The MOVUS team talk to a lot of regional companies across a wide range of industries about Industry 4.0, Industrial IoT etc and we’re always asked about how to set up a project in this space.
The questions we’re asked include: What are our customers doing? How are they planning success? What tips could I share to help us start on the right foot with the right end-goal in mind?
I want to use this post to delve into this further as a lot has been written about Industry 4.0 project failures – even here last month in Forbes.
In simple terms there are three components to focus on – (1) the vendor and their capabilities, (2) the solution and its fit-for-purpose, and (3) the customer and how they approach an innovation project.
Focusing on You the Customer
There are many reasons why companies invest in Industry 4.0 projects – some obvious, some not so obvious. Here are the top 5 ‘business drivers’ that I’ve seen evident in our most successful customer engagements.
1. Solve a Problem the Business Cares About
When a prospect wants to ‘test a couple of units for free’ or ‘trial them to see if they work’ I know they’re not investing in their own success. But when a prospect wants to improve machine reliability by X% because it will increase output by Y% which means a $ impact on results – we’re now working on solving a problem the business cares about.
Reliability, unplanned downtime, improving worker safety, lowering energy costs – these are all important problems to solve – so be prepared to articulate what’s important and what will drive engagement.
2. Establish a learning culture and address resistance to change
IIoT solutions like FitMachine create an opportunity for maintenance teams to work smarter by creating an environment where continuous health monitoring of machine performance augments human inspections (see this post I wrote on LinkedIn last month in relation to this).
To truly capture the value from solutions like FitMachine, organisations need to have a culture of learning, of wanting to work smarter – but to do this you must also support change and the challenges it creates.
3. Plan conservatively
One of the reasons we recommend a 6 or 12-month engagement is that it allows time for the business to collect learnings, find unknown issues, and understand long term value. You wouldn’t change a maintenance procedure after 2 weeks of new data, so plan conservatively, ensure a Pilot Project captures data and insights across your operating spectrum. And plan to allow time to understand what you are learning and how this can then be embedded into your business.
4. Define project success and goals beyond the solution/pilot phase
This tip is an extension of tip #1 – but is often overlooked. Defining longer term goals include understanding the business case to scale up the use of a solution and where the solution needs to fit into your overall systems architecture – factors like integration to CMMS or EAM need to be considered.
5. Partner for success
It’s not just about IIoT technology – domain expertise, product expertise, communications expertise, integration/tech expertise – this is all important and will impact on whether your project struggles, succeeds, or shines. MOVUS has addressed all these areas and has a proven Pilot Project model that delivers initial success and is proven to be able to scale to enterprise-wide adoption.
Starting a Successful Industry 4.0 / IIoT Project
If you’d like to know more about how we partner with our customers to drive Industry 4.0 adoption and business improvement feel free to get in touch – if you want to pick our brains or even stress-test what you’re currently planning – feel free to get in touch with me via comments or LinkedIn.
Special thanks to our Customer Success Manager Matt Nade for his input into this post.