One of the strongest contributors to the sustainable growth of a company is how well it can retain its customers. With customer acquisition costs ranging from a couple dollars to hundreds of dollars, it’s especially important for businesses to maximize the lifetime value they get from each customer. Thus, retention should be a business’ main focus when tackling long-term growth. Sustainable growth calls for an emphasis on customer satisfaction, and therefore, high product quality.
For companies that ship physical goods to their customers, product quality depends highly on their manufacturer partners. Poor product quality results in low customer satisfaction, refunds and returns, dissolved partnerships with distributors, and an overall nightmare for manufacturers. How do manufacturers swiftly detect and prevent product quality failure in their factories? This is where Industry 4.0 technology comes in.
In present-day manufacturing, plant managers experience challenges in detecting where production failure is taking place and may spend days or even weeks tracking down exactly which line is underperforming. One underperforming machine in a factory could result in hundreds of defective units and tension between manufacturers and customers.
Industry 4.0 advancement is meant to help manufacturers prevent product quality failure wherever possible. With the combination of articulate, data tracking IoT devices, analytics platforms, and cloud computing, plant managers, engineers, and supervisors can attain actionable and specific information about what’s happening in their factory at any given time.
How? Let’s talk about how Industry 4.0 technology helps prevent things like this from happening at your factory.
IoT – Real-Time Data Gathering
The backbone of Industry 4.0 technology consists of the IoT devices that are constantly gathering data from the machines and sensors they’re installed on. Most of these devices are installed in machines on a production line, where they will gather a multitude of data points such as time, speed, temperature, rates of production, product ID numbers, etc.
These data points are constantly gathered and sent to a secure, cloud database, housing every aggregate piece of information collected from that machine, in perpetuity. Since the value of data appreciates as more of it is gathered, using 3rd party services such as Oden, which stores unlimited data indefinitely, is a valuable investment that will help manufacturers compare and analyze production over longer periods of time.
Analytics – Clear & Actionable Data Insights
Industry 4.0 technology is providing a new wave of clearer and more concise data analytics platforms to complement its big data counterpart. Data is useless without the correct analytics tools to process that data, detect trends, and draw actionable insights from.
For example, if a plant manager needed to track where there a production line failure occurred, they could use an analytics platform to understand why it failed. Using Oden’s platform, manufacturers can track the exact time a particular faulty product was run, which machine is responsible for the particular failure, and all the performance metrics associated with that machine.
In the past, it could take plants hours, days, or even weeks to aggregate all the necessary information to track production line failure. Assuming plant employees are using a user-friendly platform like Oden’s, they can shorten this production line analysis time to mere minutes.
Cloud Computing – Flexible Monitoring
Since Industry 4.0 depends heavily on the power and scale of cloud computing, the technology allows every person in a factory (not just the managers or engineers) to have data at their fingertips. Data will no longer need to be stored locally in a factory’s network, with rising costs. It is already commonplace for advanced manufacturers to have access to their factory’s information, wherever they would like, through cloud storage.
In addition to the “big players” in a factory, employees down the authority ladder can also be granted limited access to information relevant and necessary to their particular daily tasks and job. This democratized data will give team members the ability to make actionable and swift decisions in response to real-time stimuli. The typical “top-down” methodology of information will soon become outdated as Industry 4.0 technology becomes mainstream.
To a manufacturer, maintaining product quality means everything. Your reputation depends on it! Often times it could be one of the biggest challenges as a manufacturer. Luckily, different technologies, like the ones listed above will change the way entire factories are managed. The best part is that this smart factory technology isn’t something that factory owners hope becomes mainstream in the next decade– it’s already possible to integrate this technology today. Oden’s IIoT platform offers everything discussed in this blog. Don’t wait to start collecting data today.