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Embracing and Leveraging the Data-Driven Pressure in Industry 4.0

In this special guest feature, John Joseph, CEO & Co-founder of Datanomix, explores why real-time actionable manufacturing data is needed for the entire organization to determine the true quote to cost value. John has an established track record of commercializing technology for diverse markets. Having held executive leadership roles at several startups and their acquirers, John has taken companies and organizations from stealth to billions in enterprise value – most notably with the acquisition of Equallogic by Dell. John is a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Clark University.

In 2020, there’s no need for manufacturers to be afraid of data-driven processes. Now, with our changing environments, we need to overcome the fear and embracing the data-driven pressure.

Realizing the potential and power of Industry 4.0 necessitates these fears and can open up leaders to embrace new processes.  However, the increase in outdated information systems, anemic software tools, and an aging workforce have unfortunately left manufacturing a step behind and at a disadvantage in this industrial revolution.

Nonetheless, new opportunities in the manufacturing landscape are consistently being presented.  With the rebirth of manufacturing, it is becoming crucial for companies to understand how to gather and act on real-time data from production in order to create leverage over their competitors.  This understanding will allow manufacturers to use this data-driven pressure to their advantage as they strive to continuously enhance their shop floor’s mindset while making smarter business decisions.

Where we stand today

There is always room for improvement in the manufacturing industry. There is a way to embrace the data that is currently sitting within the machines on the floor already.

To start, information technology has not adapted to change and innovation as much as production equipment. While the innovation in equipment has continued to get better and better to create better products and faster times for production; over the years, the support and information systems have not kept pace, leaving a massive opportunity in the industry. Even with the onset of AI, machine learning and the cloud, manufacturing remained a laggard. That’s about to change as data becomes essential to business decision making.

The other factor today is the demographics of the modern production worker. It’s changing as Boomers are aging out of the workforce and simultaneously taking their seasoned operating knowledge and expertise with them. A workforce that once focused on being an all-around craftsman and known as being the “machine whisperers” are now being replaced.  Ideally, we’re seeing a new workforce with specialized operators skilled at multitasking and reading digital output, ones that want to embrace machine whispering in a new digital way in Industry 4.0.

To be competitive tomorrow

In order to keep pace amongst its global counterparts, company leadership is demanding greater leverage from its production staff.  In thinking about tomorrow, manufacturing leadership has no other choice but to make data-driven decisions for the best interest of the company. However, even with good intentions, many business owners have been burnt by bad data and poor execution when implementing data analytics as many software tools make hollow promises.  This happens when owners don’t have a true understanding of where the data lies and have an inability to read the data and act on it. All of us fall into the groove of complacency, get comfortable with older tools and don’t take the time to swap them out or replenish the models. 

Today’s current static nature of data analytics, like machine monitoring, can not keep up with new data or show what’s really happening at the moment.  If a company wanted to focus on a “smart” factory,” and embrace all data, it would also not rely solely on IIoT sensors to perform predictive maintenance.  Manufacturers need to take the Goldilocks approach and find what fits them just right and what will drive the best results for their business. If leaders want a factory view, look at systems designed to give a factory view. Simple machine monitoring is purely machine utilization without context.

There is always a better way

Using assets already on the plant floor, real-time production monitoring can first learn a company’s production capabilities—for every job and every machine within a short period of time. Second, it is capable of increasing production intelligence through constantly factoring in historical context on various parameters, such as performance, without requiring any form of human input.  Limiting the amount of human input would allow manufacturers to know when problems arise on the shop floor before normal worker intuition would kick in and know what to  prioritize first.  By using real-time production monitoring, solutions and corrective actions to problems can be implemented easily while still achieving key metrics daily at the factory level.

What’s the Next Step?

Manufacturers first need to commit themselves to a reboot.  It is necessary to identify what is and isn’t working in regards to their systems.

It is important not to fear data-driven pressure.  Instead, accept it and, more importantly, embrace it through the implementation of production intelligence software.  A modern approach to data involves real-time production intelligence software.  This software is accessible and customizable.  If you want a software that will make a difference now while not burdening your staff, look towards real-time production monitoring.

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