Today’s emerging technologies are capable of organizing previously trapped big data and providing value to manufacturers. Consequently, unlocking the value of data has become a ‘must have’ for manufacturers, and they’re using big data to improve performance initiatives.
We have analyzed three ways manufacturers are generating value from big data:
- Better forecasting of products and production
The volatility of demand is a critical issue for manufacturers. However, automated data collection helps manufacturers anticipate product demand, improve supply chain planning and ultimately, implement advanced demand forecasting strategies. For instance, manufacturers can use data to analyze sales trends to keep production efficient, and understand repeat customer behavior to deliver products in a timely and profitable manner. This is a huge benefit for manufacturers that work in an engineer-to-order environment.
- Understanding plant performance
Manufacturing and production managers believe the greatest opportunity in big data is to analyze plant performance and boost quality. However, many manufacturers are not using data to simulate new manufacturing process, but to streamline current operations. For example, managers use big data software to find bottlenecks that hinder current goal completion. Moreover, plant managers can use data to see when a system or a piece of equipment deviates from required operating conditions and create equipment maintenance schedules. Therefore, operators can repair or replace equipment before it fails unexpectedly, creating supply chain disruption. Data provides manufacturers the capability to correlate performance across multiple plants and facilities that may have dozens of identical machines as well.
- Understand customer product requirements
Manufacturers are collecting customer data and making it widely available to improve customer support at the service level, as well as capture cross-selling opportunities. Likewise, manufacturers are looking harder at data due to increased pressure from customers to eliminate product defects, and the collected data provides the necessary information to create consistent products. For example, in the past, new product flaws were not always discovered during initial testing and inspections. Now, data catches flaws as they occur, so the end result is a product that meets the customer’s needs and expectations. Additionally, big data offers opportunities to parallel product development with what customers want. Data can provide engineers and designers important and valuable product features based on concrete customer inputs. While customer input through market research has traditionally been a part of every design process, manufacturers will now be able to design-to-value by extracting the most crucial customer insights from the data.
Read more: Manufacturers continually struggle with data volume, variety, velocity and value. Find out how manufacturers overcome these challenges in our blog post Is Big Data a Big Problem for Manufacturers?