important to choose a system that can quickly ingest and analyze the data. This will help you act sooner on insights and lets you start small and scale easily.

  3. Variety- Initially, you may work with IoT data from one source or a small number of sources. But you will find that the variety of data can quickly grow as you follow the value chain and expand your IoT capabilities. It is thus important to standardize data as it will lead you to more reliable, actionable outcomes.

Using IoT to Expand the Business Potential of Data

IoT can be used in the following ways for the effective use of data in the manufacturing sector.

1. Facility Management

Using IoT sensors in manufacturing equipment allows for condition-based maintenance alerts. There are many machine tools designed to function within certain vibration and temperature ranges. IoT sensors will actively monitor machines and send alerts if any equipment deviates from its prescribed parameters. This will help provide a prescribed working environment for machinery, thus helping manufacturers increase operational efficiency, reduce costs, conserve energy, and eliminate machine downtime.

2. Inventory Management

IoT applications will help monitor events across a supply chain. With these systems, the inventory is traced and tracked globally, and the users are notified in case of any deviations from the plan. This enables cross-channel visibility of inventories. Managers will get information about the work in progress, the estimated arrival time of new materials, and realistic estimates of the available material. This will reduce share costs and optimize supply in the value chain.

3. Plant Safety and Security

Big data analysis, when combined with the Internet of Things, helps improve the overall safety and security of the workers in the plant. Effective monitoring ensures better safety. By monitoring the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of health and safety such as the illness rates and the number of injuries, short and long-term absences, loss during daily operations and vehicle incidents and property damage, safety, and security of the plant can be ensured. Addressing lagging indicators will also ensure proper redressal of health, safety, and environment (HSE) issues.


Internet of Things helps manufacturing enterprises maximize productivity by maintaining production uptime, eliminating waste, and reducing costs. Successful IoT adoption for data requires thoughtful orchestration through the application design and execution segments of IoT. By leveraging IoT for business in data management, manufacturers will be able to get a better understanding of the supply chain and manufacturing processes, enhance customer experience, achieve faster time to market, and improve demand forecasting.

To learn more about data science and big data, check out Global Tech Council.