How to leverage data to improve manufacturing processes

Manufacturing is changing.

As NGen’s Chief Manufacturing Officer, Stewart Cramer, said in the August 2021 Canadian Manufacturing Industry 4.0 Roundtable: “Companies that are having the most success are starting to understand the power of running their business through a data and analytics perspective that may not have been there before an IIoT investment.”

Commenting on the increased number of companies using advanced data sharing capabilities to address their distribution and production problems, Peng-Sang Cau — the VP of ATS Automation — said at the Canadian Manufacturing Industry 4.0 Roundtable: “Companies want to immediately address the front end of their business, so it’s not surprising that technology adoption is growing, and if you want to look at increasing your production and distribution, you’ll want to share that information efficiently among your colleagues and partners.”

Does your organization suffer from any of the below potential risks around the legacy system?

  • Inconsistency in data due to data silos
  • Slowing down of legacy system causing productivity issues impacting the bottom line
  • Obsolete/disparate technology systems
  • Complex and time-consuming processes risk your competitiveness

If you answered “yes” to any of the above challenges, you must take the necessary steps to leverage data for successful execution in your manufacturing business. Did you know…companies that get digital right, boost their efficiency by 15-20%!

Successful companies understand that digital manufacturing is a strategic shift. Here are some key benefits of digitization for manufacturing companies:

  • Automated processes improve efficiency and reduce error rates
  • Access to the cloud improves collaboration with suppliers
  • Advanced analytics improves planning and forecasting
  • Digital tools enhance employee productivity and safety

Successful manufacturing companies strive to increase customer value and gain a competitive advantage by leveraging data to identify risks and opportunities. Manufacturing involves many moving parts and produces loads of information that require vigilant tracking. Manufacturers have always been obsessed with efficiency, reducing costs, and increasing productivity and profitability. The secret sauce to achieving all of that is data!  What’s more, the future of manufacturing is in the hands of our current leaders. Know the insights around disruption, transformation and the role of AI in manufacturing.

No matter which department you work for, whether that is production, inventory, warehousing, supply chain, or providing strategic insights, data plays a critical role in improving manufacturing processes.

Here’s how data can improve manufacturing processes:

1. Streamline production

From production to delivery, manufacturing processes produce a lot of data. In modern manufacturing, this data can come from sensors, machinery management systems, inventory systems, and other business infrastructure systems. The problem occurs when there are data silos and there is a disconnect amongst the people from the different departments. A central data repository integrating data from Research & Development, engineering, and manufacturing units, can greatly help manufacturers quickly analyze all of the data at their disposal and make smarter decisions. Data captured through automated monitoring systems or computerized to a central place can discard data inaccuracies. This can be used to foresee potential bottlenecks, identify delays, and correct process flaws. When your manufacturing data is structured in clusters of production activities, analyzing this data to show interdependencies at the different stages from production to delivery can be mapped easily. This in turn helps to streamline production processes and improve quality control.

2. Improve supply chain 

Data analytics is transforming supply chain management. Validating data, mobile reporting, visibility into global logistics with real-time route optimization, more accurate demand forecasting, and so on, are all ways that data can be leveraged to improve manufacturing processes, especially supply chain management. By providing real-time visibility into the movement of inventory, inventory trends, shipment delays, and detecting fluctuations in demands, data provides immense insights affecting business impact. The timely availability of this data and proactive human intervention to draw meaningful insights from the data at hand can enable them to effectively gain an edge over their competition.

3. Improve product quality 

Quality control is a critical step in manufacturing. Product analytics greatly helps to identify issues and mitigate risks. Product Analytics is the collection, and interpretation of user data within your product and the application of usage data into more effective decision making. Product analytics provides insights to the product, engineering, and development teams of how users are using it. They can find out answers to questions such as—what is the most used feature, are people using the newly launched features, which part is least utilized, what is the frequency of usage of the product, and so forth. These powerful insights reveal trends that can impact roadmap decisions and your broader goals.

4. Enable preventive maintenance 

Technology is providing manufacturing companies the ability to closely monitor and get deep insights from real-time operations. This transparent communication between humans and machine empowers companies to avoid unplanned downtime. At the same time, maintenance professionals have the time to optimize tasks in real-time thereby maximizing the life of the asset while steering away from operational disruption. Optimize and improve manufacturing processes by preempting the health and performance of equipment by data analysis and insights drawn from it.

5. Production efficiency 

Manufacturing operations are always looking for ways to reduce costs and utilize the allocated capital to innovate and win over the competition. Data analytics enables stakeholders at all levels of the company, with the information they need to make decisions faster. With data accuracy and visibility at all times, manufacturers have greater control to evaluate how the shop floor is operating and find ways to improve it. Downtime is a big deal for factory owners and it can reduce the overall productivity by almost 20%. With data analytics, manufacturers can identify trends and save much with predictive maintenance.

Alphavima Technologies has served many manufacturing equipment companies in driving success with data and analytics. While data analytics is a powerful way save tremendous amount of money, we believe the focus must always be on people. Let technology enable your team to steer your business forward.