Voices: Bonfante

Are Manufacturers Using Integrated Data Collection and Analysis to Their Benefit?

Collecting too much data, or failing to analyze what you collect, can be counterproductive.

By Katherine Bonfante

According to the latest report titled Manufacturing and the data conundrum: Too much? Too little? Or just right? published by The Economist, over the past two years manufacturing companies have increased the amount of data they collect from the plant floor, but many have no knowledge on what to do with the data or how to use it to their benefit.

For this study, 50 C-suite executives from manufacturers in North America and Western Europe were surveyed. Forty-two percent of respondents say they have a well-defined data-management strategy, and a majority of the respondents, 62 percent, admit to struggling to keep up with the influx of data. The reason they struggle is because they are getting their data from too many sources, at different speed intervals and in many varied formats.

The report also shows that 90 percent of manufacturers gather their data by monitoring production processes, but when it comes to having predictive data analytics, less than half of those respondents have an analytical system set in place. Also, less than 40 percent of respondent use data analysis to explore solutions to production problems.

"Collecting too much data, or failing to analyze what you collect, can be counterproductive," said David Line, editor of the report.

Even though the majority of manufacturers are at a loss on what to do with all the data collected, two-thirds of the participating companies reported a 10 percent or more of annual savings thanks to production efficiency and a reduction in cost of quality (net losses due to defects).

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