Speed of Life: Harley-Davidson case
Recently, analysts from all over the world are suggesting there will be more than 25 billion internet-connected devices by 2020. I am still thinking about the mass production of those devices and how humans will reach the point to be surrounded by silicon materials. The reality of those events will increase the speed of the life we live in today. Harley Davidson is one of the best examples of that.
When you go to a fully IoT-enabled plant
Harley, the famous American motorcycle manufacturer, founded in 1903 (for those who does not know it), shifted one of its production plants to one that was fully IoT-enabled. They went from a traditional manufacturing methodology to sensorised automation solutions to empower their employees with advance technologies to do better their jobs. They were mainly reducing the time workers needed to spend on rote or monotonous tasks.
The production of these motorbikes had dynamism and performance obstacles, the workforce was expensive, and the data unusable. It took about a year and a half to implement the improvements in these vehicles. The American brand decided to enable one of its factories entirely with the Internet of Things technology, combined everything in a single network, and consolidated the data. In this way, the time needed to correct the errors was reduced from 18 months to two weeks. With a single factory transformed, Harley-Davidson's profits increased by almost 4%.
Going around this Digital Transformation experiment. Harley decided to use sensors and their associated applications to streamline production. Some examples: they implemented sensors in the spray rooms to detect stuff like temperature, humidity, and additional related data so that an autonomous machine can adapt how it work when conditions vary from the ideal environment.
The impact was incredible. The plant decreased its 21-day production for new orders to 6 hours. Cutting operating costs by $200 million. Today, Harley Davidson builds a new motorcycle every 86 second. Can we go faster than that? Improve production efficiency, and minimize downtime on a scale combining all plants?