Where Manufacturing Matters

Business Model Disruption vs Solving Problems On Your Shop Floor

Posted by John Colm, WIRE-Net President and Executive Director on Nov 15, 2018 2:52:14 PM

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Several of the most valuable companies in the world in disparate markets share something in common:

  • Uber: Largest taxi company owns no cars.
  • Air BnB: Largest accommodations firm owns no real estate
  • Ali Baba: Largest online retailer owns no inventory

Now think about electric vehicles (EV) vs internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEV):

  • Tesla: about 150 moving parts
  • ICEV: about 10,000 moving parts

How will the coming revolution in EVs affect NE Ohio’s network of automotive suppliers?

Disruption is coming.

Well, most of us know that. But aside from rethinking your business model, there are also big opportunities to use new internet, sensor, WiFi enabled applications and technologies to solve vexing shop floor and operations issues. This is just applying new and emerging technologies to make your operations smarter. I’ll layout the key opportunities for saving time and money below.

Dumb manufacturing is different from stupid manufacturing.  Dumb used to mean “cannot speak”.  Dumb manufacturing means your machines don’t speak to each other nor to your managers or operators.

Because your machinery is “dumb”, right now, most manufacturers are making production decisions based on minimal information, compared to what you could be basing decision upon. Many times its 1% data, and 99% opinion.

The Industrial Internet of Things Roadmap for Northeast Ohio, coordinated by Team NEO, identified the upside opportunity for key manufacturing sectors to utilize IIoT technologies to grow their output significantly (by up to as much as $5.5 billion in additional output by 2025). IIoT Roadmap

The industry sectors were analyzed by whether they were a process-based sector, or in discrete manufacturing. In the former category major opportunities were identified for firms in the chemical, primary metals and food manufacturing sectors. The chemical and primary metals sectors were identified as being “mature” in their implementation of IIoT.

In the discrete manufacturing industries major opportunities were identified for the transportation equipment, fabricated metal products, and plastics & rubber products. The Roadmap project projects up to $8 billion in additional output possible by 2025.

Both scenarios assume that aggressive development and implementation of IIoT could deliver the higher output figures and that investments would target four key areas in your company:

  1. operations optimization
  2. predictive maintenance
  3. inventory optimization, and
  4. workplace health & safety.

The $13.5 billion question (the combined potential upside in additional NEO output among both process and discrete manufacturers) is how the region will accelerate learning, experience and talent development to spur adoption of an aggressive investment agenda by individual firms in the private sector in order to ensure our region’s continuing success as a manufacturing powerhouse?

Many advisors to small & medium manufacturers are urging company decision makers to act on 4.0 pilots, along with improved cybersecurity investments. For example, Dr. Ned Hill, formerly with Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs, as part of his 2018 State of Manufacturing assessment, recommended just that, stating that manufacturers should “invest in labor and Manufacturing 5.0 for the long term, do it incrementally…small tactical projects that will sum up to a strategy”.

At Manufacturing Works, we are aiming to inject key strategies into the region’s thinking to ensure that the bulk of our manufacturing sector, which is small and medium sized companies of fewer than 200 employees, get their needs and priorities addressed in our emerging Industrial Internet of Things strategy. Read the entire IIoT Roadmap Executive Summary here.

Executive Summary


How to Get Involved:

You are invited to complete a complementary IIoT Readiness Assessment. The Assessment was developed collaboratively by the Roadmap Project Team and Roadmap Working Group to be used as a tool to evaluate a company’s digital maturity and readiness for IIoT implementation. Want to learn more about the IIoT Roadmap or want to get involved with the IIoT Working Group? Contact Team NEO’s Jay Foran for additional information.

Have questions about Manufacturing Work's technology program? Contact Tom Birkel, Vice President of Manufacturing Services at 216.920.1953.


Topics: Team NEO, IIoT, Industry 4.0, IIoT Roadmap

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