7 Leading Practices for Implementing Smart Manufacturing

7 Leading Practices for Implementing Smart Manufacturing

Between now and 2025, digital technologies focused on the Internet of Things — as well as big data/analytics, cybersecurity and collaboration — are projected to have a maximum impact on manufacturing companies. To accelerate smart manufacturing, industrial companies can learn from each other.

New, integrated sensor data, combined with advances in connectivity, security, interoperability and analytics, will create immense potential. Industrial companies can learn from one another about forming a unified view of integrating people, processes, assets and technology by using these leading practices for implementing smart manufacturing powered by the IIoT:

  • Define the business problem, developing viable use cases to guide the approach and defining desired outcomes which could include cost reduction; process, product or efficiency improvement; new business models; monetization strategies; and/or service models aligned to strategy.


  • Define the organization’s goals. Stakeholders in OT, IT and other affected business disciplines should collaboratively assess the requirements and the economics of the organization and define benchmarks to measure results.


  • Choose the right partners, including technology providers and business and systems integrators with the right set of industry domain and digital capabilities.
  • Build a multidisciplinary team structurearound business, IT and manufacturing operations experts who can align stakeholder requirements, ensure internal buy-in, make decisions, and provide governance and change management.


  • Cultivate talent. The IIoT requires new technologies, processes and business models. Organizations must leverage talent to advise, instrument, integrate, engineer, analyze and manage programs. Resources should include strategists, digital technologists, data scientists, user experience designers, technical architects, security experts, and hardware and software developers and engineers. These resources can be sourced internally or from a partner.


  • Design the right end-to-end architecture, from digital technologies including sensors and hardware to the cloud and analytics, while making sure to address operational technology and cybersecurity needs.


  • Conduct pilot projects to accelerate innovation. To validate the case for change, organizations can pilot programs with short timeframes that, if successful, can be implemented at scale. Manufacturers garner increased support when they pilot a use case and convert data to insight in discrete projects and operational areas, providing hands-on experience to prospective end-users with new processes and IoT technology.