Technology advances in manufacturing have made data accessible in a way that it has never been before. Information can be collected in real time in points throughout the manufacturing process.
The issue now is what to do with all of that data—how can you take this information that has been collected and turn it into actionable insights?
Regardless of size, end-to-end visibility is something that many manufacturers strive for, yet struggle with. However, in this new age of Industry 4.0, it is now possible for manufacturers to achieve this via a combination of big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) – in other words, achieving end-to-end connectivity across the entire manufacturing process and throughout the supply chain.
Smarter, more profitable planning and production runs, along with increased customer satisfaction are clear benefits. But the challenge lies in connecting machines and devices to create a holistic view of the business that is both easy to access and act upon.
It is undeniable that globalisation is continuing to change the way companies are selling their products. Organisations that range from large, global companies down to smaller manufacturers looking to gain market share find that they not only have to meet delivery deadlines, but are also expected to react quickly to changing customer and supplier needs.
Traditional manufacturing solutions are becoming outdated and are often holding companies back from being able to meet the demands of today’s consumers.
As organisations grow and expand, the need for a quick and clear view into the costs and services tied with each decision is critical. Successful differentiation among global manufacturers of all sizes has as much to do with real-time, on-point, optimised manufacturing processes as it does with product innovation.
Market volatility, fluctuating customer demands and increasing competition all strongly affect how companies manage their manufacturing processes.
Manufacturing leaders are leveraging modern technologies enabled by IoT and big data to organise, analyse and act upon the data that they gather to make improvements in a number of areas—overall equipment effectiveness, freight costs, supply chain performance, and order fulfilment, just to name a few.
In the past, manufacturing decisions to optimise processes were often made without the data to support them. Now, technology has made it possible for manufacturers to collect data at critical points in the manufacturing process.
This connectivity via IoT now makes it possible for manufacturers to take action based on insights from real data. Modern manufacturing leaders often map this data against their end-to-end processes in order to predict adverse events before they occur.
Another step in leveraging this data for decision making is moving that analysis to mobile applications and the cloud, as this data should be accessible not just on the plant floor, but also in the field.
Decision makers cannot be tied to one set of hardware. Making this data available via the cloud and mobile applications helps keep manufacturers flexible and agile.
>See also: The future of digital manufacturing
Leaders in manufacturing are at the top because they understand the value in collecting data and making it actionable by leveraging modern Big Data and IoT.
Through connectivity between machines, devices and manufacturers, data can be gathered that takes advantage of the newest advances in technology, allowing for higher productivity and efficient processes.
Sourced by Stuart Hall, sales director for Epicor Software, UK and Ireland