Thanks to the explosion of IoT (Internet of Things), artificial intelligence, and machine learning, manufacturing companies are fast turning to smart manufacturing. The first step to becoming a smart factory is to understand the benefits of data collection and implement a real-time data collection system. This will allow manufacturers to easily optimize production, efficiency, and profitability. Thanks to a highly accurate and standardized data flow system, machine, labor, inventory, supply chain and product quality data collection lead to better decisions.

Biggest Data Collection Challenges for Manufacturers

Legacy systems and isolated data sources: Traditional systems, equipment, and assets were not originally designed to talk to each other. The use of separate systems created a massive documentation and communication gap. Therefore, it is difficult to consolidate highly unstructured data from many different sources.

Limited Budget: Because of labor shortages, manufacturers face the challenges of an exhausted workforce as well as that of a limited budget. This situation does not help meet the data needs of a smart manufacturing plant.

Inadequate data storage methods: Manufacturers rely on spreadsheets or handwritten documents to store data collected anywhere from acquisitions and production to inventory and operations. These methods cannot possibly cope with the massive increase in data.

5 Big Benefits of Data Collection for Manufacturers

Manufactures can gain competitive advantage if they adopt a digital approach to collect plant or production data.

1. High visibility. Manufacturers can now get fast and accurate information about asset performance, workforce, product quality, inventory levels, and equipment efficiency. Tools like OEEasy help reduce downtime and production bottlenecks and boost the factory’s efficiency and productivity, as production data can be visualized from any device.  

2.  One source of information. Different equipment uses different data records in various formats. With plant data collection, manufacturers can get rid of assumptions, conjectures, and lack of communication between machines. In other words, it saves time and effort when searching for the right information.   

3. Makes it easy to adopt new technologies.  Data collection is the first step towards becoming a data-driven smart factory. With large sets of data available, manufacturers can use IoT devices to:

  • Digitize production operations
  • Monitor efficiency
  • Keep adequate inventory levels
  • Accurately predict demand

4. Streamlines scheduling all the way to delivery: the collection of accurate data at every stage, like total inventory, current production capacity, and estimated delivery, helps align scheduling, production, and sales. Manufactures can see the current status of a batch and know whether they can meet their clients’ demands within the promised timeframe.

5. Optimizes costs: the implementation of a data collection system supports production processes assessment, process improvement, production boost, and waste reduction, while reducing costs in general.

Data Collection and Manufacturing Processes

Manufacturing processes can benefit from data collection in many ways.

Production: manufacturers have a clear idea of the production volume needed any given day.

Supply chain: as supply chains become more complex, data collection methods vary, like spreadsheets, suppliers’ portals, and so on. When rationalizing such diverse information, manufacturers can take advantage of real-time delivery tracking, suppliers’ capacity, and quality optimization of supply chains.     

Maintenance: legacy systems do not provide information about a machine’s condition or the impact of such factors as temperature, vibration, heat, or pressure on its daily operation. As a result, machines break down. Tools like ELT help predict breakdowns and when maintenance is needed, thus preventing disruptions and wastage.

In order to succeed in an increasingly competitive market, data collection tools are in high demand. Therefore, those manufacturers who wish to develop customized products and increase their market share need to use the best tools to reap all the benefits of data collection. Our production software allows you to optimize processes and resources and increase profit margins.

4i Platform  can help you achieve this and much more. Are you ready?