If you had all the data from the manufacturing shopfloor operations at your disposal; up-to-date and historic, on material properties, supplier batches, on asset performance, quality, process settings and actuals and who was working at the line, what questions would you ask? Which insights result in improved shopfloor performance and added value?

Not everybody is ready for this question. Most of the time, digitalization projects on manufacturing operations focus on getting systems in place and running and get data organized and collected. The questions like “what data can we expect from this project?” and “how can we use this data to our advantage?” are often an afterthought. In addition to this, operational excellence and continuous improvement departments are used to working from the questions they get (remove the bottleneck, reduce the waste) and answering these with the information that is available. So, what is the function of new data?

Digitalization projects often make a load of new data available. If the organisation is not ready to use it to its advantage, then here are some tips:

  • Understanding available data, its structures, its quality, and its context is key to generating value. We go from limited availability of shopfloor data to shopfloor data overload. The challenge is no longer to collect data, but it is to manage it, to structure it, to make it available for analysis and to evaluate it.
  • Bring data in context. Logging the actual temperature in an oven can be useful, but it is better if you can bring it in to context and tell which batch went in when. This enables decision making on the quality of the batch.
  • Understand the manufacturing process and dare to formulate hypotheses. “Can we decrease the number of rejects at the end of the line if we tighten the specs of our raw materials a little more? Or can we allow broader specs?”
  • Explore the data to find deviations. Deviation patterns can be visible in the data, while invisible on the shopfloor.
  • Create actionable metrics on the shopfloor and connect these metrics with the financial business metrics.
  • Start using real data in cost accounting instead of default data. Doing this rework will indeed increase the cost price of the product produced and decrease the benefit.

Find out more about Master Data for Manufacturing Operations or request more information at www.mom-institute.org