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36 SMT007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2021 ing system to provide some experience and a better understanding of how these devices can work in your environment. Here are some con- siderations and comments to keep in mind as you start your exploration of IIoT. • Keep in mind that this is an experi- ment and the devices you install may not become a permanent part of your new IIoT-enabled systems environment. Of course, you'll want to choose wisely and hope to get a direct return on this invest- ment but don't let those concerns stop your project before it begins or limit your choices along the way. • at said, this project, like all others, needs a plan. Follow standard project man- agement processes to outline the goal and objectives of the project, timeline, bud- get, names of participants and what their responsibilities will be, and how the proj- ect will be managed, with status tracking, team meetings, and reporting processes clearly spelled out. • Expect a payback. While it may sound contradictory to the first point above, there should be a (written) business pur- pose for the IIoT you are planning to install. Keep the expectations modest, however. Your first foray into IIoT should be aimed at replacing existing manual reporting with automated data collec- tion and providing convenient access to real-time data in the plant and warehouse. Don't try to plow new ground as this will overshadow the real purpose which is to gain experience with IIoT technology and learn how to bring it into your working environment. • Document what you've learned—and not just the technological details. Pay atten- tion to how the devices change the nature of the workplace and the activities of the workers. Was there resistance from the workforce or did they welcome the new tools? Did it really make their jobs eas- ier or more efficient or was it seen as an additional burden? What was the actual benefit (ROI) once these devices were in use? is will be important to know when you develop the business case for further investment in IIoT. ese are just a few considerations to keep in mind as you plan your initial experiments with IIoT. e most important consideration is this: IIoT and Manufacturing 4.0 are fast becoming a requirement if you want to stay competitive and relevant in your industry.

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