The 3 Big Data Mega Trends For Manufacturing

Smart manufacturers are embracing the digital revolution—IIoT, machine learning, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and cloud-based infrastructure.


By Michael Schuldenfrei

In today’s global, highly competitive economy, industrial companies are under intense pressure to lower manufacturing costs and streamline processes without compromising quality. Production managers are expected to contribute to improved business outcomes through ultra-efficient use of raw materials, near-zero production downtime, streamlined labor costs, and agile workflows — producing competitively priced, quality products that will enhance customer satisfaction and build brand equity.

Smart manufacturers are responding to these challenges by going beyond MES, SCADA and other IT-driven production systems to fully embrace the digital revolution and its underlying foundational technologies — the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), machine learning, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and, of course, cloud-based infrastructure.

Due to the sheer scale of mass manufacturing, the impact on quality and/or profitability of each “small” issue becomes significant — each inefficient use of raw materials, each machine that is not operating optimally, each amount of time it takes to identify root causes and rectify malfunctions, each finished product or product-in-process that has to be discarded or is discarded mistakenly, and so on.

What is sometimes referred to as Industry 4.0 addresses these issues by gathering real-time data from machines and then analyzing the huge volumes of diverse data in order to identify inefficiencies or malfunctions, or even predict them before they occur.

Corrective or pre-emptive actions can be triggered automatically according to each organization’s requirements and workflows. Enterprise systems (such as production, finance, ERP, CRM) that are typically siloed now become integrated so that actionable insights can be achieved across all business processes, all manufacturing sites, and the entire upstream & downstream supply chain.

These challenges and solutions have become particularly critical in the automotive sector, which is undergoing a major structural change as vehicles become increasingly connected and autonomous. More and more consumers are perceiving their car as a smartphone on wheels, with strong expectations that it will be plugged into a wide range of online services and easily upgradable as its software-based technologies evolve.

Automaker OEMs are scrambling to meet these expectations without compromising safety and quality — and without increasing end-user car prices

They know that their manufacturing processes must become more agile and flexible, and their already complex supply chain must be extended to include a new class of software and platform vendors.

In this ebook we explore how Operations and Manufacturing executives in all industrial sectors — and in the automotive sector in particular — are applying core mega trends in order to achieve better outcomes for their organizations.

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