Big data is a collection of a large volume of data in different forms from various sources. That’s why many industries look for different ways to leverage big data and analytics to gain a competitive advantage. The manufacturing sector has always been an intensive user of technology and data to drive quality and efficiency. It is the most complex industry in terms of variety and types of products. To have a transformative impact, the adoption of industry 4.0 has led to smart manufacturing that involves exploring big data for optimized workflows and error reduction.
The propagation of technology across manufacturing, from R&D and design, to logistics, to field servicing and technology has served and experienced the rise of data volume exponentially in the industry. With several processes of procurement and production, inventory and operational management, the manufacturing sector has a big collection of structured and unstructured data. This data is unorganized, maybe unstructured and not all of the data is important.
However, when needed it is difficult to search and take out the necessary information from the compiled data structure. For this, Big Data analytics come into play.
Companies using Big Data in Manufacturing
It is important to understand the benefits of Big Data analytics in order to increase the efficiency and productivity of the business. Some manufacturing companies have been utilizing big data analytics successfully, however many others are yet to understand and adopt the technology.
Big data increases transparency in the entire supply chain. Companies use sensors to reduce condition-based monitoring and maintenance of machines. Data is used to track the location of tools and inventory in real time, eliminating errors and delays. Companies are encouraging supply chain transparency by analyzing processes and its dependency to optimize inventory management, stock control, price supervision and machine maintenance.
From enhancing security and automation to reducing financial risk to increasing the quality of processes and products, the benefits of big data can be leveraged in many facets of operations.
Benefits of Big Data in Manufacturing Sector
With the help of big data analytics, companies can know the amount of production to be done to be as close to the market demand as possible. Big data is useful in providing the correct estimate of the requirement of products in the market that avoids overstocking or losing potential sales due to under-production. While companies keep a close watch on their daily production using big data analytics tools, they also get insights to understand what type of improvements are required in their products.
Big data can efficiently predict and forecast when machines and robots used for production require maintenance. Based on prediction, companies can also plan their maintenance schedules. The result; reduced equipment breakdown and losses incurred due to equipment failure. As per a report by Forbes magazine, big data can reduce breakdown of machines by upto 26% and unscheduled downtime by 23%.
Supply Chain Management
As supply chains become more complex they generate large amounts of data. Data is received from different sources like ERP systems, supplier end, shipment details etc… making it important for companies to utilize big data tools and optimize their supply chain. With the help of big data analytics, companies can have real-time monitoring of their products.
Big data can be very helpful in determining and projecting the demand of a particular product. Companies manufacture products based on forecasts provided by the analytics tools and eliminate or reduce production downtime and losses.
Reduce manufacturing cost and improve quality
Big data can benefit manufacturing companies by reducing the tests required to enhance product quality. For example, Intel has been using big data for its processor manufacturing. Normally, the company has to conduct various tests for any chip but after using big data techniques, the numbers of tests required have reduced, resulting in decreased manufacturing costs.
After Sales and Customer Satisfaction
Keeping track of products after sales helps manufacturers understand customer responses and reduce condition-based monitoring. Also, with the help of big data it is possible to avoid recall issues. This ultimately leads to customer satisfaction and increased product and brand reputation.
The Future Adoption of Big Data
Apart from these benefits, companies can use big data technologies to hire the right employees, focus on their local area, know what is suited for that area and even decide where to set up new factories. Big data enables companies to create tailored products and services according to the market requirement, invent new business models and create next generation products.
AI-driven analysis of big data in the manufacturing industry provides a wide scope for organizations and ensures product innovation and better quality. It provides a competitive edge for companies to grow and succeed in an increasingly complex and competitive environment. Over time, big data processing tools have become more affordable and qualitative in their ability to dig actual performance data and gain useful insights that maintain overall organizational health.