Manufacturers of all sizes today face ever-greater volumes of data, all streaming in at high velocity and in a dizzying variety of formats – all of it needing to be being captured and analyzed. Today, manufacturers’ essential “big data” challenge is figuring out how to effectively harness and leverage the massive amounts of data collected from various sources.
Because many business and supply-chain management systems are “siloed” within the manufacturing enterprise, and data are not delivered in real-time to the correct decision makers in an easily digested format, much of the data collected today doesn’t have sufficient value, according to Bob Dean, executive director of business transformation at Cisco.
To collect, analyze and report the data dynamically – and ultimately help drive innovation, quality and cost savings throughout the organization – Dean recently wrote at Manufacturing.net that manufacturers need to “stitch” these various business systems into a cohesive and integrated decision engine by harnessing “Data in Motion” – a way for increasingly more and diverse data types from new devices and sensors to function at maximum value while still in motion.
“Take pressure sensors, which have been widely deployed across plant floors to monitor systems and ensure they are applying pre-defined parameters,” Dean notes. “If controlled by higher-level manufacturing execution systems, this same sensor data could be used in deciding whether to change the pressure envelope based on customer requirements or quality inspections across the entire factory, or even across sites. True business benefits accrue when Data in Motion flows freely across silos.”
As “big data” becomes a bigger challenge and a higher priority for manufacturers, it will also become an opportunity to gather valuable insights, decrease costs, increase profit and drive quality.