Big data is nothing new to manufacturers. Electronic devices, applications and sensors continuously create new sources of data. The key to increasing competitiveness with big data, however, is managing the dynamics of the supply chain including plant operations, distribution and warehousing with new insights. What might some of those insights be? Below are three areas of intelligence manufacturers are taking advantage of with big data.*
Produce Better Products
The ultimate goal of nearly every manufacturer, and what differentiates it in the market, is to make better products than anyone else. Big data helps by identifying connections between customer data, scheduling and maintenance. Within these connections lie hidden patterns for increased operational efficiency. This in turn helps the manufacturer better anticipate order lead times, shorten asset/machine downtimes, maintain appropriate inventory levels, and make materials purchasing and work in progress decisions more effectively.
Sell the Most Profitable Customized or Build-To-Order Products
For many complex manufacturers, customized or build-to-order products deliver higher margins but they also cost more to produce. But what if there was a way to determine which products impact production the least? This is where big data makes an impact. Manufacturers are using insights to discover which custom or build-to-order products they can sell with the least impact to production schedules, machine scheduling, staffing and plant floor level.
Provide Proactive Maintenance Recommendations
Manufacturers who produce complex products are creating strategic service offerings. Sensors on these products report back details on wear and tear sending alerts when maintenance is needed. Big data enables manufacturers to make specific, preventative maintenance recommendations to enjoy much higher efficiency and lower costs.
Big data is proving itself as a critical tool in any manufacturing environment where complexity, unpredictability and capacity restraints are prevalent. Manufacturers who understand, manage and analyze big data are the ones that will leave the competition behind.
Learn more. Download the “What Does Big Data Mean for Manufacturers” white paper.
*McKinsey & Company, 2014 July, How Big Data Can Improve Manufacturing