A new report published by The Economist Intelligence Unit shows that while most manufacturing firms have greatly increased the volume of data they collect from the shop floor over the past two years, many are struggling to get the most out of it.
Manufacturing and the data conundrum: Too much? Too little? Or just right?, commissioned by Wipro, examines how manufacturers are using integrated data collection and analysis to improve production throughput, reduce costs and improve quality. The research is based on a survey of 50 C-suite executives from manufacturers in North America and Western Europe.
The survey shows that just 42 percent of respondents have what they consider to be a well-defined data-management strategy. However, 62 percent are not sure they have been able to keep up with the large volumes of data they collect, as it comes from too many sources and in a variety of formats and speeds.
The report also found that while over 90 percent of manufacturers collect data from monitoring production processes, less than half have in place predictive data analytics, and less than 40 percent use data analysis to find solutions to production problems.
David Line, the editor of the report, said: “Manufacturing has been at the forefront of data collection and its importance to quality and cost control is well recognized. But collecting too much data, or failing to analyse what you collect, can be counterproductive.”
Nevertheless, two-thirds of companies report annual savings from data analysis of 10 percent or more in terms of the cost of quality (i.e. net losses incurred due to defects) and production efficiencies. About one-third say their savings on both measures have been in the range of 11 percent to 25% percent.