IOT in Manufacturing – How Hard can It Be?

Rob Grimm, National Reliability Engineering Manager, Fonterra


Manufacturing industries appear to be an obvious use case for IOT changing the landscape for the better. If the use of IOT devices in all forms promises to be an absolute game changer, why do we only hear occasional good stories? Why hasn’t transformed industries across the globe?

The answers to these questions have been found in building the groundwork toward an eventual deployment of 25000 remote condition monitoring IOT devices in Fonterra, New Zealand’s largest company. Encompassing not just data security, connection and throughput, but exploring why IP and process optimisation also matter, the presentation will detail the golden formula for a successful IOT integration. Citing actual experience, the following important areas are addressed:

  • The struggle in laying the foundation for such an initiative – why it’s harder than it looks to deploy what appears to be a brilliant solution.
  • Why many manufacturing industries have not embraced IOT.
  • What is needed from the industry vendors to make such a project easier to deploy – technical, connectivity, security and data requirements.
  • Leveraging Advanced Analytics – the game changer for decision making.


Coming from a farm in rural New Zealand, Rob is currently the National Reliability Engineering Manager at the nation’s largest company. After starting a career as an Avionics technician in the Air Force, his two decades in aviation saw him work in a variety of engineering roles including operations, project management and avionics instructor, as well as regulatory and certification work. Rob then joined the dairy industry as Maintenance Manager at a manufacturing site, before taking his current role leading plant reliability and stability across 24 dairy processing sites nationwide. In his spare time, Rob enjoys motorbike riding and is currently writing a book explaining exactly how to optimise asset management in a practical way.