American manufacturers cannot do anything about the pandemic, but they do have one economic arrow in their quiver to use to counteract the downward economic direction – that is, adopting the Machine as a Service approach toward deploying additional machinery. American manufacturers who cannot come up with the capital to purchase new machinery can still gain a competitive advantage by using the same machinery on a MaaS basis.
Taking advantage of the flexibility to deploy machinery via MaaS really changes the equation. When the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) is added to this equation, the American manufacturer benefits in another way in that the newly deployed machinery will experience less downtime, which will make labor more efficient.
So, the American manufacturer takes lemons and makes lemonade for themselves and for the equipment supplier. The American manufacturer changes a situation where no machinery could have been purchased, to a situation where the machinery was obtained via MaaS and now also experiences excellent “uptime.”
Additionally, from the perspective of the OEM supplier, a machine that may never have been sold, can now be deployed via MaaS. It is a classic win/win.
This win/win can be made into a win/win/win if the full IIOT is embraced. An individual service technician who would make an onsite service visit to perform troubleshooting, service, or maintenance on equipment, can potentially perform all three actions remotely using technology. At the very least, the need for all three should be reduced by proactively monitoring the overall health and performance of equipment. The end result is a reduced need for a service technician to be onsite. There’s a cost savings with that, as well as reduced risk, during a pandemic, for virus exposure. That’s the third “win” in win/win/win.
There’s very little downside to this MaaS/IIOT approach other than an all-in commitment by the OEM to invest in the best technology to support MaaS, and a commitment by both the end-manufacturer and the machine builder to collaborate. Collaboration involves a commitment to confidentiality and security of sensitive information – in other words, the intellectual property of the manufacturer.
With foresight, collaboration, and a bit of true grit, the American Manufacturer can make it through this pandemic – and any other crisis – and thrive, by embracing the new MaaS/IIOT paradigm and gaining a competitive edge.
As described above, the opportunity and the wins are plentiful.