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Prediction, Analysis, and Optimization - The Manufacturing Industry and Positive Impact of Big Data

Within the field of manufacturing, there is a whole range of benefits to beginning this form of analysis.

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The words data analysis often evoke an image of someone tucked away in a dusty corner running numbers over and over again. While this seems to fit into some industries, manufacturing doesn’t immediately seem to be one of them. 

Yet, on the contrary, manufacturing is actually one of the primary fields where data analysis can make a huge impact. Especially with the ample pool of data sources to pull from, those businesses that turn to data analysis can seek to ensure quality, reduce costs, improve yields, and optimize their whole supply chains. 

As we move further into the 21st century, data has become an incredibly valuable tool. Its application into almost any industry ensures that decisions are made off statistics and concrete ideas rather than guesswork and hopes. Within the field of manufacturing, there is a whole range of benefits to beginning this form of analysis. 

In this article, we’ll be explaining how data analysis can help manufacturers and pointing towards three core practices that these businesses can incorporate to improve the effectiveness of data in their companies. 

Let’s get right into it. 

How Can Data Analysis Help Manufacturers? 

One of the major benefits of collecting data on every aspect of the supply chain is that manufacturers can run predictive analyses in order to predict future trends more accurately. By looking at how certain elements of the business have functioned in the past, manufacturers can hazard a more accurate guess regarding how things will occur in the future.

This is especially useful when a manufacturer wants to run tests to see how changes to their business will impact their infrastructure. By looking at past data sets and asking certain questions, models can be generated that give a rough insight into how things would be if a certain change was made in the business. 

Instead of taking a big risk and upping the amount of pressure on the supply chain or chaining vendors, a manufacturer will be able to run calculations before they act. With data modeling, a huge element of risk is then taken out of their actions. While those that simply act will have to suffer the consequences and experience what happens as it does, those with data modeling and analysis on their side will be able to predict, plan, adapt, and calculate before executing any business decisions. 

With full end-to-end visibility due to the extreme amounts of data that businesses can now take from every angle, they are in the perfect position to conduct innovative and thorough data analysis. 

Data Tells No Lies 

Another central benefit of data for manufacturers is that it creates a tangible record that accurately reflects a range of processes within the business. From the yield of certain processes to the time taken to run specific actions, everything will have a data trail that can be followed and analyzed. 

When attempting to improve a business, the intangible idea of making progress is fairly hard to pin down. However, by incorporating data-driven insights into your business, you’ll have a much better idea of where your business is losing out on optimization. Instead of wanting progress, you’ll be able to pinpoint the least efficient areas of your business. 

From there, by implementing testing, you’ll be able to improve your manufacturing process, improving yields and optimization through rounds of delicate testing. With data being your driving force towards progress, you’ll be able to analyze your way to a more effective and successful business. 

How Can Manufacturers Make Sure Their Data Collection and Processing Is as Effective as Possible? 

Especially when only beginning to get to grips with data collection and analysis, it can often seem like a steep task to even know where to start. Within a manufacturer’s business, there are many different teams and areas to focus on, with everything from producing to logistics coming into play. 

To ensure that your business is in the best possible position to create, store, and utilize data streams, you should endeavor to:

  • Open Lines of Communication
  • Update Data Storage Systems
  • Make Managers Aware of the Power of Data

Let’s break these down further.

Open Lines of Communication 

A data silo is where one team accidentally withholds data from all other parts of the organization, siloing their data into one location that no one else can access. For data analysis to work, a manufacturer will be seeking complete data sets that are as detailed as possible. 

Due to this, data siloing is a common enemy of those trying to optimize their data-driven business attempts. One way to ensure that data flows freely across your business and that everyone has access to the data they need to make informed decisions is to open up lines of communication. 

Within your manufacturing business, you must endeavor to create strong communication pathways between teams. Instead of focusing on each team as an isolated unit, teams should be pushed to intermingle, construct workplace relationships, and help each other succeed. This communal approach ensures that when someone needs a specific dataset, they will be able to contact the right people to find it, with open lines of communication leading the way.

Update Data Storage Systems

 If you’re particularly new to data analysis, all of your company’s data is most likely stored in a local unit or database. While these are cost-effective, they often require manual updating, care, and categorization. Due to this, they prevent data scalability as someone has to catalog and document data as it comes in. 

Especially if your manufacturing business is large-scale, then this quickly becomes an impossible task for data engineers. Instead of relying on local storage (which could also damage, leading to the loss of all of your company data), you should turn to a cloud data warehouse solution. 

Data warehouses come in all shapes and sizes, with different companies providing different specific facilities that you can use. Depending on the size of your business, the security you need, and different infrastructure desires, we suggest looking at a comparison of BigQuery vs. Redshift, two well-known data warehouses. From there, you’ll have a better idea of what you need for your business. 

If you want to ensure that your business is ready to scale and can handle all of the incoming data, then turning to a cloud data warehouse is the way to go.

Make Managers Aware of the Power of Data

 The big data industry is a deeply impressive field, with predictions of its total value aiming to reach almost $19 billion USD by 2025. Although this industry has impressive applications and a direct positive impact only on your business, many managers are behind the times. If you want to ensure that your manufacturing business begins to implement data-driven strategies, then you must teach your leaders of its importance. 

From there, managers can reinforce data-driven practices in their individual teams, creating a trickle-down knowledge approach through which your whole company will come to learn the power of data. Considering the wide applications of data within different departments, this is actually a fairly easy task. 

For example, you can demonstrate to the marketing department the power of data-driven marketing, looking at the wealth of online case studies and resources. Equally, you could discuss with your logistics departments and point to data-driven methods of optimizing their processes. 

No matter which department you want to focus on, there will be an applicable faucet of data that they can take and run with. Once you teach your managers the importance of data, the rest will follow. 

Final Thoughts

 Data-driven industry insights are currently propelling the success of different fields around the globe - with manufacturing being one of the central industries that are impacted. If your manufacturing business has not already begun to experiment with how incorporating data analysis into the business could help them, now is the time to begin. 

Not only does data allow you to take an element of risk away from your business, through the power of prediction, but it also ensures that you can optimize every single process that your business must run. No matter which department you focus on or which task you’re seeking to improve, there will be a data-driven solution for you. 

Especially considering that the manufacturing industry has so many potential points for data collection, moving across production lines, transit, logistics, and more, data-driven business has never been more important.

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