“Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.”
This line from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner aptly describes how most manufacturers feel about their data. Despite drowning in data, manufacturers are constantly at risk from lack of information.
Product defects can be costly – even deadly.
Defects for automotive manufacturers, high-tech manufacturers, food/beverage manufacturers and consumer product goods manufacturers can mean loss of human life. Every year, defects cost manufacturers billions of dollars in recalls and reparations.
Unlike other industries, manufacturers have an extremely low margin for error. And unfortunately, reducing product defects is only one of many KPIs that create risk for manufacturers. Proper inventory management, accurate sales forecasting, and visibility into the supply chain can also make or break a manufacturing business.
Do you need to collect more data points?
Probably not. How much production data does your company collect today? Typically, A LOT! We’ve seen companies that collect tens of thousands of data points, and still don’t have a clear picture in how to take corrective action. You don’t need more data, you need the right data.
Embracing digital transformation
Manufacturers are often the last to embrace emerging technology because both the costs and risks can be high. Risk tolerance is low. However, there comes a time when the cost of inaction becomes significantly higher than the cost of action.
Other industries have embraced digital transformation with great success. Banks use machine learning to detect credit card fraud almost instantly. Advertisers use predictive analytics to target the right people at the right time. Health care providers have moved to digitized medical records, reducing health care fraud, cutting waste and improving patient outcomes.
Seizing the advantage against analog competitors
On a typical shop floor, hardware is often 20+ years old. Data collected is often just as quickly discarded because cloud computing wasn’t as affordable or available when the hardware was first installed.
Tremendous opportunity exists for manufacturers who embrace digital transformation. Leveraging modern technology like Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations, the Azure Cloud, Predictive Analytics, IoT sensors, and the like, manufacturers have a golden opportunity to leap frog the competition.
Improving operational efficiency for manufacturers comes from:
- Gaining a clear understanding of your company’s KPI’s
- Leveraging cloud computing and business analytics to find patterns and trends that were inaccessible until recently
- Modernizing your systems to allow more flexibility on your business processes
- Creating a feedback loop using workflows and machine learning to continually improve operations