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Posted on : Wednesday 1st July 2020 04:04 PM

The IoT Potential Manufacturers Are Leaving on the Table

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By 2025, the Internet of Things (IoT) will make up of 75 billion connected devices. From voice-activated devices like Amazon Alexa to smart refrigerators, IoT devices are modifying the way that consumers interact with brands. And yet the growth of the IoT has consequences far beyond the consumer space.


As connected machines become more widespread, industrial IoT instruments are remodelling B2B commerce by streamlining the ordering process for manufacturers, contractors and other business buyers. Many engineers and industrial experts seem to be using the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) for getting a better picture of their operations, but industry decision-makers and their B2B sales distributors are losing the full potential of these sensors for commerce. Manufacturers will use IIoT technology not just for automation, well-being and predictive sales, but to fundamentally change their business models as well.


Here's how you can leverage IIoT as you broaden your vision to prepare for the future:


•             Streamline the buying process

The first task to leveraging the IIoT is one that most forward-thinking manufacturers have already taken: reduce friction from the reordering process. For purchasers, time is money. Traditional B2B sales processes continue to be require too much time and effort of buyers, who frequently prioritise ease of purchase above all else. A farmer who has to substitute an oil filter in a tractor will not want to spend 30 minutes looking into options, or worse yet, dialing a phone number to speak to a sales repp. She desires to conveniently order the correct product or reorder a similar product or part she's ordered before with minimum time and effort.


It's your job to cut the time between making decision and acting the to buy. She should not need to leave the field, turn on the computer, research her options and complete her transaction — she wants to just accept an order when she is alerted and have a replacement on the way. If you can render that convenience, you can guarantee that customer just isn't leaving anytime soon. By providing easy reordering using the IIoT, you can score a quick and substantial success and create more valuable relationships with your purchasers.


•             Enable preventative maintenance

It’s one thing to allow purchasers to comfortably reorder substitute parts. It’s another to empower them to anticipate maintenance issues and address them before they cause costly downtime. IIoT technology fixes for significant issues that were once accepted as givens for many buyers.


The next phase of maturity means implementing the IIoT to blend data throughout each piece of machinery so that customers know precisely when equipment needs maintenance and how to plan for it. In addition to this, the manufacturer can plan for it on the behalf of the customer. If you can effectively use sensors to monitor equipment, you're going to increase effectiveness and lower expenses for your buyers.


Look at the traditional way of maintenance for a piece of manufacturing equipment. Normally, manufacturers monitor a vehicle after a certain amount of mileage or usage time, in spite of the condition it’s in. Instead, imagine having the ability observe every aspect of that piece of equipment, releasing the customer up to only focus on maintenance when something is about to get wrong. Suppliers can even offer a subscription model that automatically sends supplies when parts or equipment should be replaced. You’d get rid of wasted time and check-ins and could avoid problems before they take place, without playing guessing games on when and what to address. This technology is already cutting close to 20 percent from manufacturer budgets and increasing reliability and efficiency across the board.


•             Offer visibility into valuable data

Successful preventative maintenance requires a comprehensive understanding of complex data points related to upwards of hundreds of sensors. Leaders in the space are not merely able to understand this information themselves, but they can provide an accurate and digestible view of big data to their buyers.


Your buyers don’t have time to aggregate and make sense of data. That’s costing them. Data-as-a-Service presents another chance to act as a strategic partner for your clients. If you’re able to analyze and deliver real insights, you’ll unlock new insights and encourage them to make the best decisions for their business — and earn your spot as a strategic partner for the long haul.


•             Dive into servitization of products

Say you’re a manufacturer of large medical equipment. Your products require a massive investment in advance from your buyers, as well as ongoing maintenance and thousands of consumable parts. A laboratory buying equipment from you, like for example, must not merely pay for the machine but for maintenance of that machine and single-use consumables to operate those machines. Consumers need to schedule regular maintenance themselves with other third parties (that may or may not be your business). If an unpredicted spike in machine usage — caused by, for instance, a natural disaster that increases blood donations — occurs, the lab may or may not be prepared to accommodate it. Understandably, this causes quite a hassle for buyers at the lab.


A servitization model powered by IIoT technology removes the burden from the customer by placing it in your hands — making sure a stickier and more direct relationship. You’d work with your customer to anticipate and manage maintenance issues, reorder supplies and scale up or down depending on usage statistics. You’d deliver actionable insights based on data that could increase the efficiency of the lab itself. You’d function as a real partner with your consumer, promising better results for both parties. This is what the future of the IoT appears like for manufacturers.


Whether you’ve hardly explored the potential of the IIoT for your business or if you’re a seasoned veteran, you should be looking ahead. The future of the customer and manufacturer relationship, supported by powerful IIoT technology, is the complete servitization of products, centered squarely on customer outcomes. With the help of IoT data and automated processes, preventative maintenance, reordering and ultimately business strategy, comes to be a shared effort between buyer and manufacturer.


Industry leaders are already leveraging this technology to build seamless and effective experiences that drive purchaser loyalty. Armed with this technology, your sales staff can move into a consultative role. They can now use their time for the more complex purchases and greatly improve relationships with buyers, resulting in higher-value and longer-lasting deals. Don’t leave money on the table — get on board with IIoT.


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