Beyond the Sensor—IoT as a Starting Point for Solving Your Organization’s Most Pressing Tech Challenges

Man in a hard hat reviewing data on a tablet

Man in a hard hat reviewing data on a tablet

Across virtually every industry, in healthcare, industrial, retail and other settings, IoT is a go-to way of monitoring everything from user behavior, to equipment to the environment. It can even be used to keep track of what’s happening within our bodies. But the bigger question is why? Why are you monitoring those endpoints, and what problem are you trying to solve? Fundamentally, IoT is about data, and it’s often just a starting point. It is part of a large ecosystem of other data sources and technologies that you can bring to bear to solve your organization’s—and in some cases, the world’s—most pressing challenges. 

And in fact, long-term, sustainable solutions often extend beyond technology. People and processes may be at the root of your challenges, and you will need to look beyond the sensor to effect change. 

From When to Why: How IoT Brought a People and Practices Issue to the Forefront

Case in point: a leading lumber company’s door manufacturing business was among its most profitable segments. They were looking to increase their return on investment by making their machines more productive. That meant finding ways to make them run faster and reduce idle time. They reached out to Kopius, and as a first step, we worked with them to put sensors on their machines so we could pull data to better understand when they were idle and for how long. It was valuable information, but to increase productivity, we needed to understand why they were idle.  

It wasn’t because of mechanical issues. Instead, the answer had to do with the way orders are processed and initiated for manufacturing, which is a people and process issue. The company’s order fulfillment process was largely manual. When an order came in, a physical bill of material was created, then someone walked it over to the area of the facility dedicated to door manufacturing. Often, they were pulled away, distracted by a more time sensitive task or by a coworker. In other cases, materials for the doors would get delivered to the wrong area. So, to solve the problem of humans being prone to error, we recommended a change management process and leveraged automation to support better tracking of materials. The expected impact was a 40% increase in production and $50M increase in annual revenue for the door division.

For this company, the initial request for IoT sensors was just the starting point for long term efficiency, agility, and sustainability. It sparked ongoing discussions that have opened a world of possibilities for what other insights could be gleaned from their data. What kinds of sensors would generate data that would help them predict when their equipment needed servicing? How could they lay a foundation for storing and structuring their data so when the time is right, they can leverage AI to gain insights into their business that humans can’t see?

Tablet with chart and stylus

A Problem-First, Technology Second Approach

This experience underscores my initial point. IoT is just one element of a larger ecosystem of technology, data, and process improvements that can be brought to bear to solve your business challenges. If you stay focused on the why—your underlying business problem—and let that guide your technology approach, you can take your business farther, faster.

JumpStart IoT Success

Innovating technology is crucial, or your business will be left behind. Our expertise in technology and business helps our clients deliver tangible outcomes and accelerate growth. At Kopius, we’ve designed a program to JumpStart your customer, technology, and data success.

Kopius has an expert emerging tech team. We bring this expertise to your JumpStart program and help uncover innovative ideas and technologies supporting your business goals. We bring fresh perspectives while focusing on your current operations to ensure the greatest success.

Partner with Kopius and JumpStart your future success.