Manufacturers are awash in data. But too often it’s trapped in data silos, and it can’t be leveraged to help organizations compete in an increasingly complex market landscape.
Manufacturers can use data as a key currency to unlock value to drive better efficiency and productivity, according to a recent research report from Aberdeen Research.
But they must take three key steps to leverage data to fuel the potential boost to the bottom line:
1. Study data management opportunities and challenges
2. Pinpoint data management capabilities
3. Prioritize data analysis initiatives
When tackling the challenges and opportunities presented by data, leading companies are 89% more likely than followers to see the need to unlock hidden information from big data rather than just controlling large data sets, according to Aberdeen.
“For example, possible supply chain interruption can be found in a supplier’s performance management data, the same way that downtime due to equipment age or corrosion is hidden in asset performance management data,” the report notes. “Additionally, data on non-conformance can help predict critical issues like loss of productivity and recalls.”
This highlights the increasing importance of data analysis to help manufacturers access and act on hidden data.
Seven out of 10 companies in the study rely on dashboards and automatic reporting; however, leading companies are 25% more likely than followers to prioritize investments in analytics to support visual discovery, the report notes.
“Cloud and big data technologies help aggregate data sets across disparate functions to overcome data silos,” according to the report. “Predictive analysis and attention to unstructured data, such as behaviors, helps identify emerging issues. Additionally, manufacturing companies can make a difference by identifying where they can get the most payback for their improvement efforts.”
During the second step of unlocking actionable insight from data, leading companies understand that a data-driven culture isn’t a competition between IT and business users.
Leaders see IT’s job as managing and maintaining a sustainable data infrastructure. Moreover, leaders are 97% more likely than followers to assign importance to IT’s role in data quality and integrity, the report notes.
“Leaders see managers’ and operators’ jobs as managing business opportunities,” according to Aberdeen. “They provide context for how operations can take action against metrics and information.”
Leading companies are 35% more likely than followers to provide users with proactive, problem-solving solutions they can use themselves to react to changes in metrics.
Finally, to be effective, manufacturers must align data analysis initiatives with the overarching business performance goals.
When prioritizing data initiatives, leading companies are:
- 34% more likely than followers to integrate data systems to support decisions
- 70% more likely than laggards to optimize processes when best practices are identified
- 54% more likely to define best practices within a data-driven framework
- 45% more likely to use big data and analytics to combine manufacturing data and to support the enterprise platform
- 41% more likely to train business users in data analysis and 26% more likely to embed analytics in process monitoring and dashboards
- 27% more likely than followers to increase operational awareness of risk, including by using predictive analytics to provide early warning of critical issues before they evolve to operational failure
“Unlocking the value of data is more than an idea – it is a ‘must have’ component of corporate information strategy,” the report concludes. “By complementing perception, intuition or opinions with facts, manufacturers encourage feedback, questions that clarify strategies and employee participation. When managed effectively, manufacturing data can help companies grow and support the vision for a knowledgeable and more effective organization.”
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