Fresh Perspectives on Global Stories

The Role of IoT in Revolutionizing SME Business Operations


As of late, various evolving digital technologies change the way as to how the pace and scale of businesses are improving. IoT is one such technology that disrupts all industries and revamps the processes to create more wealth. IoT is now a critical part of sustainable divisions of all industries where its deliverables create value. This article will explore how the SME sector can leverage IoT technologies to drive in more benefits and enjoy better growth.

Internet of Things has now poised the next wave of technological innovation, which started during the industrial revolution of the 18th century. This industrial revolution empowered the companies to create huge wealth by harnessing energy from coal and steam to mechanize their production. Still, now IoT enables organizations to transform their businesses. This is done by leveraging the huge data stores from different machines and other sources and turning them into actionable insights.

Employment impact

In terms of the employment impact, we can see how the manufacturing industry has been affected by the effects of automation. An example is China, which pulled millions of people out of the long-existing poverty and unemployment by leveraging labor arbitrage, which is now investing heavily in deploying robots in manufacturing. In a paper submitted by the Boston University, about six may lose their jobs for each robot per every thousand workers in manufacturing.

IoT creating an ecosystem for the SME sector

When it comes to SMEs, we can consider three broad areas that manufacturing industry companies need to be part of IoT transformation initiatives. There are:

  1. Connected plants: Betterment of operational efficiency of the assets in physical plants and associated processing resulting in enhanced utilization of assets. Other considerations related to these are the operational and maintenance costs while improving production and uptime.
  2. Connected enterprises: This is the approach of enhancing the operational efficiency of the enterprises, which results in higher productivity of the employer by lowering the cost of IT infrastructure and optimizing the supply chain’s performance.
  3. Connected customers: By improving the marketing effectiveness, sales, and support of products and services with new business models to improve production efficiency and revenue.

In many cases, these connected devices come into play in our daily lives, too knowingly or unknowingly. Every interaction you have with the internet-based services and telephone apps is being converted into connected devices data, which is further being used to improve the quality of the provider services and gather user information for personalized communications. IoT now broadens the scope of the same as everything we interact with as electronics, home appliances, or even wearables can be a part of the IoT ecosystem and convert these into valuable and insightful data.

Prioritizing SME sector

While IoT offers a full range of possibilities, SME sector organizations also need to look at different priorities below. They can use whatever is suitable for their requirements to get the best results.

  • Connected manufacturing: The manufacturing units can integrate the in-store data with the overall enterprise data to apply various analytical models for improving efficiency and reducing process defects. In a real-time scenario, this is how the leaders in auto components have enhanced their operational efficiency by reducing the cost of energy, optimizing capacity utilization, and collecting real-time data for different parameters across the production machines.
  • Connected assets: Manufacturers can effectively leverage advanced analytics and IoT to improve monetization and collect data about customer behavior, machine performance, environmental impact, etc., to understand the customer needs and provide new services to address the same. In real-time, the equipment manufacturers for construction industries now connect with their machinery in the worksites. They can monitor the performance and health remotely to deliver value to the dealers and end customers. Such a framework required good remote database administration services as offered by
  • Connected supply chain: When it comes to IoT connectivity, it can ensure end-to-end visibility and real-time. The information can effectively flow between customers and suppliers for agile decision-making, thereby reducing the risk for any disruptions. As the real-world objects get embedded with the sensors, various goods, and information flow are also converging. This further ensures granular visibility on the organizational resources at various locations. It thereby ensures availability and compliance with the expected delivery times on the supply side and capturing the customer trends to keep delivery promises on the demand side by enabling agile and learner responsive supply chains.
  • Connected services & products: Once the product is made and reached the end-user, the maker has no idea how the customers are using it and where it is used. The current state of the product and challenges are also not known. When such a product starts to return the data to the maker, there are many new services like proactive maintenance, remote diagnostic; fraud detection, performance feedback, etc. can be enabled. Various SMEs like tool manufacturers and vehicle part manufacturers now collect data from their tools, which are used for customer service and predictive maintenance. This will also help to avoid any tool breakdowns and reduce any setup time.

There are various ways through which IoT will help to change the ways as to how service businesses are run. The pre-emptive services trigger some actions based on the possibilities of any impending failure in the field. IoT can also enable the organizations to use some real-time data from the equipment and bring to the attention of the apt technicians at the right time for diagnostic support and improve productivity by avoiding any chance of failure.

To conclude, it is always fair to say that IoT will help enable the entire range of options based on various business models. The enterprise SMEs need to focus more on driving their internal efficiencies through connected manufacturing approaches and stay connected to their products reached to various customers. It will help to grow the service revenues for a business and improve their visibility and efficiency in supply chain and customer service etc.