Why You Need to Prioritize Manufacturing Intelligence
Manufacturing Intelligence can be what makes or breaks the future of your company. Industry 4.0 is bringing a digital revolution to the manufacturing sector. IIoT and digital transformation are some common terms you might hear often that headline this revolution. Manufacturers today need to be proactive and buy into the industry 4.0 ideas and principles. Otherwise, they will see their competition closing the gap and moving past them. You need to be taking advantage of the technological advances the world has made, and improve your factory’s manufacturing intelligence.
What is Manufacturing Intelligence?
Manufacturing Intelligence is software used to bring data together from multiple sources on the plant floor. This data is used for reporting and analysis. Utilizing a manufacturing intelligence system helps manufacturers gather data, manage the data in a simple format, and use the data to improve operations around the plant floor.
Why You Need Better Manufacturing Intelligence
Earlier I briefly mentioned that manufacturers need to utilize manufacturing intelligence in order to remain competitive in the industry. The structured data that you can acquire in an efficient and simple format with these systems can benefit you in more ways than you might think. Here’s a few examples-
Real-time Accurate Reporting
Without manufacturing intelligence software, how are you recording data on the plant floor? If you still have somebody incrementally walking around the factory floor and manually recording data from your machines then it’s time to implement a new system. This worked in the past, but it’s simply an outdated system. On top of that, inevitable human error makes it less accurate information.
Manufacturing Intelligence systems today are able to pull data directly from the source of truth (the machine or equipment). Then, deliver that information to the operators in real-time. These systems also have the ability to gather large amounts of data. Data sets so large that it would never be possible for a person to manually record, this is referred to as big data.
Think about how much more efficient an operator would be able to make his process if he had structured, accurate, and detailed machine data delivered in real-time. Opposed to hunting down whoever manually recorded basic machine data from a few days ago, or the last week. Manufacturing intelligence gives everybody on the plant floor the ability to make adjustments and improvements much more frequently. This equates to a more efficient and constantly improving process.
Better Customer Relationships/Satisfaction
We have established that real-time data analytics is useful for machine operators and people inside the company. Your customers will also benefit from this data. Essentially, you will be able to eliminate all guessing. Having access to accurate real-time data gives you the ability to base your decisions and your estimates on that data. This is part of becoming a data-driven company.
If you are guessing based on incomplete data, or just on a gut feeling, your estimates inevitably will not be as accurate as they could be. This can damage credibility with a customer. On the other hand, if you can provide your customers with accurate data-based lead times, you will have more happy customers. In turn, these customers are likely to return in the future.
When a customer calls for an update on their order you won’t have to make up a number in your head to let them know how far along the process you are. Let your customers know how many units have been produced, how long machines have been running, and when the product will be delivered. All in real-time right there on the spot.
The next benefit is that if something does unexpectedly go wrong during the manufacturing process, you can share your data with the customer so that they can see exactly what happened. Giving the customer some real substance to back up what you tell them creates trust and they will appreciate the insight.
Data Readily Available for Everyone
Data readily available for everyone to consume. This point ties the first two together. We know what we can do with all of the data that you now have available to you. Earlier we established that manufacturing intelligence software is much more efficient and detailed than manually recording data on the shop floor. Let’s touch on that point a little more.
Here at Ectobox, we have helped a lot of clients with manufacturing intelligence solutions. We have heard from some clients before we set up a system, that they have people recording data manually. This alone is already inefficient. Then they also have other people aside from the operators that need this data running around the shop floor half of the day trying to find the information they need.
With manufacturing intelligence software this would be a non-issue. More detailed and more accurate data can be readily available instantly in real-time. Available for everyone who needs it at the exact time they need it, delivered in a simple easy-to-read format.
Concluding thoughts on Manufacturing Intelligence
What might have worked in the past, is simply outdated today. The best part about manufacturing intelligence is that you don’t need to reinvent your factory or get all new equipment. Even machines made 40 years ago or more can be equipped with modern technology to pull data out. It is already becoming standard to have a good manufacturing intelligence setup for manufacturers that want to grow. Mixing that with the fact that you can implement this technology within your current factory almost makes it a no-brainer.