The Internet of things is an enabler for many of our current challenges in mill products – from managing assets better, optimizing supply chain, reducing cost, increasing quality, improving operational efficiency, enabling new business models.
But how to get there?
Before even deciding which tools to use, the key question is what to focus on? What are the best use cases to get started?
You could look at what your peers are talking about (and doing). You could brainstorm with business and your technology team to identify valuable and viable cases. You could look for external advice.
Combine two proven approaches: Design Thinking and Prototyping
Design thinking is a great approach to go broad (and generate many ideas relevant to your business), and to focus on those ideas that generate most value.
Picture courtesy of Nicole Ebber via wikimedia: The Design Thinking process, referring to an Anja Wölbling, Kira Krämer, Clemens N. Buss, Katrin Dribbisch, Peter LoBue, and Abraham Taherivand 2012. “Design Thinking: An Innovative Concept for Developing User-Centered Software”, in Software for People, Mädche, Alexander (eds.), Berlin: Springer, pp. 121ff.
Building real prototypes (e.g. with the SAP DIgital Studio approach) is very helpful to test your ideas.
Once you have tested your ideas (and the external “inspiration”), a pilot or PoC is the next logical step. Depending on the use case, several mill companies build an own application on an IoT platform (like the SAP Leonardo Platform).
A good alternative is to connect an existing out-of-the-box application (like SAP’s Predictive Maintenance and Service) with your “plant reality”, and start from here.
For the German speakers, here’s a good article on SAP’s Digital Studio and how paper company WEIG used the approach to generate new ideas.
Real world example of agile innovation: Severstal
At his keynote at the SAP Metal and Mining Forum 2016, Severstal CIO Yuri Shekhovtsov shared their innovation approach. If you did not have the chance to attend, I strongly recommend to check the recorded video and slides. Yuri shares the ideas they generated, plus the approach and methodology behind.