With the manufacturing industry switching up its production process, big data analytics platforms are set to play a more integral role in the future.

By Ari Vivekanandarajah, marketing director of Selerity

As the industry relies more and more on IoT, real-time sensors, and other forms of cutting-edge technology, analytics platforms are set to augment the functionality of these innovations and enhance the outcomes companies are capable of achieving with them.

In this post, we take a deep dive into what big data analytics can do for the manufacturing industry and why it has become a major part of its future.

The digital transformation of the manufacturing industry

The manufacturing industry has been in the process of a steady transformation across its production process for some time now. While factories used to have people overseeing production, sophisticated software has gradually taken on that role, transforming how manufacturing companies and factories work.

Whirlpool, the refrigerator manufacturer, for example, has implemented a PLM solution across its operations to reduce system complexity and improve its processes. It has also integrated other technologies, like the digital twin system to validate product concepts.

These are by no means new phenomena in the industry; in fact, more and more manufacturing companies are expected to invest in digital transformation technologies, with spending expected to reach $2 trillion by just 2022.

One reason behind this is the drive to improve product quality while reducing costs; manufacturing firms are looking to create a more nimble, flexible manufacturing process as opposed to the siloed approach they used in the past.

Another reason is the relatively closer connection between manufacturing outcomes and business goals. By using IoT and other real-time technologies, organisations will have a much easier time resolving issues that impact their bottom line on the go, like production equipment downtime.

With the manufacturing industry transforming, however, it’s important to invest in tools that can support the digital production process.

In this context, let’s take a look at a few reasons why big data analytics are critical.

The value of big data analytics platforms for manufacturing

Data analytics platforms will play an integral role in manufacturing for years to come. Here’s why:

* Analytics facilitate greater transparency in the supply chain – The supply chain has seen a dramatic change in recent years. IoT equipment and sensors are now integral parts of this network, collecting and storing data on equipment and production status. This creates a problem, however; information can be siloed and remain isolated from other sources of data, making it hard to generate a holistic picture of the production process. This is where data analytics platforms become invaluable. Data analytics or manufacturing analytics platforms can collect, integrate, and analyse data from different sources, allowing for greater transparency in the supply chain. Analytics platforms can also eliminate barriers that otherwise obscure data transparency.

* They optimise asset use – With the manufacturing supply chain dominated by software assets, it becomes easier to optimise machinery used in production. Data analytics platforms can provide useful insights into machinery status, allowing manufacturers to understand operational equipment efficiency levels in real-time. This allows manufacturers to do something they couldn’t do before–predictive maintenance. Equipment can undergo a quick maintenance check before they malfunction, minimising system downtime and reducing operating costs.

* They give companies a competitive advantage – Data analytics platforms provide manufacturing companies with a competitive edge. With much of the production process being data-driven, manufacturing companies need platforms that can help them break down their data to uncover the right insights. These insights can support the exploration of new product and service opportunities, allowing them to diversify and expand. For most manufacturing companies, the speed at which they analyse and derive results from their data is instrumental to enjoy a competitive advantage.

Data analytics platforms are the future of the manufacturing industry

Big data analytics are a crucial part of the digital transformation taking place. It acts as the vital link in what is a growing network of sensors, software platforms, and manufacturing equipment.

In the long run, this software can help organisations make more meaningful decisions with greater certainty, paving the way for greater innovations, new products and services, and lower operating costs.