Even in an age of digitization, few companies can rely solely on automation and equipment to produce and ship goods. Human effort remains essential to manufacturing, which means that man-machine circumstances — and dangers — remain constant concerns for executives:
- Workers can be injured — or worse: Employees must know that they’re safe to do their best work. Fortunately, production environments with self-aware, intelligent machines can help to protect employees. Approximately 39% of manufacturers already use smart devices and/or embedded intelligence in their operations as ways to improve safety.
- Workers can make mistakes: Even the best employees cause errors that create quality problems, damage equipment, or harm fellow employees. Self-aware equipment can help to catch mistakes during or before they occur — via digital poka yoke — and prevent product, capital, or human losses. Two-thirds of manufacturers already use smart devices and/or embedded intelligence in their operations as ways to improve quality.
- Humans can occasionally be malicious: Hackers or disgruntled employees may try to disrupt operations, access customer data, or steal intellectual property. End-to-end, connected security — from intelligent machines to network infrastructure to enterprise solutions and applications — can help to minimize opportunities for intrusions. Approximately 63% of manufacturers report that the application of smart devices and/or embedded intelligence in plants and processes improved the security of IT systems and data.
The Connected Enterprise delivers real-time safety and operations data that can be leveraged to help to improve safety compliance and performance. Safety professionals gain unprecedented understanding of worker behaviors, machinery performance, causes of safety shutdowns or stoppages, and safety anomalies and trends.
The Connected Enterprise also leverages real-time data within a manufacturing execution system (MES), integrating quality management and business analytics with production management. Instead of chasing quality problems as products move down the line — where they can turn into safety problems for employees and customers — companies with IIoT-enabled MES systems can help to prevent mistakes and meet compliance standards.
This requires a comprehensive approach that includes not just Connected Enterprise technologies, but also policies and procedures to address people-, process-, and technology-related risks. This multifaceted approach helps to enable defense-in-depth security that structures physical, electronic, and procedural layers of defense for maximal deterrence.
How safe and secure is your Connected Enterprise?