Asset management has a significant influence on the bottom line, yet it can be difficult to pinpoint its true value. For growing organizations, asset management must be as lean and efficient as possible to keep costs in check and to get the most out of asset investments.
Leveraging the Internet of things (IoT) and the industrial Internet of things (IIoT) is one way to get more value from your assets. But keep in mind that IOT and IIOT aren't the right choices for every company.
What is the Internet of things (IoT)?
You’ve probably heard about Industry 4.0—also known as the fourth industrial revolution. At the heart of this revolution is IoT.
IoT technology allows machines to communicate directly with each other, without human involvement. According to Statista, IOT technology worldwide represented a market of about $749 billion in 2020.
The path to IoT and Industry 4.0 began more than three decades ago.
1700s: The steam engine replaced much of the work done by people and animals. This revolution introduced machines and the rise of factories.
1800s: Mass production was the norm. Humans and machines worked side-by-side. Factories embraced electric power, internal-combustion, and assembly-line efficiency.
1900s: People and corporations adopted computers and robots. Machines followed instructions, and the landscape shifted from analog to digital.
Today: Machines are communicating and following the instructions created by other machines. Sensors and wireless connection devices enable machines to send and receive data, and then they go a step further to react to the data inputs, almost as if the machines were thinking for themselves.
What is the industrial Internet of things (IIoT)?
A subset of IoT, IIoT focuses on non-consumer IoT devices intended for industrial applications.
The three foundational blocks of a successful IoT and IIoT implementation are:
Instruments and sensors. These small devices detect physical conditions, such as heat and pressure, and report measurements that other machines and humans can interpret.
Connectivity. Technologies like cellular, satellite, WiFi, and Bluetooth allow sensors to communicate large amounts of information using little energy. It remains a balancing act of range, bandwidth, and power consumption.
Cloud-based digital tools. Cloud computing is powerful and scalable, helping it drive IoT into the future. Accessible and secure, the cloud is the ideal place to store, analyze, and interpret the massive data IoT devices produce.
How industries are benefiting from IoT
Many industrial organizations are enamored with IoT and IIoT and spend considerable resources to make the concepts work. However, only those with a solid strategy in place before they adopt the new technology will succeed.
“If you try and use sensors everywhere, you will get nowhere because it’s too expensive and it’s too imprecise. Rolls-Royce picks the places where its IoT solutions can make data visible, and which will create significant operational benefits. That, for me, is the key to a successful IoT deployment,” said the director of theRolls Royce Data Lab.
Industry 4.0 is full of potential. Here’s how some industries are using IoT to gain an advantage.
On the shop floor, sensors cue just-in-time maintenance tasks, based on condition, to ensure equipment is productive while also avoiding too-soon preventive maintenance that might incur added cost and downtime. Equipment condition data can allow you to move toward predictive maintenance strategies.
Fleet and transportation
Fleet sensors monitor vehicle data, such as temperature in the cargo space, location, and time spent in traffic. Meanwhile, warehouse sensors can reveal the precise whereabouts of cargo for faster loading.
Today, IoT devices are increasing profits for agribusiness. Digital soil monitoring, for example, helps farmers improve crop growth. Drones are reporting on land conditions, and microchip identification is tracking individual livestock to help limit disease spread.
Despite IoT’s benefits, the big-picture strategy is still a challenge for some organizations. The first hurdle is usually cost. While sensor prices are likely moderate, many growing companies are waiting for a better return-on-investment proposition before considering the leap to IOT.
Some of the other challenges for IoT and IIoT adoption include:
Difficulty implementing an IOT strategy
Inadequate infrastructure or connectivity
Concerns about security
Cost of subsequent upgrades
As anIoT director at Dell puts it, “It is complex to connect things that have not been connected before and to do it in a way that is secure, at scale, and can keep up with the pace on the manufacturing floor.”
But the good news is, taking on IoT advancement isn’t an all-or-nothing choice.
Growing businesses are counting on enterprise asset management (EAM) software to lay a foundation, set up their processes, and prepare in advance for eventual IOT adoption. You can collect condition-based data with an EAM interface, without the full investment of IoT.
EAM software is the glide path to Industry 4.0
Today’s digital tools, such as condition sensors, make asset data more robust than ever. For an asset manager, securing all your asset data into a single EAM platform is the only way to get a complete and accurate picture of your asset investments for on-the-spot decision-making that supports the bottom line.
Use your EAM platform to build the foundation with the following checklist.
A good maintenance program optimizes asset uptime while keeping costs low. That means aiming for the ideal 80/20 ratio of preventive and reactive maintenance. As you work toward the more ambitious predictive maintenance, you’ll want to have your sensors already in place.
With strategically placed IIoT devices, you can collect condition-related measurements needed to sustain asset reliability. Your sensors can collect information on:
Collect these measures and use them within your EAM to develop predictive/condition-based upkeep strategies that prompt the right maintenance task at the right time. It’s an efficient and cost-effective way to plan maintenance and minimize downtime.
Asset records should be up-to-date and readily available. Not only does this help with maintenance, but it also helps you facilitate safety compliance.
With some upfront effort, installing IIoT sensors can provide real-time updates on machinery. Then, if a measurement from the IIoT device suggests a safety-related problem, an immediate alert could get the issue onto the maintenance schedule without delay.
The sensors also provide data you’ll want to document during regular inspections. You can include the fields on your EAM’s inspections checklists and develop the parameters for inspection failures and failure codes.
Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) helps asset managers improve efficiency by offering them a snapshot of equipment health.
With digital measurements wirelessly beamed to the cloud, accumulating enough data to calculate KPIs isn’t a problem. However, correctly setting up this type of IIoT capture system takes enormous dedication.
EAM software performs a similar function without all the hardware. With custom reports and analytics, the software quickly transforms data into KPIs and business insights, providing real value.
Keep track of inventory
Having parts on hand is necessary to avoid downtime. However, too many items in inventory leads to unnecessary carrying costs. IIOT technologies allow for real-time tracking and accurate inventory level monitoring.
Integrating EAM with inventory management modernizes the procurement process by streamlined purchase ordering into a single platform. This will ensure you have the right parts are on hand when you need them.
Reduce total cost of ownership
An asset’s total cost of ownership (TCO) involves every expense incurred over the asset’s life:
Fuel or energy used to operate the asset
Insurance, and more
TCO is a useful metric that helps define the return on your asset investments. By incorporating IIOT data you collect from sensors, you can build a more accurate TCO metric. When you analyze the data, you will likely find new opportunities to reduce TCO as well.
The future of IoT and IIoT for asset managers
Adopting IoT and IIoT has the potential to improve an asset manager’s life. Still, before committing to this complex initiative, take a step back and assess your workplace.
New hardware won’t resolve inaccurate data records or complicated work order processes. Let the strengths of your EAM software set you up for the next revolution of asset management.