Observability for Manufacturing: Top 5 Challenges and How Monitoring Can Help

Observability for Manufacturing: Top 5 Challenges and How Monitoring Can Help

The manufacturing industry has been on a journey of digitization and automation for a couple of decades now. This transformation towards automation is increasingly being accelerated by AI, robotics, and the public cloud. It’s expanding to encompass every aspect of the modern manufacturing business, including areas like customer service and even marketing. The evolution of IoT and sensor technologies alongside advanced digital modeling allows modern manufacturing businesses to drive innovation and change at an accelerated pace. Analyzing data from digital prototypes can accelerate the development of a product significantly. In this blog post, I will explore some of the technology trends in manufacturing, some pitfalls and challenges, and how monitoring can help to ensure a smooth implementation of cutting-edge technologies. 

AI in Customer Service and Analytics

An effective AI implementation is built on data. Strategies for things like predictive maintenance, digital applications for customer success, and BPM all rely on accurate environmental data. By leveraging environmental sensor data and AI, it is possible to predict spikes in temperature, humidity, or other factors which could take a plant offline

The manufacturing sector is still experimenting with AI and has successfully implemented AI in several areas, but compared to other industries, the market is not a mature user of AI today. Leveraging technology partners who already offer this technology will be key to accelerating the use of AI and digital transformation in general. One thing that we have seen across the majority of industries is the rise of the chatbot to deliver first-line customer support. Implementing an effective chatbot could reduce customer service costs by 20-30%.  

Digital Twin

Originally pioneered by NASA, the Digital Twin has been one of the top technology trends for more than five years now. Mirroring physical environments in a digital framework is key to product innovation, improving processes, reducing downtime and waste, as well as improving customer experience. With the advancement of IoT and AI, Digital Twin technology is fast becoming the mainstream as manufacturers attempt to keep up with the market leaders in their field. Ensuring these models are populated with the right data is important. This can be achieved with the right kind of monitoring for each component part. 

Intelligent Automation and RPA

Automating repetitive processes with RPA can help beyond just the manufacturing process. It is also useful in other areas like order processing and logistical operations where staff have to repeat multiple tasks that could be automated. The obvious contenders for RPA, like customer service, are now automated in the majority of companies. Increasingly, RPA is now being applied to other time-consuming processes within a business, resulting in better employee customer satisfaction and productivity.

IIoT

IoT in manufacturing can bring great benefits like cost savings, better visibility of plant operations, and can help determine the root cause of outages. Managing a complex OT environment with a large number of IoT devices and sensors can be overwhelming. Consolidation of tooling to give complete visibility across the IT and OT estate is essential to fully take advantage of these new technologies

Common Challenges Faced by Manufacturing Organizations

What Are the Benefits of Managing IT and OT Holistically?

Data silos contribute to business downtime, and teams typically troubleshoot problems in isolation within silos. A lack of a unified view of an organization’s entire infrastructure increases troubleshooting time and downtime of production environments. By coordinating IT and OT, a manufacturing organization could benefit from more streamlined processes. 

Where Are There Gaps in Visibility Across the Technology Stack?

Broader breadth of coverage from monitoring and management solutions is essential. Many manufacturing businesses are embracing the cloud but still need to maintain older networking and production technologies. This can introduce gaps in coverage from a monitoring and visibility standpoint. 

How Do I Keep Track of Custom and Bespoke Technology Like IoT and Sensors?

Understanding the performance of IoT and bespoke technology is essential in a modern manufacturing environment, but can be difficult to do. As a business starts to try and leverage IoT and AI for intelligent automation, introducing a data management platform for this information will likely be necessary. 

Can Technology Stay Secure as Manufacturers Try to Leverage Cloud and IoT?

Industrial espionage is an everyday reality as manufacturers come under attack from hackers trying to disrupt operations or steal corporate secrets. Ransomware is here to stay, but there are more sinister cyber-security worries from worms like Stuxnet, designed to disrupt and take down automated industrial processes. In the world of IIoT and fully connected infrastructure, you need to minimize exposure of production environments to the outside world and secure any communications with this environment

How To Improve the Uptime of Critical Infrastructure

Most businesses are digital businesses and arguably the outage of a website can create losses in revenue and can impact reputation. In the manufacturing world, it is much more costly. Downtime of systems and infrastructure has a direct, negative financial impact on business profitability. Being able to troubleshoot problems quickly and effectively is key to reducing downtime. Modern techniques like root cause analysis should help organizations quickly identify the device or application responsible for the outage. 

