|Internet A Series Of Tubes by Jeremy Brooks (CC BY-NC 2.0)|
Many manufacturers are recognizing and exploiting the opportunity. For example, Tesla is delivering vehicles with hardware and software which can be upgraded, their cars are sensor ready and software upgrades will provide extra intelligence, delivered via the internet. The customer could pay for the upgrades which then generates extra revenue for Tesla.
The individualization of mass production and the internet of services add additional revenue. The smart manufacturing plant needs to be flexible and deliver intelligent products. A major misunderstanding is that this is not a cost saving exercise; it’s a new business model to increase revenue and profitability.
It’s important to map out opportunities and match them against the realities of today’s technology. A manufacturer who was heavily investing in a factory of the future did not build this type of strategy. Enthusiastic engineers ordered additive manufacturing machines (3D printing) only to find out they could not connect them to their network using international standards. They paid a heavy price for this error and damaged the initiative’s reputation. It’s worth taking independent advice before completing your new manufacturing strategy.