How IoT creates long-term value for manufacturers
Mass production, increased efficiency, improved cost savings, and optimized bottom lines: those have been the hallmarks of success for the manufacturing industry over the last few decades. But today, in our connected world, that’s changing. It’s no longer about delivering product at scale; instead, it’s about creating value for the customer, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is playing a critical role in helping manufacturers and industrial businesses deliver that value.
Think about it - the notion that all devices can be connected to the Internet and to each other ¾ from coffee makers to jet engines and their individual components ¾ has created tremendous opportunities for consumers. Why shouldn’t it have that same positive effect on manufacturers and their customers?
In particular, new, IoT-connected services put manufacturers in the role of a partner (not just a provider) to their customers. The ability to provide customers with real-time insights into their equipment and machinery is invaluable. These insights help manufacturers build genuine partnerships with their customers, as they’re using up-to-the-minute information to address and solve problems in a meaningful and impactful way, whether that be equipment maintenance, workforce optimization, or machine uptime.
There is infinite possibility in knowing immediately when a problem arises and possessing deep knowledge around how to help a customer address the issue so that day-to-day processes aren’t disrupted, wasting money, time and manpower. The manufacturing companies that adopt these ideas, adapt their business models accordingly, create the most value for their customers, and become trusted partners are the ones who will see the true success. Let’s explore how this is coming to life today;
Several years ago (prior to the growth of cloud analytics), General Motors (GM) had been struggling with oil contamination in its plant cooling water, and was able to lean on its partner Quaker to solve the problem and save money. Quaker developed new testing methods to pinpoint where oil leaks may be at GM’s plants. GM was then able to reduce oil waste, eliminate clogged water lines and decrease overall water usage. GM reported an annual savings of more than $800,000 thanks to Quaker’s innovations. Taken further, the addition of cloud analytics and heightened connectivity through the IoT would mean additional, exponential savings for GM. Leveraging the IoT, Quaker could drill down to the components of each aspect of GM’s plant process and, in real-time, see exactly what pieces weren’t running optimally. With such a detailed understanding of the way GM’s plant and related machines run, Quaker could make themselves an even more indispensable part of GM’s business.
In fact, manufacturing leader Emerson is an example of just that. The company has created a host of products and capabilities that affords their customers a comprehensive process-improvement plan. Emerson’s Pervasive Sensing Center, accounting for $13 million of a $27 million investment in new technology and infrastructure, has been put to use on Jurong Island in Singapore. The new technology allows for energy loss and equipment failure to be noticed in real-time, saving money and economizing manpower. Jurong Island has seen a savings of $150 million and sidestepped 450 kilotons of CO2 emissions. The benefits for the island are plenty, making Emerson a true solutions provider and an invaluable partner for the future.
Similarly, in the oil and gas industry, Emerson has developed upstream production monitoring and provides services to maximize plant efficiency for downstream and petrochemical sectors. This, of course, is due to Emerson’s overarching dedication to research, data analysis, automation and newfound capabilities derived from IoT. In order to truly deliver, Emerson needed to know every inch of the customer’s process, have clear communication and a thorough understanding of the technology and scope of capabilities in play. It’s an all-inclusive data proposition that will undoubtedly make Emerson a complete value-add for its customers.
Manufacturing companies that want to follow Quaker or Emerson’s lead in building partnerships, re-imagining their relationships and taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the emergence of the IoT can do so by building multi-disciplinary teams. Because the IoT opens up so many new possibilities for delivering value to customers, a carefully selected team will provide a wide range of perspectives and expertise that, together, can conceptualize an overall strategy for the business on how best to capitalize on the IoT. Adoption of the IoT is moving at record speeds and new use cases, especially in the manufacturing sector, are being identified constantly. The companies looking to grow with these changes need to embrace all sides of it – from business model adjustments to new talent development models, new customer engagement programs, etc. – to secure their places in the new industrial landscape.
Patrick Mascia is Industrial General Manager at Catalant Technologies, Inc, which provides global enterprises with software solutions to access business expertise on demand. Catalant has built a global network of more than 32,000 boutique firms, custom teams and independent experts, as well as best-in-class software tools for engaging and managing this market. A white paper Catalant released on the industrial IoT and subscription based models can be found here.
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Lion Electric to Construct US EV Manufacturing Facility
Who is Lion Electric?
Founded in 2008, is an innovative manufacturer of all-electric, zero-emissions, medium and heavy-duty urban vehicles. Lion Electric designs, manufactures, and assembles all components for its vehicles that have unique features specifically adapted to the users and their needs. “We believe that transitioning to all-electric vehicles will lead to major improvements in our society, environment and overall quality of life,” believes Lion Electric.
Lion Electric’s new Illinois Manufacturing Facility
Just two months after announcing plans to construct a battery manufacturing plant and innovation centre in Quebec, Lion Electric is expanding its locations further, selecting Joliet, Illinois for its new manufacturing facility in the US.
The new facility is said to “represent the largest dedicated production site for zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles in the US,” as well as being the company’s biggest footprint in the market. The new facility will give Lion Electric the capacity to meet increasing demand for ‘Made in America’ zero-emission vehicles and bring production closer to customers.
It is expected that the first vehicles off the production line will be in the second half of 2022.
“Lion’s historic investment to bring its largest production facility to Illinois represents not only a win for our communities, but a strong step forward in our work to expand clean energy alternatives and the jobs they bring to our communities,” said Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
“The new Joliet facility will put Illinois at the forefront of a national movement to transition to zero-emission vehicle use, advancing our own goals of putting one million of these cars on the road by 2030. In Illinois, we know that a clean energy economy is about more than just vehicles – it’s about healthier communities and jobs for those who live there. We are excited to welcome Lion to the Land of Lincoln and look forward to their future success here.”
Lion Electric’s Agreement with the Government of Illinois
Over the next three years, Lion Electric will invest a minimum of US$70mn into Illinois. The new facility - totalling 900,000 square feet - is expected to create a minimum of 745 clean energy direct jobs in the next three years, and have an annual production capacity of up to 20,000 all electric buses and trucks.
Scaling electric bus production and decarbonising freight and transportation
As the US moves to electrifying its school buses, the additional production capacity at the facility will help Lion Electric to scale its electric bus production, as well as produce an increased volume of heavy-duty zero-emission trucks to help governments and operators in the US further the decarbonisation of freight and transportation fleets.
“Lion is the leader in electric school buses and has always been dedicated to the U.S. market, and our commitment to be close to our customers is one of the core values we have as a company. This significant expansion into the U.S. market will not only allow us to drastically increase our overall manufacturing capacity of electric trucks and buses but to also better serve our customers, while adding critical clean manufacturing jobs that will form the backbone of the green economy,” said Marc Bedard, CEO and Founder of Lion.
“I also want to acknowledge the crucial role that P33 and Intersect Illinois, civic groups committed to developing developing a long-term roadmap for the local tech industry, played in connecting Lion with the Chicago area’s business and civic community to help further commercial traction, as well as engagement with key workforce and supplier partners.”