Manufacturing is, by its very nature, an extremely data-heavy industry. All processes, from managing supply chains and resources to the actual production and delivery of goods. Machines and processes must be monitored in excruciating detail – any drops in efficiency or maintenance required needs to be addressed urgently so production is not damaged.
Recent developments in the capability and accessibility of robust data analysis tools mean manufacturers stand to gain significant amounts from their investment. 46% of manufacturers agree that implementing and using data analytics is no longer optional - the benefits are becoming that obvious.
Diagnostic, Predictive, Prescriptive
Diagnostic analytics allows manufacturers to understand their current processes and identify any issues. The capability of this type of analytics is increasing substantially with the advent of real-time access to data and robust visualisation tools. These new tools mean problems can be identified as they arise, rather than in the following month’s board meeting once all the data has been manually collated.
Access to real-time data and the increasing capability of analytics tools now means that predictive analytics is becoming more and more useful and more readily available for manufacturers. Using analysis of real-time and historical data means manufacturers are far better prepared for changes in supply or demand. Traditional forecasts focus heavily on historical data – but how relevant is this in a fast-changing world?
Moving into real-time, and future-focused methods of data analysis carries many benefits. Prescriptive analytics allows manufacturers to make data-driven decisions for the future – utilising data they already have access to. This can help in aligning maintenance schedules, adjusting material orders or supply routes. A prescriptive and preventative approach to maintenance means outages at critical times are far less likely. Operating at maximum efficiency is key for modern manufacturers.
Analytics in the Cloud
To grant them access to these data-derived insights, manufacturers are increasingly turning to the cloud – although uptake across the industry has been relatively slow. As with many industries, manufacturers are under increasing pressure to deliver higher quality products, in less time and at less cost. Cloud is the vehicle with which these companies can bring the insights gained from analytics to bear.
It is all very well one department, or one group, having access to data insights, but if this is not shared consistently across the entire company then it could create more problems than it solves. Real-time data analytics operates optimally in the cloud – this single ‘picture’ of data can then be shared with anyone in the company, regardless of location or time-zone. When manufacturing processes rely on several different suppliers, multiple locations and must coordinate with subsequent buyers it is important to get one true picture of data across the company.
Cloud enables the democratisation of data and data-derived insights across the company. It allows for consistent data collection from any location or device and allows insights to be accessed by any member of staff.
Rising production costs and increasingly complex customer demands mean manufacturers cannot afford to miss out on the benefits of analytics, especially when used in conjunction with the cloud. Robust data analytics solutions bring together masses of data and transform them into actionable insights – where and when they are needed for decision making.
The advent of real-time data analysis, powered by the cloud, means those manufacturers with a quick production cycle stand to gain even more. Previously, analysis was too slow to have an impact. Now, with the help of predictive and prescriptive analytics problems can be anticipated and proactively managed. Limiting any impact on productivity.
Future developments around Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and Machine Learning will mean that these analyses become more robust and can handle more complex data sources. Those manufacturers who embrace the changes early will be better placed to take advantage of these technologies as they become more commonplace.
If you’d like to talk to one of our expert team about embracing analytics and the cloud in your manufacturing business, give us a call on 0800 652 4050. We’d be happy to help.