LogicMonitor Solution for the Manufacturing Industry

Single Pane of Glass for IT and OT

LogicMonitor marries visibility into your traditional and cloud workloads with your IoT and production systems. This allows you to troubleshoot and optimize the system as a whole.

LogicMonitor showing Information Technology and Operational Technology

Simplified Extensibility Into IoT, With Easy Customization for New Technologies

The LM Exchange makes new templates that were built by LogicMonitor and customers for new technologies available for your use. LogicMonitor makes custom monitoring templates straightforward with our rapid prototyping capabilities, and we also have a large team of professional services engineers available to help users customize their monitoring based on needs.

LogicModules within the LogicMonitor platform, showing packages for SSL, VMware and Kubernetes

Secure by Design

LogicMonitor’s platform is secure. The following are just some of the ways LogicMonitor ensures user and systems security.

Secure Architecture 

  • RBAC, 2FA.
  • Encryption of data in transit and at rest.

Secure Data Collection

  • Only outbound communication allowed from LM Collector.
  • Data encrypted with TLS.
  • LM Collectors securely locked to your environment.

Secure Operations 

  • Collectors based on hardened Linux with perimeter and host-based IPS.
  • Operated out of top-tier DCs and AWS regions.
  • All with top security measures in place.

Secure Practices

  • Minimal personal data stored.
  • Device access credentials stored in memory and never written to disk.
  • Salted one-way hashes used in place of user passwords.

Secure Standards

  • Constant penetration testing ensures maximum security.
  • SOC2 validates our controls for security.
  • High availability and confidentiality.

In addition to LogicMonitor’s native platform, by leveraging a secure proxy, user operations teams will retain complete control of communications. This allows users to lock down traffic out of their networks to minimize exposure to external bad actors.

Makes Use of AIOps To Forecast and Identify Anomalies

LogicMonitor’s AIOps features intelligently detect service-impacting signals from noise, make signals more actionable, and reduce the flurry of false alerts that keep teams up at night. With alert escalation chains, users can ensure the right team members are informed via SMS, email, chat, or ITSM integrations. LogicMonitor’s AIOps capabilities enable teams to identify the root cause of an outage and put an end to alert storms with built-in dynamic thresholds and root cause analysis.

Contextual insight: AIOps driven forecasting and anomaly detection graph

One Platform for Unified Observability – Metrics, Logs, Traces, and Powerful AIOps Capabilities

  • Metrics – The most comprehensive monitoring platform with coverage for more than 2,500 different technologies spanning network, cloud, containers, and applications.
  • Logs – Eliminate context switching between IT infrastructure monitoring and log management products by correlating relevant logs with metrics in a single platform with out-of-the-box integrations (or via any custom log source).
  • Traces – Never miss an application error, improve code quality, and diagnose and fix issues faster. Gain insight into the performance of the entire app stack, from code to cloud, to ensure a flawless customer experience in agile environments.

Conclusion

As every business becomes a digital business, maintaining your technology stack is essential for keeping your company profitable and running smoothly. This is especially true for manufacturers, who are more dependent on technology for every part of the product life cycle. As manufacturing businesses migrate to the cloud and lean on IoT to help better manage and maintain their production processes, security will play a big role in business continuity. By adopting a modern monitoring stack, you’re able to maintain the availability of production systems by using data and AIOps to predict when capacity will be reached or systems may fail. Monitoring your entire business from one platform allows you to make business decisions based on data. 

Adam Nash

Director, Channel Sales

Adam Nash is an employee at LogicMonitor.

Subscribe to our LogicBlog to stay updated on the latest developments from LogicMonitor and get notified about blog posts from our world-class team of IT experts and engineers, as well as our leadership team with in-depth knowledge and decades of collective experience in delivering a product IT professionals love.

More from LogicBlog

Amps robot shadow

Let's talk shop, shall we?

Get started