There is no denying the fact that the manufacturing industry will see short-term and long-term changes as the dust settles around COVID‐19. The immediate concern for most manufacturers is to keep their employees safe and healthy as operations continue to ramp up. There are a variety of actions that manufacturers are taking to create a safer working environment for their essential employees.
This includes the creation of temperature monitoring checkpoints to ensure employees arriving to work do not have a fever (a potential pre-cursor for the virus), as well as the introduction of personal protective equipment (PPE) requirement to reduce the likelihood of employees contacting or spreading the virus while working.
The most advanced manufacturers are turning to video based systems to monitor the workforce and ensure that social distancing is being followed and if a positive test does occur contact tracing can be utilized to identify and isolate employees that could be at risk.
While this increase focus on health and safety is driven by the challenges of a global pandemic, the investments that manufacturers make now will allow them to ensure worker safety from all hazards while improving productivity. From a long-term perspective, the impact of COVID-19 can be seen with the focus on resiliency (Figure 1).
To accomplish this new priority, manufacturing organizations must develop a data-driven approach to decision making that provides leaders with the information they need to make rapid and effective decisions.
Asset management is a core aspect of connected factory operations and transforming this process through remote monitoring, control, and predictive analytics can serve as the foundation for operational resiliency. Traditional preventative maintenance processes are slow and generally ineffective, but strategic asset management will put an emphasis on condition-based monitoring and predictive analytics to raise the availability of critical factory assets. Asset management has always been a priority for manufacturers; however, the accelerating deployment of IoT enabled assets, sensors, and controls have the potential to transform the process.
These new IoT data feeds fill the information gaps around asset utilization and performance, which are often caused by manufacturers relying on legacy equipment. It is important to build an asset management road map that includes the broader infrastructure upgrades needed to support strategic asset management. While there are varying levels of maturity, the majority of the manufacturing industry has plans in place to shift from a break-fix or preventative approach to one that is more predictive and market-driven.
Source: IDC APM end user interviews