A Manufacturer’s Guide To Scaling Industrial IoT

Author: Aswin Asok
February 4, 2022
A Manufacturer’s Guide To Scaling Industrial IoT


The Industrial Internet of Things, also known as IIoT, is an emerging technology field that can boost innovation, improve business processes, create new business models, and provide better customer experiences. The IIoT market is expected to cap USD 1.1 Tn by 2028 at a CAGR of 22.8%, demonstrating its growth potential. Therefore, manufacturers who would like to have a pie of this promising industry must look forward to integrating IoT in their organization to build products and provide services to take advantage of its potential.

However, despite having an ideal environment with significantly low running costs, better connectivity, and much-improved platform management, only a handful of manufacturers have successfully integrated IIoT to reap any organizational or financial benefits. Often organizational and technological challenges are to be blamed for this. This blog briefly discusses the challenges of IIoT, its usefulness in the manufacturing plants and explores how to scale IoT successfully.

Challenges of IIoT

According to the research done by McKinsey & Company, successful IIoT enablement at scale requires companies to focus on three areas.


On the business side, the first step is to identify the use cases of IoT and then prioritize and pilot. Then comes the strategic plan to roll out the strategy across different business areas.

While implementing use cases, the business should consider its financial impact and ease of implementation. It should also take into account its replication across different plans. The McKinsey & Company suggests an overarching lighthouse use case that can be replicated and easily implemented across all the plants as an ideal place to start.


Setting up clear target values must be done for monitoring progress and performance management. Then enterprises must facilitate a much improved cross-functional engagement plan by defining a new way of working that gives more relevance to building relevant skills and capabilities.

Setting up IIoT for success across the organization demands work in the existing organizational structure, redefining how the team collaborates and implementing new job roles. All these results in an entirely new working environment to facilitate the change.


On the technology side, assessing the current situation and future requirements is the first thing to do and then deciding upon the IIoT platform's target architecture. It is followed by studying the impact of integrating cloud computing into the overall design of the platform. Lastly, the ecosystem of vendors and partners to support implementation is set up by factoring in complexities such as plant size, manufacturing type and products, and IT-OT landscape.

Benefits of IIoT

IoT consists of sensors that can process data and exchange it between other devices and systems over the Internet or other communications network. As a result, the manufacturing unit can take advantage of this technology in numerous ways to improve efficiency, reduce downtimes, and provide a more secure and safe working environment for its workforce.

Improve efficiency and reduce down-times

The IIoT-connected machines can capture and transmit invaluable data and communicate its status in real-time; thus, the operators and engineers can get insights and predict when the system requires maintenance or supervision.

With IIoT, manufacturers can predict when a machine will get damaged or enter a critical operating condition that can cause damage to property and workers. In addition, the sensors connected to the devices feed insight into its health and its performance indicators, so the operators and engineers in charge know when to step in and what to do, to resolve the issues and bring the process back to maximum efficiency without much downtime.

Organize assets and facilities

After manufacturing, all the equipment and finished goods go into a massive inventory. However, due to limited space, inventory might be spread across the site, making it hard to find anything on time. With the help of IIoT, managers can efficiently improve the workers’ time to be used on productive tasks by finding the inventory using a location tracking system powered by IoT. This enables engineers and operators to ensure that all the assets in the manufacturing plant can be easily tracked and organized, saving much time for workers.

Disrupt business models

In the future, the probability of getting high-value equipment embedded with built-in sensors marketed as a product or a service is more. Such high-tech machines will be provided on lease rather than selling, with the equipment owners having the ability to control the equipment remotely and deliver maintenance, repairs, and upgrades. These type of machine availability allows companies to focus on manufacturing more efficiently rather than worrying about maintenance and repairs.

How to implement and scale IoT successfully

Implementing and scaling IoT can be a challenging task with many moving parts. However, here are some guidelines that you can use as a roadmap to implement IoT in your company successfully.

Identify your goals and objectives

Definitive and measurable goals with clear objectives enable you to move the needle faster when it comes to IoT implementation and scaling. Working towards a definite role allows you to define KPIs and find solutions to specific business problems. In addition, well-laid objectives provide management with an idea to identify and work on particular areas that require improvement.

Layout a plan and identify measures of success

A well-laid-out plan enables the management to see their next step clearly and work towards achieving it. This includes collecting the data to determine what technology to use to address specific challenges and issues. For example, it might consist of modifications to the existing network infrastructures, attracting significant investment in time and money.

Create a strategy

Create a strategic plan that enables a quick return on investment (RoI) on a small scale. Then define the metrics that can measure success in a specific time frame. The strategic plan must answer accurate metrics such as the RoI and what value the technology brings when implemented.

Integrate culture and Identify talent

Implementing IoT brings a convergence in different departments, which results in a change in work culture within the organization. Therefore, the management should provide the proper training to ensure the new culture is integrated well among employees and take significant effort to identify, hire, and retain IIoT talent to thrive in the dynamic work environment.

Take calculated risks and implement them at scale

After the strategy is laid out, it's better to make improvements and iterate after taking feedback from stakeholders and then craft the final plan. Lastly, create a roadmap that contains the scope, its engineering and organizational challenges, and an overall estimate of the cost, time, and resources required to implement and scale it across the organization.