Should Your Company Engage I0T?

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Industry 4.0 is here and will revolutionize the World. But to make that happen, a universe of wireless devices and applications will be necessary.

Should Your Company Engage I0TThe IOT -a fundamental element in Industry 4.0-has arrived and is growing by leaps and bounds. Gathering Big Data and gaining deeper insights into how the world and more importantly the consumer, works is supposed to provide an all-important edge to those who can pull new knowledge an apply it. Once the Quantum computer comes online, the IOT and Big Data will change the world faster than any other time in history. Of course, the big question is how will we Homo sapiens fit into that world. However, without the means to gather the prodigious amount of information out there will require a universe of wireless devices to feed information to Big Daddy Data for crunching.

According to Forbes magazine[1], today, we have about 15 billion IoT devices. By 2020, it is predicted that the number will grow to between 50 and 70 billion devices connected to the internet. However, for many decision-makers, data for data’s sake is not a solid reason for investing in new infrastructure and the development of new wireless devices and supporting software. So, before deciding that IOT is something to consider, we offer some suggested considerations presented by Bernard Marr[2].

  • Improve Decision Making

Not all decisions require loads of data to provide some objective input for decision making. However, if there is a complex matrix of the variables that need to be considered, the more data, the better. Sometimes, what may not seem to be a significant variable may become a surprise as to correlation or impact. Indeed, top-level decision making may not be as data dependent as might be found in operational management. For agile manufacturing, timely and a broad range of data can help make some important production decisions. For example, a wireless device that monitors a machines functional level can provide timely information on potential mechanical problems and help prepare alternative solutions if the equipment does go down.

  • Better understand customers

More companies are using IOS devices to help gather information about consumer behavior as well as product performance. Wearables such as Fitbit and Samsung collect user data as to help develop user behavior and help design new products to meet changing consumer preferences. Companies need to be proactively tracking trends and preferences to stay competitive as well as identify new opportunities.

  • Deliver new customer value propositions

The collection and analysis of Big Data can help provide new added value to existing products. For example, monitoring of engine performance data remotely delivered to manufacturers can help engineers develop better utilization, less downtime, and new products. In fact, aircraft powerplant manufacturers integrate thousands of sensors to help avoid potential problems and allow for planned progressive maintenance programs.

  • Improve Operations and Increase Income

Being able to make timely operational decisions can add to the bottom line. Wireless devices that monitor production rates and quality control can help reduce waste and rework that can go directly to improving profits. From the sales side, the quicker a company can determine a significant change in consumer preferences, the more rapidly the product mix can be altered and adjust supply chain requirements. Consider that a company that has inventory requirements in the millions of dollars even one percent in reduced cost can translate into hundreds of thousands in potential profit. Indeed, the larger the numbers, the more it makes sense to use all means possible to shave costs as much as possible. IoT devices and Big Data can help in this regard and ROI becomes readily evident.

  • Improve the Value of the Business

Improved profits normally lead to increase company value. IOT can improve top and bottom lines through a better understanding of its consumers and control costs simultaneously. When this is accomplished, it shows up in the financials on which values are largely determined.

 A new industry of Independent IOT device developers

There has been a new industry spawned by cheaper product development costs. Of course, China has been the hub for this activity, but the current political-economic dynamic may change that situation. As the chart below demonstrates, the Asian “Tigers” has carved out a serious niche in manufacturing. Much of this is due to the increased use of technology in combination with cheap labor and government shipping subsidies. 

Many small startup companies have turned to a network of product development consultants that offer a turnkey solution for a short run, inexpensive prototype development. Entrepreneurs need not have a deep understanding of the technology or the costs of product development.

Offshore Product Development Consultants

Many of the consulting companies are made up of highly educated and trained native bi-lingual, bi-cultural experts. However, for those in the USA, time zone differences can slow down the fluidity of the process. All of the countries listed in the chart claim to have equivalent ISO quality procedures and welcome small companies and developmental products. One country that is developing a strong reputation is the Philippine Islands. For English speaking clients, most educated Philippines speak excellent English and have a strong western work ethic. While time zone difference still is a minor obstacle, most USA based companies usually contract a product development consultant or representative who is responsible for managing all phases of development with onsite participation.

Preparations for Offshore Manufacturing

The following eight steps provide a glimpse of what should be considered before outsourcing to the Philippines[3].

  1. Conduct your own research.

It always starts with doing careful research of your market, your competitors, and the outsourcing industry in general. Understand the market landscape, spot the risks and threats but not being unmindful of the opportunities that outsourcing can offer your small business. It will help you get to the ideal options and to the prospective offshoring companies before you finally choose the best one.

2. Identify the business functions or processes that you would like to outsource.

Classify the tasks into your core and non-core business competencies. Are you going to outsource just your enterprise’s minor or non-core functions or you want all manufacturing aspects of your business outsourced? You have to have a clear picture and idea of what you want to outsource.

3. Make a description of the business process you want to be outsourced.

The description should be detailed to help in deciding about which of these tasks are better off outsourced and retained internally. The description of the responsibilities will also guide your outsourcing partner to combed through prospective applicants to best meet your qualifications and requirements for the job. For budgetary reasons, your description will determine whether you will pay for a beginner or a senior web programmer or developer.

4. Identify specific tools or software you will need.

Making a list of tools, equipment, and software that you will use for the performance of the tasks and responsibilities of your staff will save you a lot of time and money. It is true that the vendor knows exactly what your main reason for outsourcing is to save on cost, so the amount you pay for your staff often includes the calculation for the use of equipment and software. Some software, however, is not yet included so it is either you will be billed for this, or you will send the vendor your own software.

5. Make a list of just how many staff you will need to perform a project or tasks.

Again, you should not be the last person to know that you will need another staff to perform a critical business process that will be costly at your end if you simply hire a whole team than pay for one staff each to build a team of your virtual workers.

6. Have a rough and realistic estimation of the time it will take to complete a job.

Outsourcing gives you the flexibility to manage your people and their tasks. It also allows you to hire on a temporary basis or on a per-project basis. By knowing these things, it will be cost-effective to come up with your estimated project completion time to allocate budget and staff properly. Then once you get to the heart of this aspect, select a start date for the outsourcing transactions, from contract signing to the sign off of the project.

7. Know right away your outsourcing budget.

As much as possible, the monthly budget must be set realistically set in order for you to track your investment, measure the return on investment of outsourcing to a Philippine firm, and more.

8. Request a Quote.

Once you are done with all these preliminary inputs, you can now start sending a request for quote to your prospective outsourcing firm in the Philippines with this information regarding your requirements.


[2] ibid



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