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Three surprising benefits of asset utilization

Asset utilization has quickly become a top use case across businesses adopting IoT. It directly contributes to the bottom line by helping businesses confirm whether or not equipment is performing at peak availability, performance and quality. Because operators can tell exactly how equipment is operating, they know where to focus reliability improvement efforts to drive the highest overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). But the range of benefits made available by asset utilization data goes far deeper than many expect. Businesses further along with their implementations have discovered that they can make better long-term decisions, such as asset design, to save on costs and unlock even more ROI and operational performance into the future.

Businesses are often challenged with locating assets in the field and understanding how effectively they are being used. An asset utilization data strategy can provide operations managers real-time visibility into these revenue-generating assets, such as settings and environmental factors. But it can also enable the creation of complex business logic that can take action based on a predefined set of rules. In regulated industries, such as oil and gas, it’s also easy to see which assets are out of compliance.

However, the value of asset utilization data extends far beyond this core group of uses. Here are three additional ways we’re seeing businesses apply their data to reach new goals and improved performance.

Unexpected benefit #1: Defer capital investments

Asset utilization data can be used to extend the useful life of capital equipment for greater return on assets and deferred capital investment. This is especially key in the manufacturing space, where operators want to use technology advances to improve energy consumption to reduce costs and increase profitability.

For example, CNC/milling machines are already instrumented for properties such as chatter, vibration, thermal stability, hydraulic pump flow rate, etc. so as to minimize the power consumption for spindles and peripheral equipment. IoT software that provides detailed asset utilization data can extend equipment performance even further. By collecting machine data and establishing patterns and trends, operators can identify usage behavior and settings for highest throughput at lowest cost.

If you’re thinking more equipment is required for yielding greater volume, asset utilization data can help you do more with what you’ve got and save on future capital investment.

Unexpected benefit #2: Uncover underutilized assets in real time

Asset utilization data can be used to support geofence zones, so unique logic can be applied per zone or asset. Manufacturers of commercial trucks, as well as fleet owners and independent owner/operators, are often challenged with locating assets in the field and understanding how effectively they are being used. IoT systems can collect an asset’s relevant telemetry, contextual data and status against utilization metrics, so underutilized assets can be swiftly reallocated. Operators can even get alerts via email, SMS or other means when an asset is not being used.

If you’re having trouble finding out quickly which assets may be underused and reallocating them accordingly, then asset utilization data can help you.

 Unexpected benefit #3: Design better equipment

Hindsight is 20/20 and equipment design is no exception. By having a history of asset utilization data, equipment manufacturers can better understand how their products are functioning in the field and use that information to inform future enhancements.

For example, in the oil and gas space, artificial lifts are being employed in higher volumes to improve recovery rates, maximizing production. It is impossible for the companies that design and build those pumps to foresee all of the operating conditions they will be subject to. They have to engineer based on simulations and a small sample of test wells.

Asset utilization data from real-world customer installations improves that overall dataset, providing a wider range of use cases and ultimately a better designed and performing product.

As the above examples have demonstrated, asset utilization data delivers powerful short- and long-term business value to a broad number of industries. In our recent study (registration required) of more than 300 senior-level personnel at manufacturing, transportation, and oil and gas organizations, it was clear that asset utilization is increasingly becoming a priority for their business. More than 90% of IIoT adopters cite device health as the primary reason for IoT adoption followed by logistics (67%), reducing operating costs (24%) and increasing production volume (18%).

While the immediate goal of your asset utilization deployment might be to ensure OEE, there is a broad range of capabilities to explore beyond this business goal that will unlock additional cost savings and revenue. Its broad versatility has become a favorite of businesses that prefer to start more narrow with their IoT initiative and build on it over time as their needs and priorities change.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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