IIoT can make you the hero of your operations

So, you love IIoT technology and know it would benefit your company immensely. The problem is, there are a few execs who are reluctant to embrace change. Does this sounds familiar? Reassure them that there is no need to fear the 4th Industrial Revolution; this revolution is a very peaceful one. No heads will roll.

I can be your hero, Baby.shutterstock_110023040

Looking to impress the management in your company? Being the employee who brings about the innovative technology that leads to either a new source of revenue (through increased production) or energy savings (with an energy management system) will do just that. Be the hero of your organization!

But, will being the short-term hero lead to long-term repercussions with regards to your job stability? Will your role within the company eventually become obsolete? Probably not.

The IIoT is designed to empower everyone within an organization and simplify tasks, rather than replace the employees. A blended workforce is becoming more common in today’s manufacturing processes as companies are benefitting from the use of Smart Technology. What I mean by that is that there are more human operators working with intelligent machines to achieve unprecedented levels of operational accuracy and efficiency.

Manufacturing companies are using intelligent machines and network systems to automate production tasks at a lower cost and have been achieving higher quality results while doing so. This automation allows for employees to focus more of their time and effort on other, more important aspects of their job (rather than all the boring stuff).

All this sounds great, but the ultimate question becomes – How do I get upper management to approve a CapEx for new upgrades or installations?  If you don’t have Obi-Wan Kenobi on your side using his Jedi mind-tricks, then you better come up with a presentation strategy accompanied with some solid research to impress the higher-ups.

You’ve got to wow them. Try these 3 steps when planning your presentation strategy for getting corporate to buy-in.

  1. You need to inspire them. (Why)

Think of the ‘why’ for now and hold off on the ‘what’ for just a bit.

You need to inspire upper-management by having them believe in the reason for the product or solution, before ever presenting the actual solution to them. They need to believe in ‘why’ they need assistance with asset management, before they need to believe in ‘what’ asset management solution they should choose, for instance.

Here is an interesting TEDx presentation called “How great leaders inspire action” which might help explain the ‘why’ versus ‘what’ mindset.

  1. Determine the scope of your strategy & identify your desired output. (How)

You don’t need to start with monitoring ALL of your assets, but it is important to determine which ones you want to monitor in the beginning and how they impact the bottom line of your business. Maybe you should start by monitoring a few key machine assets. Once you have identified these assets, take a peripheral look at which other assets are directly connected to them.

The best way to monitor your assets is to get a full picture of why they are or aren’t functioning to the best of their ability.

Having trouble narrowing down your assets? Find the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that matter most to your organization and this should help you by working backwards and find out which assets are linked to those KPIs.

Some examples of key outputs & KPIs you may want to consider:

  • OEE
  • Availability
  • Utilization
  • Stoppages/slowdowns
  • Bottlenecks in production
  1. Present some good, solid facts. (What)

Do your research. Put yourself in their shoes and predict their questions.

Provide insight into what is lost by organizations similar to yours, and what has been gained by organizations that have made the switch to IIoT. Can you find any of your competitors who are using IIoT solutions to their advantage?

Be sure to do your homework. By this point, you should have them believing in the ‘why’, you have already presented the ‘how’ which is the assets or KPIs needing to be monitored, and now you need to back all that up the ‘what’ (additional facts). Customize the facts to your industry and size of organization, but also to the vision of the executive team.

 Grab your cape, it’s time to be the hero!

It’s up to you to get started. Remember to follow the ‘why’, ‘how’, and ‘what’ logic, and customize it to your organization and industry. Every great hero has an internal driver, that pushes them to accomplish greatness. What’s yours?


About your guest blogger:  Brett Lewis is a native of the small city of Moncton, New Brunswick, on Canada’s east coast. Brett is a millennial with a newly discovered passion for the IIoT and the possibilities it presents for the future of the global economy. A recent graduate of St. Thomas University,  Brett researches and blogs the latest in IIoT for RtTech Software (www.rttechsoftware.com) which develops killer apps for industrial analytics.


  1. I loved the ‘start with why’ book and I apply the principle all the time. To justify plant modernization I suggest you start with a plant modernization audit to identify the missing measurements and required software. See explanation of the audit process in this essay:

    To improve reliability it is very much about identifying critical and essential equipment. The most critical equipment like turbines and compressors surely already have a condition monitoring system. However, the second tier of essential equipment probably do not and thus rely on manual data collection and analysis. This is too slow so equipment like pumps, blowers, air cooled heat exchangers, non-process compressors, and cooling towers still fail. The modernization audit identifies which of these pieces of equipment should be instrumented. To improve maintenance the points in the daily and weekly manual data collection routes are automated with instrumentation

    To improve energy efficiency identify the steam traps on high pressure lines, the heat exchangers in dirty service, relief valves in dual service that can be replaced, as well as cooling towers and air cooled heat exchangers with variable speed fans that can be optimized. Instrument all these assets to detect leaks and over consumptions. Measure consumption of all energy streams with finer granularity to enable ISO 50001 energy management to detect leaks, equipment not turned off, performance degradation