With shrinking margins and increasing pressure to deliver better, faster, and cheaper goods and services, manufacturers must find ways to improve efficiencies, reduce costs, and open new revenue streams - none of which can be accomplished without embracing the IIoT.

Deciding Whether to Build or Buy an IIoT Solution
Deciding Whether to Build or Buy an IIoT Solution

Guneet Bedi | Relayr

Tell us a bit about relayr and your role in the manufacturing industry?

Relayr is an industrial IoT (IIoT) company providing IoT platforms and solutions to aid in the digital transformation of industries like manufacturing, heavy industrial, and automotive.

We offer risk-free technology implementations that are already transforming organizations across a variety of verticals. As examples, relayr has strategic partnerships with:

  • GROHE, the world’s leading provider of sanitary fittings on intelligent systems, to reduce the risk of water damage.

  • FLANDERS, a global leader in custom manufacturing, integration, and deployment of advanced technologies for electric rotating systems in heavy industry, to reduce downtime and improve asset performance.

  • Coborn Engineering, a global provider of engineered solutions for the diamond industry, on smart grinding machines and an innovative pay-per-use model which will make financing Coborn machines easier for customers.

  • Leoni, a global provider of energy and data management solutions in the automotive sector, to improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and reduce downtime of robotic manufacturing lines for carmakers and suppliers. 


Why should a company integrate an IIoT solution into their manufacturing process?

Industrial and manufacturing companies are faced with disruptive technology and market forces driving a need for them to innovate and digitize to stay relevant. However, the manufacturing industry is still the least digitally advanced. Not surprisingly, it stands to gain the most from the IIoT. With shrinking margins and increasing pressure to deliver better, faster, and cheaper goods and services, manufacturers must find ways to improve efficiencies, reduce costs, and open new revenue streams - none of which can be accomplished without embracing the IIoT.

Relayr is helping revitalize these industries and the regions where they operate, as well as future-proofing their revenue. Our IIoT solutions allow our customers to optimize their operations using data harvested on the edge and in the cloud. Analyzing and acting on that data helps companies streamline operations, gain greater control over the life of their machines, reduce maintenance costs, and lower unplanned downtime.


Some decision-makers think they can save time and money by implementing an IIoT solution in-house. What are the considerations they should make before they get started? What are the considerations they should make when looking for a third-party partner?

When deciding between working with a third-party/experienced partner, or building an in-house IIoT solution, there are many things a company needs to consider, such as personnel.

Building the most basic solution will require a specialized team of (at least) engineers, software developers, technicians, and estimator to properly execute the project. If you do have these employees, it leads to the next question – can you afford to have the employees work on this new in-house project? Having your current team build the solution will divert them from the day-to-day work they were hired to do. 

If you take on the costly approach of hiring new staff, consider this: once your IIoT solution is built, you’ll also need a separate team available to actively monitor, interpret, and update your devices. Understandably, this is why many businesses opt to partner with a third-party provider.

If you decide to go the third-party route, be sure to pick a company that will understand your business goals. Every company needs a unique solution. A great partner to have is one where they will sit down with to discover what your business really needs to reach your end goals, and then be with you throughout the process.


How do IIoT solutions impact small-scale manufacturing companies?

No matter the size, IIoT solutions can benefit a company. Even small-scale manufacturing companies can incorporate IIoT technology to transform their business models. This helps to generate more consistency with customers and more revenue and expansion potential.

In manufacturing, around 15 to 20 percent of the cost goes into buying the machinery and the other 80 percent is for operating the machine – energy, repairs, services, and maintenance cost much more money over time. And many times, a piece of machinery is going to last 10-15 years, making many customer interactions a one-time-only occurrence. Switching from a CAPEX (capital expense) to an OPEX (operating expense) model allows companies to offer their machines on a “pay-per-use” basis. This saves customers a significant upfront investment. Instead, they pay a certain amount per month, depending on usage. Meanwhile, businesses benefit from more predictable and stable revenues and more opportunities to grow.


Can the company expect much downtime while the solution is being implemented?

Where companies plan to save money, they can expect to lose time. A Forbes Insights Report found it takes a business one-and-a-quarter years longer to develop and deploy its IIoT platform compared to working with a third-party. This doesn’t mean a company can’t go the journey alone, but they’ll want to be very confident they have the time, resources, and personnel to make their solution worthwhile.

In terms of an actual rollout, some companies are in a place where they can do a total transformation and completely switch their business models; others prefer to take smaller, more incremental steps. 


Can you describe a test case where relayr tackled a unique problem for one of its clients?

We helped Coborn, a leading supplier of machines for the diamond tooling industry, grow their business and provide enhanced services to their clients. Coborn holds a strong share of their market: around 80% of high-value diamonds in the world are polished on a Coborn scaife. However, Coborn’s CAPEX model meant that customers had to purchase the devices outright, preventing the company from expanding their business further.

To fuel new growth, greater performance, and predictability of its machines, and improve customer satisfaction, Coborn wanted to make its machines “smart” and offer a decentralized pay-as-you-go system. We worked with them to make this a reality. Now the company can predict and resolve failures proactively and guarantee performance and availability. Thanks to IIoT, Coborn has also been able to expand into new markets beyond diamonds, like automotive, construction, and healthcare. See this video to hear from the team at Coborn about their company’s transformation: https://relayr.io/use-cases/coborn.


About Guneet Bedi, GM of the Americas for relayr
Guneet Singh Bedi joined relayr in February 2016 as Vice President Global Sales, GM – Americas. Guneet brought years of experience with him, including a previous position as General Manager for one of Cisco’s IoT software business units. At relayr he leads the global sales team, overseeing all sales, business development and revenue generation efforts. Guneet’s extensive tech background includes pushing groundbreaking technologies, such as IIoT, business intelligence applications and service-orientated architecture, making relayr’s disruptive IoT technology the perfect fit for him. This is especially true for relayr’s business transformation through “servitization” solutions. In his free time, you can usually find Guneet sailing in the Pacific.


The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of ManufacturingTomorrow

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