Overslaan naar hoofdinhoud
collega's overleggen over de productie

Seven reasons to start with Smart Manufacturing Today

Laura Nuhaan

Laura Nuhaan

Digital advisor

Leestijd, 5 min.

We just came back from the Hannover Messe Industrial (HMI) full of inspiration on the possibilities of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and AI applications in manufacturing. A visitor whom has been visiting HMI for many years said about this year Messe: “Every year the digital part of HMI is becoming larger and if you are expecting plain components you will be disappointed. You can simply not ignore technology anymore. “ And he is right.

What is smart manufacturing

Smart manufacturing was one of the main key themes at the HMI of this year. We see smart manufacturing as a technology-driven approach that connecting data from the digital and physical world drives new insights for manufacturers and helps solving business challenges. By implementing digital capabilities manufacturers are empowered to face the modern manufacturing challenges such as meeting increasing demands of highly customized products, increase flexibility, reduce lead time, reducing energy and resources consumption and increasing quality. Because of new data driven insights new value can be created and new business models arise.

Don’t stay behind

More and more companies are embracing smart manufacturing which is shown in the infographic.

If you have not done so already, now is the time to strategize around digital opportunities for your factories and think of a smart manufacturing strategy of your own. If you don’t start today you might be at risk of getting behind of your competitors.

Still need some more convincing to start with smart manufacturing?

We have summarized 7 key reasons why you should start today together with some examples.

1. Increase Visibility
2. Optimize Productivity
3. Lower Costs
4. Improve Quality
5. Augment Safety
6. Increase Sustainability
7. Create Value

1. Increase Visibility

Data is abundant but not always “visible” and interconnected. Bringing together different sources in the factory (machine telemetry, sensors, cameras, smart building sensors etc.) as well as Operational Technology systems such as SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) , DCS (Distributed Control Systems) HMI (Human Machine Interface) MES (Manufacturing Executive System) , etc. provide useful insights and contextualized information to management to assess performance on multiple levels: from a single machine to production line to the entire factory. An example of how such a dashboard would like is given below.

With dynamic dashboards insights processes can be improved and learnings can be used to identify best practices. Advanced analytics accelerates how benchmarking and scorecards worked in the past. It enables management to identify problem areas before even operators find out about it and it helps find solutions to problems quickly and makes remote monitoring possible. Once visibility is achieved next step consists in leveraging advanced analytics such as Machine Learning and AI leading towards predictive and cognitive models.

2. Optimize Productivity

Connected factories lead to higher productivity because of better insights and AI. Especially helpful here are digital twins of products and processes. The pairing of the virtual and physical worlds allows analysis of data and monitoring of systems to eliminate problems before they even occur, prevent downtime, ease training and enhance processes by using simulations.
For example, a company that has successfully transformed digitally is Tetra Pak. Digital is part of their core strategy and through the use of the latest digital technologies has drastically improved their ability to predict machine errors while also accelerating response times (predictive  maintenance) and bringing new value to their customers.

3. Lower Costs

Savings and operational excellence are often the main driver to start with connected factories. By connecting factories an average of 20-30 % of savings in maintenance costs are possible through virtualization and insights, real-time communication and co-bots. An example, Schneidner and AVEVA have leveraged HoloLens to optimize ItalPresse’s entire manufacturing processes by creating virtual prototypes (so-called digital twin processes) even before the plant was built, resulting in not only cost reduction but also efficiency saving. Another interesting case is Toyota Material Handling where they train autonomous pallet drones using Microsoft AirSim and mixed reality. See a short video here. The drones are not only trained not only to recognize patterns, automate processes and learn the flow on the plant floor but also to work safely alongside humans

4. Improve Quality

Camera sensors combined with AI help detect defects in quality with higher degrees of accuracy. Increased quality will save costs while also decreasing the risk of a negative image impact in case of recalls or customer complaints. A newly introduced revolutionary optical sorting system has been introduced by Buhler working closely with Microsoft. It not only improves the food cleaning process but can eliminate over 90% of contaminated grain where conventional machines only eliminate 50%. Read more in this article from Forbes.

5. Augment Safety

Safety and its related costs can be affected positively using IoT, AI and Mixed Reality. Smart badges and smart PPE can report accidents and risk conditions. Safe behavior can be stimulated by using bots as a companion to remind or instruct employees to follow the right process. Training with the use of HoloLens helps engaging employees while decreasing costs allowing virtual interaction in the mixed reality space.

6. Increase sustainability

Higher efficiency, productivity and reduction of defects by early quality issue identification helps improving energy and resources usage. Abnormal energy pattern can be easily identified by adoption of ML and schedule optimization leads to reduced machines standby hours. Also smart building applications like smart lighting, smart heating can lead to energy savings anywhere from 13-66%.

7. Create value

Probably the most exciting part that data and IoT bring is the possibility of creating new ways of value. An example of being able to create new value is Thyssen Krupp who transformed from a pure elevator manufacturer to a new model of offering elevators as a service. An example is their IoT based predictive service solution for elevators that can reduce elevator downtime by up to 50%. See the short video here. Or Schneider’s electric traceability tool for the food and beverage industry which leverages blockchain and their own knowledge in the food and beverage domain to launch this new tool in making the very complex food chain more transparent and provide customers with peace of mind.

And this is just the beginning…

Want to know more, or get started? Read our whitepaper to learn more about IoT for manufacturing or if you would like to get more information on our different offerings and technology within Smart Manufacturing, you can visit our IoT for manufacturing page.

Duurzaam ondernemen met Surface? Leer meer in dit webinar.

Ontdek hoe Microsoft en Surface invulling geven aan jou MVO-missie.

