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Concurrent Engineering Blog

3 things that can go wrong with your IIoT implementation pilots

Posted by Concurrent Engineering on 13-Jul-2021 13:32:00

There are significant benefits to incorporating IoT into your production process, but there are also big challenges. Let’s find out more.

The Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT, can bring several benefits to manufacturing organisations. Successful IoT initiatives can help you get the most from your machines - with reduced downtime, better diagnostics and improved service. It is key to digital transformation, which helps companies stay competitive in a crowded field. It’s no surprise that 87% of industrial decision-makers understand the importance of scaling IoT applications across all their factories.


However, implementing IoT pilot schemes then rolling them out across an organisation is not easy. In this article, we’ll look at three challenges many companies face and offer some solutions.




1 – Chasing the impact with the wrong tech

Too many organisations, in their drive for performance improvements, spend time and budget bringing in the latest shiny technology, only to find it’s wrong for the way they work. Ripping out machines and replacing them with IoT-enabled equipment causes disruptions and could even stall your manufacturing process. If your original machines were working well in the first instance, people will wonder why you’re ripping them out.


The good news is you don’t have to rip and replace. Instead, you can wrap and extend, retrofitting your existing systems with IIoT sensors. This is faster and more cost-effective than fitting new machines, giving you access to the data you need without disrupting your manufacturing process. Why fix something that isn’t broken?


2 – Not getting executive buy-in

IIoT implementation is not just an IT or a production initiative. Its impact will be felt across your organisation, including the finance, security and data governance functions. As a result, everyone in your company needs to be on board with the plan, including those at the very top. If you don’t have this buy-in, you will struggle to implement successfully and scale it across all your manufacturing sites. If you can’t demonstrate your implementation’s positive impact, the C-Suite will lose interest. 


Firstly, to get everyone aligned, make sure you have a watertight strategy that shows what everyone has to do, while demonstrating the organisation-wide benefits that will arise if it’s a success. You can also start small, going initially with high-value, easily repeatable implementations that the C-Suite will immediately understand, backed up by improvements in speed and quality. However, you must make them realise that nothing happens overnight, and that they need to have patience over the long-term.


3 – Poor systems

Many companies will incorporate IoT into their processes with expensive new technology, but they won’t upgrade their data connection systems. This makes data difficult to collect and analyse. Alternatively, they may run a patchwork of different systems across their organisation, when what’s required is an integrated solution. Both of these mistakes lead to poor results, because you can’t make the most of your new tech if you aren’t making the most of your data on the back end.


Make sure you have a workable solution across your company that will be easy to scale. Take advantage of fast, flexible and secure hybrid cloud architecture and edge computing. 


Avoiding pilot purgatory

Don’t get caught in ‘pilot purgatory’, where an initial scheme that you know is good stalls because you can’t demonstrate its value. Without impactful use cases, the leadership team loses interest, and your planned organisation-wide rollout ends up left on the shelf.


With careful planning and a focus on the present as well as the future, you can reap the benefits of the Industrial Internet of Things.


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