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Wednesday, 6 June 2018

The Ways in Which the IoT Is Changing Manufacturing

02:51:00 0
The Ways in Which the IoT Is Changing Manufacturing

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the manufacturing industry, and fast. Some experts predict that by 2020, nearly all major factories will employ IoT solutions to some extent.

Manufacturers have embraced the IoT wholeheartedly because it delivers clear benefits. With the help of a creative digital agency, these producers are able to integrate IoT solutions into their production process.  Specifically, IoT devices allow manufacturers to monitor and track an item through every single stage of the process. This makes it easier to identify and address inefficiencies.

This boost in productivity will have a major impact on the way in which manufacturers do business. The following are just a few of the biggest changes we can expect in the near future.

Shifting Employee Priorities

IoT devices are able to share data with one another over a network. This means they’re capable of taking over many of the tasks that used to require human participation.

For instance, prior to the development of IoT solutions, manufacturers often had to give an employee the job of gathering data about the factory equipment’s performance. The employee (or employees) would review this data to determine if the equipment was performing reliably.

This type of role will soon be less necessary, as IoT devices can perform this task 24/7. Thus, manufacturers are likely to encourage employees to focus on more productive work. Again, this will make for a significant boost in productivity.

Case Studies

None of these claims are speculator. Major companies are already leveraging the IoT to improve their manufacturing processes.

Harley-Davidson is one example. In recent years, the popular motorcycle brand has struggled to adjust as its core customer base grows older. To keep up with the competition, it was necessary to improve efficiency in certain key areas.

Harley-Davidson turned to the IoT to achieve this goal. While coordinating with IT specialists, the company developed an IoT-enabled manufacturing plant that reduced a 21-day production schedule to a mere six hours. Estimates indicate doing so also reduced operating costs by about $200 million.

Harley-Davidson isn’t the only major company using IoT solutions in this capacity. General Electric has been experimenting with the IoT in one of its New York battery plants.

GE relies on IoT devices to monitor various factory conditions. Its primary goals are to address equipment performance issues, anticipate breakdowns earlier, and generally get a stronger understanding of what the company can do to optimize its manufacturing processes.

Even when a company is slow to implement IoT solutions, individual employees may recognize the benefits. That’s what happened at one Hershey’s plant. An employee believed that creating an IoT network designed to monitor the steps involved in manufacturing Twizzlers could boost efficiency. They were right; the network generated a savings of “$500,000 for every 1 percent of improved efficiency.”

What You Need to Know About IoT Development

Remember, according to experts, the examples listed here just represent the beginnings of a mini-revolution in the manufacturing industry. As the benefits of IoT solutions become even more evident, it makes sense that more companies will embrace them.

It’s worth noting that IoT programmers are also continuing to develop new tools to improve upon these already valuable solutions. Devices ranging from IoT-connected 3D printers to sophisticated inventory calculators will allow companies to manufacture goods more efficiently than ever.

Regardless of what industry you work in, it’s clear all factories can benefit from these tools. Start investigating how you can take advantage of them now.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

9 Questions to Ask Before Hiring IT Service Provider

03:48:00 0
9 Questions to Ask Before Hiring IT Service Provider
Are you considering cutting costs and increasing efficiency by hiring managed IT support services? If so, ask your prospective IT provider these questions before you sign a contract.

General Questions

1. Have you been in business longer than five years? Since 50% of small businesses fail within the first five years, asking this question can help assure that you are getting a stable, quality partner who can stick with you for the long term.

2. How many managed IT support service clients do you have? This question lets you know if the company is a trusted partner for other organizations in your community. It can also lead to a discussion of references, customer satisfaction, and evaluation systems.

3. Do you answer your own phones? The answer here should be Yes! You deserve a company that will actually provide quality, timely support once you’ve signed their contract. If your support provider answers their own phones, ask about the people who staff the phones. Are they certified? How are they trained? How seasoned are they?

4. Do you only provide complete IT services, or do you also offer individual components such as monitoring, remote-only service, hybrid services, or a limited-response contract? Assess your company’s needs and determine your most cost-effective strategy before contacting a provider.

5. Are you local, quick, and available 24/7/365? Some problems need a technician to come on site. If you are trying to work with a service provider who is miles away, that could limit your options or lengthen your downtime.

6. What is your experience with each of our software packages? Nearly any managed support IT service can handle standard software, such as MS Office. If your company uses specialized programs, however, you’ll want to make sure your provider can address any unique issues quickly and correctly.

7. What is your billing model? Some IT service providers charge a fixed fee for support, and others bill their clients an hourly fee. A fixed fee offers you a much better deal since the provider is motivated to solve the problem more quickly and efficiently.

8. Do you offer a one-size-fits-all-solution? This approach may be cheaper, but it certainly isn’t better for you as the client. You deserve a managed support IT service tailored to your company’s unique needs, opportunities, and culture. An individualized strategy also means your contracted services can be scaled when necessary.

9. What is your change management process? When hiring a managed support IT service, you’re bringing on a partner who could stay with you for years—through roll-outs of new software, multiple upgrades, and many hardware replacements. You want to be certain the company you choose has a clear, documented, and well-communicated system for managing changes before they occur.

Hiring a managed support IT service is a big step, but it’s necessary for your business’ security while you grow. By asking these nine questions, you can rest assured you’re on your way to a productive partnership.