There’s a wealth of articles, research, and analysis heralding every scientific breakthrough and technological advance as the next big thing that will change the face of manufacturing.
McKinsey Global Institute estimates that disruptive technologies like the rise of mobile, knowledge work automation, the Internet of Things, cloud technology, and 3D printing, could account for an economic impact of up to $33 trillion by 2025.
Leading executives understand that their strategic competitive advantages might erode or be enhanced by emerging technical solutions. Disruptive technologies could potentially raise productivity, attract more customers, inspire new market strategies, and drive substantial growth.
Adopting these technologies is no longer optional or convenient. It’s a necessity to remain competitive. But how do you know which advances are actually worth your while? Unfortunately, as MGI reported, “Business leaders can’t wait until evolving technologies are having their effects to determine which developments are truly big things.”
While most manufacturers have a tendency to focus new technology investments on driving efficiencies and reducing costs, roughly a quarter of CEOs are planning to use emerging technology for new growth opportunities. Matt Reilly, the senior managing director of Accenture Strategy North America suggests more manufacturers do the same, sharing this equation: “Efficiency plus technology equals new capacities that create opportunities for new business models.”
So let’s take a look at some manufacturing enterprises that are actively adopting new technologies like IoT to drive opportunities for growth.
One of our asset-intensive customers, Union Pacific, has reduced the number of train derailments caused by failed bearings by 75% with the help of near-real-time analysis of data collected by sensors. With that success under its built, the company is now focusing its R&D efforts on additional sensor technologies, like accelerometers that can feel for bumps that would suggest a faulty track.
As CIO Lynden Tennison explained to Information Week, the whole area of “sensor-based, network-based diagnostic and predictive analytics” will be the biggest technology opportunity in his industry for the next 10 or 15 years.
John Deere has implemented several moves toward customer-facing IoT. By incorporating sensors in its equipment, the company can now do remote, wireless diagnostics of some tractors and combines.
Eventually, John Deere wants its harvesting equipment to inform a database that then informs tillage equipment, which, in turn, informs irrigation equipment, according to James Heppelmann of PTC.
Whirlpool Corporation has found tremendous value in its first forays into creating connected appliances. Introducing convenience features like starting the washing machine from an iPhone have garnered consumer interest, and the company’s stock has continued to climb since introducing these optimized appliances over the past year.
Rather than connecting with customers every ten years when they need a new appliance, Whirlpool is now engaging with their customer base on a much more consistent basis. The result gives the company a deeper understanding of how its customers interact with Whirlpool products.
Which disruptive technology is your company planning to adopt? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.