Why asset intelligence can make your processes smarter

As businesses across the world become familiar with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), many are looking to embed it more and more in their operations. As a result, we are seeing a move from asset intelligence (which is now well established) towards process intelligence. This is a natural next step for the technology and is leading to significant efficiency savings.

How does it work

Manufacturing and engineering professionals will be familiar with the concept of the ‘hidden factory’. It represents the untapped capacity within a manufacturing plant – the maximum amount of additional productivity that could be unlocked if only it was identified.

Since the evolution of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), manufacturers have been able to identify this untapped capacity by placing sensors on every tool, part and asset within a supply chain. This creates a “digital twin” of the asset or process and gives teams huge operational visibility, helping them with location, as well as providing valuable data that can boost performance and reduce inefficiencies.

The same sensors also enable manufacturers to map and understand in minute detail every single stage of a manufacturing process – quickly and accurately observing where efficiency gains can be made. This process intelligence can help identify things like wasted journeys and bottlenecks and provides vital insight to support the lean manufacturing techniques that many businesses already employ.

Targeting the UK’s productivity problem

As process intelligence emerges as a key tool for organisations, it could help address the UK’s well-documented productivity issues. The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that productivity in the UK fell at its fastest annual pace in five years from April-to-June 2019. The figure – measured by output per hour – fell by 0.5 per cent, after two previous quarters of zero growth.

The UK’s productivity is  22.8 per cent weaker than France and 27 per cent less productive than German counterparts. While many find these statistics puzzling, the problem is of ever greater importance and urgency in the face of Brexit and related economic uncertainty.

Process intelligence could help unravel some of this mystery – it can pinpoint bottlenecks and duplications, time spent waiting for assets and locate previously untapped capacity.

If the UK was able to reduce the amount of waiting time in every industrial facility or process by 5 per cent, we would be adding significant productive time back into the working week. If it could reduce it by 10 per cent, we’d really be making an impact on productivity, and our country’s performance relative to other economies.

If we could reduce waste in business operations by 5 per cent, it would impact the bottom line, and if we could also improve safety at the same time then we would really be making progress. All of this and more can be achieved by incorporating the core Pathfindr capabilities into a business and by moving from asset to process intelligence.

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