Ontdek meer gerelateerde artikelen per branche:


Financiële dienstverlening




  • Snel reageren op veranderingen in de markt is moeilijk maar broodnodig

    Snel reageren op veranderingen in de markt is moeilijk maar broodnodig

    Ondernemers ondersteunen in hun business-uitdagingen; dat is waar Microsoft en haar partners graag een rol in spelen. De ambities en passies van ondernemers vormen de basis van verhalen die wij hier graag met jou delen. Hiermee willen wij jou inspireren en laten zien hoe technische oplossingen ondernemers helpen om alle elementen in hun bedrijf te […]

  • Twee technici bereiden zich voor op onderhoud in een cleanroom

    ASML: een nieuwe kijk op klantsupport met mixed reality-technologie

    “In onze branche staat er veel op het spel. Als een van onze machines er een dag uit ligt, kunnen de kosten voor een chipmaker in de miljoenen lopen.” Werken onder druk is iets wat Michiel Haverkorn Van Rijsewijk gewend is sinds hij in februari 2020 begon als Director of Customer Support bij ASML. Binnen […]


  • The intelligent retail organization

    The intelligent retail organization

    De kansen van een digitale transformatiestrategie binnen de retail zijn nog nooit zo groot geweest! Retailers worden overspoeld met termen en sessies over GDPR, Artificial Intelligence (AI) en chatbots. Maar hoe kunnen retailers deze technologieën optimaal inzetten of voor zich laten werken om klanttevredenheid te verhogen, service te verbeteren, marges te verhogen, voorraadbeheer te optimaliseren, […]

  • Klant echt koning dankzij digitaal winkelpersoneel

    Klant echt koning dankzij digitaal winkelpersoneel

    Winkelmedewerkers zijn de ambassadeurs van je merk. Als klanten snel en goed geholpen worden, kopen ze meer en komen ze graag terug. Medewerkers die zich betrokken voelen met de winkel en alles weten over de producten kunnen de optimale service bieden. Digitale hulpmiddelen helpen daarbij en maken van gewoon winkelpersoneel persoonlijke koopassistenten. Een positieve merkbeleving […]


Ontdek meer gerelateerde artikelen per dossier:

Digitale transformatie

  • Van start-up tot scale-up: de levenscyclus van ondernemingen

    Van start-up tot scale-up: de levenscyclus van ondernemingen

    Niels Lohuis (Product Marketing Manager Microsoft Nederland) gaat in gesprek met verschillende ondernemers over ‘technologie als groeiversneller voor ondernemers’. In deel I praat hij met Enno Masurel. Een groter pand, nieuwe producten of diensten, (meer) mensen in dienst nemen, innoveren, nieuwe verkooppunten openen, misschien wel wereldwijd… Groeien houdt voor iedere ondernemer weer iets anders in. […]



  • Three ways BIM Cloud Workspace will give your construction company a competitive advantage

    Three ways BIM Cloud Workspace will give your construction company a competitive advantage

    It should come as no surprise that many construction companies encounter various challenges in terms of their application landscape. Companies that are involved in the design of buildings or tunnels, for example, use applications that demand a lot of graphics processing power from their computer systems. That’s why you still see BIM modellers dragging along […]


  • Intercept

    Intercept is Microsoft Country Partner Of The Year 2020

    Intercept is uitgeroepen tot Microsoft Country Partner of the Year 2020. Een prestigieuze prijs die uitsluitend wordt uitgereikt aan partners die zich onderscheiden in een vooraanstaand veld. Deze award is de bekroning op de jarenlange samenwerking tussen Intercept en Microsoft. Intercept wordt onder meer erkend voor het leveren van toonaangevende en waardevolle oplossingen voor ISV’s. […]

Pers / Nieuws

  • een man met een hololens

    Verandering in een stroomversnelling

    De eerste fase van de COVID-19-uitbraak stond vooral in het teken van snelle oplossingen en crisismanagement om de dagelijkse gang van zaken in goede banen te leiden. Nu gaan we over naar een nieuwe fase, een hybride realiteit, waarin we zowel thuis als op locatie werken. Een tijd waarin verzorgingstehuizen weer voorzichtig opengaan en bedrijven […]

Security & Privacy

  • Sneller, gemakkelijker én goedkoper back-ups maken

    Sneller, gemakkelijker én goedkoper back-ups maken

    Azure Backup toont back-ups in de cloud- en on-premise in één oogopslag Wat als de zaak afbrandt? De belastingdienst 7 jaar na dato nog documenten wil inzien? Of een systeembeheerder een ‘klein’ foutje heeft gemaakt? Gelukkig is er dan altijd nog de back-up waar alle gegevens staan en waardoor continuïteit en compliancy gewaarborgd zijn. Vroeger […]


  • Twee vrouwen en één man brainstormen in een informele kantooromgeving. De vrouwen gebruiken laptops en de man schrijft met de hand. Op de achtergrond staat een groot scherm.

    Moderne verkooptrends voor 2019 in 5 webinars

    De relatie tussen kopers en verkopers wordt elke dag ingewikkelder. Voor elk potentieel partnerschap moet de juiste koper worden gevonden, kennis over hun bedrijf worden verzameld, de voortgang in de koopcyclus worden bijgehouden en de juiste content worden aangeboden, wanneer en hoe ze dat willen. Deze veranderingen in dynamiek onderstrepen het belang van moderne verkoop. […]


  • een close-up van een logo

    Microsoft Power Platform Virtual Training Day

    The Microsoft Power Platform Virtual Training Day will cover everything you need to know about building and managing innovative business solutions. You’ll discover how to connect data to analyze real-time business performance, act on insights with custom-built apps, and automate workflows to improve how people work. All sessions were recorded at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando […]