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How data analytics is impacting manufacturing

24 January, 2018
How data analytics is impacting manufacturing

Big data and its role in manufacturing is becoming increasingly popular with more and more companies using it to gain competitive advantage.

Deloitte’s publication on data analytics and its advantages revealed that fewer than 20 percent of respondents, a survey of more than 100 senior executives, stated that analytics does not yet support their corporate strategies.


It’s clear that analytics has arrived and is here in full force, it’s time for manufacturers to utilise data analytics or they risk being left behind, but how can they take advantage of data?


Identifying patterns


Companies need to be looking forward at ways they can improve ROI throughout their organisation. For manufacturers, cost efficiency within their factories is paramount, with strong data analytics businesses can understand which processes need re-evaluating and identify ways to do this. To really embrace the change and see sustainable cost savings, companies need to not only measure the past, but also predict the future. Historical data allows for the prediction of future processes, for example, patterns can be identified helping organisations predict machine failure. Manufacturers should not fear initial costs, they should focus on how data will help save costs and drive revenue.

“We’re really not spending money on data analytics. We’re using it to find better alternatives for making money”
-          Database marketing executive for regional bank 


Improving customer relationships


Data is collected through all areas of the business, connected data provides companies the opportunity to really get to know their customers. Data collected from sales channels, factories, social and more can be used to develop in-depth customer profiles. A better understanding of your customer means a better understanding of their needs. With data analytics, companies are able to respond quicker to changes in needs as they have up-to-date information. 


Companies and customers can also work together to co-create and collaboratively innovate. For example, DeWalt, a leading manufacturer of power tools, uses data gathered through online communities and their marketing efforts to design new tools, listening to their customer’s invention ideas allows them to stay competitive.


What are the barriers?


Data presents many opportunities but it doesn’t come without challenges. With vast amounts of data, managing and identifying the right data can be a real struggle. Focusing on the human element, businesses must ensure that they have the right people with the right skills to deal with the data. Training needs to be provided to a significant portion of the business rather than just IT personnel, anyone who will be handling or inputting data.


Company culture can also be an issue to overcome. Companies need to be open and willing to share information throughout departments. If departments keep to themselves then the lack of communication will prevent the business from reaping the benefits of data analytics. For example, it is very likely that marketing will have information that will benefit sales so sharing this information will help the company perform better.


Are you ready?


Big data is here and will continue to evolve and grow in the coming years. As the generation of data continues to increase, it will guide business activity. It will be the driving force behind new technologies improving manufacturing processes.


The discrete manufacturing series

Our series focuses on five common problems discrete manufacturers are currently facing, and how to solve them, including case study examples of where discrete manufacturers have implemented our solutions and seen success. The full series includes tip sheets – available for download - on:

How manufacturers can build additional revenue streams

How manufacturers can improve time-to-market

How to successfully manage multi-mode manufacturing

How manufacturers can maximise the use of assets

How manufacturers can manage compliance effectively

Categories: Digital Transformation