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Choosing the Right Technology for Right Now: How to Maximize Throughput During COVID-19


In 2020, many production pain points became breaking points for manufacturers. Processes and throughput are being tested like never before— but most of these issues were already recognized across the industry. Why were they allowed to persist until this global breaking point?

In most cases, the answer is simply a lack of urgency. Workarounds that fixed immediate issues were good enough in the moment. Even as the need for change was recognized, executives were often overwhelmed by an “overflow of options and potential use cases.”1

In today’s new normal for manufacturers, there’s no more time for technology buzzwords and pilot projects that linger indefinitely. But you still need to find the right solution for your challenges, supported by proven results. In order to improve throughput today and support tomorrow’s unpredictable demands, your technology investment needs to be provable, actionable, and directly address immediate demands on efficiency, cost, productivity, and utilization.

Moving Quickly in an Unpredictable Market

Increased throughput, lower production costs, faster time to market, and the ability to quickly respond to changing consumer demands are the ofttouted benefits of industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology. And with such significant business outcomes, it is a compelling investment.

Unfortunately, due to the intricacy of the manufacturing industry, along with the soft ROI of IIoT, it’s often difficult to fully quantify the direct value of IIoT initiatives.

How do you measure the value of “increased agility,” for example? Or predict the future value of scalability—especially in today’s unpredictable world?

Because of this, IIoT initiatives often linger in pilot stage, cost-analysis purgatory, or devolve into a problematic and expensive do-it-yourself strategy as teams scramble to figure out the most high-value use cases or measure ROI-expectations.2 The problem isn’t a lack of provable value—it’s that the value has evolved past traditional analyses. And that’s even more true today, when “traditional” has been left behind in more ways than one.

COVID-19 has shown the world something that the manufacturing industry should already know. Traditional supply chains and manufacturing ecosystems are failing and we need to shift to a more adaptable, agile solution that is fully digitally enabled. The virus, like any crisis, has merely underlined both that need and the urgency and will likely serve to accelerate that change. This needs to result in real plans of action, rather than debate.
–Post COVID-19, The Answer Is Digital Transformation, Now What’s The Question? Forbes, May 2020

1. How to rebound stronger from COVID-19: Resilience in manufacturing and supply systems. World Economic Forum white paper, May 2020.
2. Success with the Internet of Things Requires More Than Chasing the Cool Factor. Harvard Business Review, August 2017