Smart Manufacturing Data
These days everyone is talking about their manufacturing data. As computer technology has evolved we’ve become much more efficient and accustomed to collecting and having access to unprecedented volumes of data. You could argue that you can never have too much data but actually, what you can never have too much of is information. Cutting through all the noise and getting to the answers that will support decisions on real business issues is the true challenge and purpose of data.
Whether you are a multi-million pound OEM or an independent manufacturer with a handful of machines, manufacturing activity and performance data can help you to find the answers that will support smarter decisions, improve operational efficiency, and generate sustainable smart manufacturing methodologies.
Manufacturing data as a business asset
In order to derive the most value from your data, it should be considered a business asset. In doing so you are more likely to develop a data strategy that will capture effective content in a re-usable format. It is also important to understand data sharing as a necessity. Whilst collecting masses of raw data has its merits, if you take some time to consider who needs the information and why, it is possible to overcome the problems and costs inherent to disparate data sets. By standardising or at least aligning meanings, values and formatting you will better support cross-functional business usage. Standardised “packaging” of your data also enables a move towards centralised storage, greatly reducing the time spent managing and searching for information.
Related product: Seiki AIR
The connection between people, processes and things
In many businesses today finding data is a quest. It can be spread across multiple locations/platforms which then puts the onus on “local” knowledge and/or relationships to discover it. Duplication is also often a major overhead. Too many copies, in too many places is neither efficient nor helpful. If data was viewed as just another tool, then greater efforts would be made to streamline the process – keeping it simple, efficient, more usable and easier to locate. In a standardised format, manufacturing data can be a much more valuable asset. A shared understanding of the rules for population, packaging and publication of your data internally, will enable more people to contribute a greater volume of knowledge to your business. Furthermore, a pooling of aligned data from multiple sources within your organisation enables you to make the connections between processes, business units and people for a more holistic view.
Creating value from relevant manufacturing data
So back to where we started – how to cut through the noise and get to the answers quickly is where the real value is to be found. Real time analytics are critical for event based decision making and this is where technology is a key enabler. Thanks to the sheer volume, speed, complexity and variety of manufacturing data that is made available for analysis, manual intervention is problematic.
Systems support the instant retrieval and consolidation of live and historic source data. Speed and efficiency here can make the difference in being able to respond quickly to changing business conditions. Automated analysis and data validation then makes it easier to defend, explain and justify your decisions. It is then possible to find competitive advantages by:
- Identifying root causes of issues
- Reducing risks
- Determining prices that maximise profits
- Reducing costs and inventory
- Controlling processes
- Making predictions
- Keeping the whole process repeatable and sustainable with minimal intervention
- Uncovering and helping to solve complex problems
Supporting your company with the latest IT infrastructure and technologies is becoming increasingly vital as the demand for transparency, regulatory compliance and information sharing through the entire supply chain grows. As we start to hear more about the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0, the connection between people, processes, data and things will be more in the spotlight. Getting your data strategy right now will pay dividends in the not too distant future. In fact, it could be making the difference today.
Links to Further Reading
- Smart Factory – Kickstart your 2020 vision
- Finite capacity planning software – the missing link
- Seiki Manufacturing Execution System
- Achieving operational efficiency and performance targets
Seiki AIR Monitoring and WIP Booking modules can help companies to maintain and improve the flow of information between the top floor and the shop floor by collecting and delivering accurate, live production and manufacturing process information throughout the organisation. The result is improvements in manufacturing processes such as the flow of work in progress (W.I.P), the quality of parts produced, minimising scrap and machine downtime, and the distribution/availability of peformance information.