The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and shortages of raw materials in various markets around the world directly result in an increase in the prices of final products, which for us, as consumers, does not go unnoticed. However, these are not the only price increases we observe at the moment.
Due to rising wages for employees, and above all increasing the prices of raw materials necessary in the production process, the costs of production as a whole are also increasing. This is a particular challenge for manufacturing companies, which at the same time face competition on the market. If this situation applies to your plant, it is worth considering whether it is possible to improve competitiveness and optimize costs, and how to achieve these results.
Cost optimization – where to start?
In order to improve competitiveness on the market, it is worth starting from scratch, by analyzing the production processes in the plant and looking for savings wherever possible. Ongoing monitoring and optimization of production can help with this. Costs can be easily reduced, for example by planning production for periods when energy is cheaper.
Increasingly, entrepreneurs decide to implement specialized solutions for monitoring and optimizing the consumption of production resources. These decisions are often motivated by a relatively quick return on investment. Taking into account the ever-increasing prices of resources such as electricity, gas and water, investing in a tool that will monitor consumption intelligently often turns out to be the most cost-effective option. It is worth remembering that, in the production of some goods, various types of specialized gases are also used. These generate a much higher cost, and therefore the optimization of their consumption should be considered crucial for the company.
Therefore, should we ask what we can do to monitor and optimize resource consumption effectively? Can the technologies available on the market help us in this? Are there solutions that, in addition to monitoring and optimizing resource consumption, will inform us about possible leaks from the installation? The answer to all these questions is: yes.
Technological solutions supporting production optimization
There are many technologies available on the market, thanks to which monitoring and optimizing the consumption of resources cease to be problematic for the entrepreneur. The implementation of this type of technology in the production plant is an opportunity to enter the world of Industry 4.0 by digitizing processes and combining the real world (physical meters and sensors) with the digital one.
These technologies enable frequent collection of data from meters, and at the same time calculate the real production costs of the plant. This allows more accurate calculations of the final cost for the company, as well as optimization of resource consumption. In addition, ongoing information about possible installation leaks shortens production downtime and reduces the costs of malfunctions.
An example of such a solution is Comarch Smart Metering, which is used across the industrial sector – for example in water supply systems, where meters are increasingly important for remote readings. In the future, if all water supply meters have remote reading, network monitoring will become much more efficient. The potential of Smart Metering will also enable a much faster response to possible failures of the entire water supply network.
What is Comarch Smart Metering?
Comarch Smart Metering is a solution used for remote reading of data from meters of various media (such as water, heat, electricity and gas), enabling data transfer to a dedicated IoT platform or other systems.
The solution is based on meters with built-in wireless connectivity (for example, Wireless M-Bus), from which data are gathered collectively by the Smart Metering Gateway acting as a W M-Bus hub. It is also possible to use the meter with wired connectivity already owned by the company, so that no additional costs of replacing the meters are generated. It is enough to connect the Smart Metering Gateway to existing meters, which will enable data transmission in a wireless form. Smart Metering Gateway is a specialized device most often battery-powered, which can function for many years without the need to charge or replace the power supply.
Comarch Smart Metering is very popular, not only on the water supply market, but increasingly in the energy sector. However, in the broader industrial sector, this solution is now gaining popularity, precisely because of the increasingly higher costs of resources and the need to optimize spending.
In the context of the industrial sector, it is worth mentioning the need to conduct audits on energy efficiency by large production plants, to which obligations under the climate policy of the European Union apply. It can be assumed that this obligation will extend to cover smaller factories. However, to talk about energy efficiency, we must first set a benchmark. In this situation, Smart Metering will be of great support, helping to conduct analysis of electricity, heat, cooling or gas consumption. Thanks to our solution, you will efficiently detect any anomalies in the operation of devices, such as increased power consumption, and plan modernization works such as lighting modifications or replacement of devices.
The implementation of Smart Metering in the existing infrastructure can provide tangible savings in the production process, which will cover the implementation costs relatively quickly. At a later date, these savings will also ensure a real increase in the company’s profits by optimizing and increasing production efficiency.
Katarzyna Strzebońska, Comarch IoT