May 16, 2020

Accenture: making the most of industrial IoT

Technology
Smart Manufacturing
Georgia Wilson
3 min
smart manufacturing
Manufacturing Global takes a look at the key factors driving the accelerations of smart production.

Defined as “a universe of intelligent products, p...

Manufacturing Global takes a look at the key factors driving the accelerations of smart production.

Defined as “a universe of intelligent products, processes and services that communicate with each other and with people over the Internet” by Accenture, the industrial internet of things (IoT) “promises to be the most transformative industrial revolution yet for manufacturers, changing the way they think about resource allocation, production processes, materials handling, and the workforce.”

Key factors driving innovation

Level of investment 

Transformation comes with a price, modernising equipment and facilities can be costly. Accenture highlights that the key to success will be adopting strong business cases, based on a set of use cases, to allow for ease in identifying return on investment (ROI).

Ability to align OT and IT 

Those that have started the alignment process will be better equipped to take full advantage of intelligent technologies. Those who organise operations, planning and engineering separately, will find it more “difficult to integrate processes even if they’ve already adopted technologies that make it easier to integrate supporting IT systems,” says Accenture.

“Many traditional OT systems are proprietary and closed so significant investment will be needed to facilitate their participation in a larger, open IT ecosystem. It will also be critical to define governance between OT and IT (especially on security policy) early in the process,” the company adds.

Affinity for technology change 

In order to reap the most benefits from industrial IoT, manufacturers will need to embrace new technologies and change their processes, states Accenture. Companies will require an infrastructure that enables them to commit both people and equipment. Those who embrace new technologies quickly and easily will be better positioned to compete. 

“Cloud services can accelerate delivery of new types of applications and add-on services. Connected equipment, devices and wearables can help people interact with their machines and work together in new and different ways.” 

Speed to reskill workforce 

As the adoption of industrial IoT increases, more complex skills such as equipment development, maintenance and repair will be in demand. 

New technologies will allow manufacturers to harvest talent globally, but their ability to manage up-skilling and retraining their existing workforce will be critical for how quickly they adopt these technologies.

Agility in deploying industrial security solutions 

“As industrial environments move to open protocols, wireless sensors and connected operators, and as OT and IT systems integrate, security issues will be amplified,” says Accenture. “Traditional field devices will need replacing with more sophisticated solutions, with increased vigilance around security will be paramount.”

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Jun 8, 2021

IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery

IMF
Manufacturing
COVID19
Musk
Elise Leise
3 min
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) claims that while markets are rising and manufacturing is coming back, it’ll push for global immunisation

After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022

Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery. 

Lingering Concerns Over COVID

Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high. 

Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery? 

IMF: Current Boom Could Falter

Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”. 

Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”. 

Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.

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