Along with promises that we’d one day be flying around in personised hovercraft magically powered by tireless atoms, we all grew up hearing that an astonishing future was set to roll out sometime just after tomorrow. At the cutting edge of manufacturing, however, we know that the future won’t take shape tomorrow, or indeed today, our future successes began yesterday. The catalyst for IIoT development has been inception and deployment of new ways of thinking about machines, products, production lines and their processes. “X-as-a-service” (XaaS) has become the hippest investment jargon in industrial board rooms since the lofty heights achieved by the once all-conquering (but now definitively old hat) “synergy”.
XaaS might be a new term but the concept has been with us for a very long time. Europe’s medieval hamlets most often didn’t have the cash to buy weaving machines or employ knife sharpeners, indeed most towns couldn’t even afford to invest in an executioner. So, what happened? Travelling entrepreneurs brought the services to them. Weavers, sharpeners, and yes, executioners, brought their services from town to town and, due to competition, constantly updated their equipment and the processes they provided to encourage towns to continue using them. The towns got their services, the technologies were streamlined and improved, and the service providers were paid. Happy days!
XaaS thinking may have been rebooted for the IIoT sector, but the concept has nevertheless stubbornly remained the same. Machines/people don’t produce things, machines/people provide services of which things are the outcome. As such, these services can be measured, monitored, improved, or even transformed into other services. This isn’t semantics. Nobody really cared for the weaver or the executioner (in fact they were not permitted to sleep in villages nor could anybody touch them), all the townspeople cared about was the service they provided. Their tools and person – the machinery – were the service, and they were judged on that basis. The villagers were living the OPEX dream.
Back to the future, installing equipment or machines-as-a-service (EaaS) in industrial plants or offering mobile solutions, can render huge savings in equipment lifecycle revenue for midsize and large size manufacturers. Revolutionising the investment chain, IIoT technologies then add precisely planned maintenance revenue and can generate new revenue streams from digital features. In turn, this has an effect on additional ‘life-cycle sales’, long-term stability and predictably, all of which will increase shareholder value. The Industrial Revolution finally put our untouchable medieval XaaS entrepreneurs out of business (think looms, guillotines, cheap knives…), but the Servitisation Revolution is now serving up a great historical reversal, as it in turn does the same to archaic industrial thinking.
EFFICIENT PRODUCTION THANKS TO IoT TECHNOLOGY
To understand how the revolution can affect you, consider the following: Who needs a machine that is only used in short burst or periods to be sitting around all year gathering dust? Dust on idle or inefficient machinery is the most expensive and superfluous there is. Efficient and/or on-demand production can transform your usage of these machines and greatly improve revenues. The introduction of large-scale mobile plant hire, leasing machines/motors, or utilising machine services by subscription are all dynamic means of maximising production efficiency and reducing investment costs. The crux comes in the payment models whereby services can then be charged by subscription, consumption, or on outcomes. The sky is the limit. IIoT technologies makes this possible providing sensors, monitors, device management technologies and software systems that collate, measure, analyse and maximise efficiency.
PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT AS-A-SERVICE
Once it was just our beloved pets, but even professional football and rugby players are microchipped these days. Their coaches want to know how they are preforming. If they are slowing down in any way, they want to improve them. What works for our favourite team players surely has a lesson for the rest of us. Why not apply this thinking to the motors and engines within our industrial plants? The deployment of IIoT technologies to existing motors and machinery, or even in leasing or subscribing to new smart-machines, has a major impact on life- cycle revenue for heavy plant machinery. Leased motors can be charged per usage or per hour, meaning down time is down time – no costs. Like the chipped-up sports stars, you will also know how well your production equipment is performing or when it needs to be maintained, fixed or replaced and not just when it is scheduled to be serviced. The maintenance repair costs will plummet and the IIoT technologies further give you the possibility to insure production outcomes against unexpected loses.
HOW IoT AFFECTS MANUFACTURING
IIoT is not just affecting manufacturing. It is unleashing a new Servitisation Revolution on manufacturing process and so changing the way manufacturers and producers think about how they invest and operate. The possibilities for increasing revenue, streamlining production and, especially, changing those pesky CAPEX investments into OPEX running costs, are as endless and tantalising as they are worrying for some. Like all revolutions, it will require brave strategic thinking to join the Servitisation Revolution, but the rewards will be extraordinary for those who do so. Relayr has already been thinking this for you. We have been part of the revolution since it began and are taking bold steps on behalf of those who join us. The future already began yesterday, so talk to Relayr today!
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