3 Recommendations For A Successful Edge Program In Manufacturing

3 Recommendations For A Successful Edge Program In Manufacturing

February 22, 2021

Katie Beaudoin, Vertical Strategy Lead – Manufacturing, Lumen


Lumen partnered with IDC to survey 128 edge computing decision makers to capture the state of edge initiatives in manufacturing, with a focus on where edge is being utilized, the benefits, who funds and makes decisions, and the top selection criteria of providers in the space.

Manufacturers are striving to create a resilient supply chain and production environment.  Now more than ever, they are relying on data to make rapid and effective decisions.  Connecting factories and legacy assets is where most manufacturers start.  Edge computing allows them to collect, process, and/or store data at or near the locations where the data is being generated.

There is still time for any manufacturer to begin an edge initiative.  Only 27% of manufacturers state that edge computing is currently in production.  However, within the next 2 years, 56% of manufacturers will kick off pilots and 17% of manufacturers will move from pilot phase to full production.

I have outlined 3 recommendations to consider when developing an edge program.

  1. Establish the Right KPIs – A best practice to ensure success (especially in a pilot) is to use the right key performance indicators. KPIs that link to the functional areas where edge computing is deployed are far more likely to get the project out of PoC/pilot phase.  Examples of KPIs include inventory management (inventory quantities, mix, and location), agility (operational speed), safety (incident frequency rate/near-misses), security (number of incidents), sustainability (energy/resource management), operational performance (throughput/productivity), and asset management (reliability/availability of assets).  Ultimately, establishing strong KPIs from the start will help to move your pilot to production and secure additional funding for your edge initiatives.

  2. Take a Collaborative Approach Between IT and OT Groups – Edge success relies heavily on the people involved in the project. It’s important to involve both IT and OT groups from the start.  OT is more driven by the need to merge data and ensure resiliency/reliability, while IT is far more focused on analytics on the edge and connecting remote locations.  These respective viewpoints allow for a more balanced and well-rounded approach.  In fact, manufacturers that use IT and OT teams are 47% more likely to see their edge pilots move into full production.

  3. Select the Right Partners to Ensure Long-Term Success – When building out an edge initiative, picking the right partner is crucial. Consider a partner that can integrate and connect with your current infrastructure, has proven security capabilities, industry sector expertise, existing edge deployments/proof points, and innovative offerings that help organizations transform themselves.  Lumen is a leader in the manufacturing space serving companies across the globe.  We provide technology, edge, and security solutions to enable connected factories and an agile supply chain.

Download IDC & Lumen’s “Capitalizing on Edge Computing in Manufacturing” to learn more.

Katie Beaudoin leads global marketing initiatives across Lumen’s Manufacturing and Logistics business unit. She has a Marketing degree from Creighton University and started her career in industrial manufacturing marketing and telecommunications. Katie is able to leverage this background and is focused on understanding how the Fourth Industrial Revolution is impacting global manufacturers from an IT, operational, and innovation perspective. She works closely with internal solutions and innovation teams as well as sales leaders to effectively deploy leading edge technology capabilities to Lumen customers.