• Nick Hilton

Production Intelligence for Manufacturers

Production has become more complex and competitive than it ever has been. Modern manufacturers must contend with ever more rapid product life cycles, increased production complexity, and a high demand for customisation, amongst many other challenges within the larger business landscape i.e., legislation and global markets.


As these factors become ever more critical to remaining competitive in the modern market it makes being able to derive key insights and the ability to react to them essential. This change is affecting the whole global economy, and it affects some industries and locations more than it does others. If you’re a manufacturer and you’re in the UK then you’re at the forefront of this change and no doubt feeling the pressure to react somehow.


This is the beginning of a shift to a world that makes use of the internet of things, huge amounts of intricate data, AI, and cloud computing amongst other things, and it’s the beginning of a shift to a world where thriving in business, particularly manufacturing, means employing these technologies and having cultures centred around data and being able to react to it. This includes everything from a tool to monitor one aspect of production all the way to high level management and executive reporting. If you don’t have a Business Intelligence or data strategy yet then that should be a high level priority


What is Production Intelligence?


Also referred to as ‘manufacturing intelligence’ or ‘enterprise manufacturing intelligence’ production intelligence is the same as business intelligence but within the specific confines of a business’s production line. That doesn’t have to be limited to manufacturing, but it is more relevant with manufacturing businesses as the production environment is such a large proportion of the overall activities. Production data encompasses all the data/information that is stored during any process relating to production, this includes for example inventory, machine information, production stats, product information, and scrap value. Production data includes operational data, such as the capacity, run times, faults and error rates. It also covers ERP data such as stock, orders, and due dates.

The good news is most of this information is already being produced! However, in its raw form it’s borderline useless from an ‘intelligence’ perspective therefore we need to consider how we can make this data relate to business processes, to contextualise it, and to deliver it in a form which end users or other applications can make use of. Ultimately, within the context of the business all these pieces of data produced across the range of sources do relate to each other but if you try to make strategic decisions from one source without considering it within the larger picture then you could make drastically uninformed decisions. From a more cynical viewpoint if you’re making decisions based on intuition (which is of course an important skill) rather than genuine data then who is accountable when the outcome isn’t a positive one?



Conclusion


As you develop your Production Intelligence strategy and implement it you’re going to find yourself discovering things that otherwise would never have become apparent and that’s the beauty of something like this, once it’s done it largely works for itself. It doesn’t stop there though, as I hinted to previously this will drive innovation and the production intelligence strategy itself will iterate and evolve with your organisation. Automations and insights that aren’t available to you immediately will be over time as that understanding and knowledge grows.


One thing to keep in mind throughout though is to not drown in data! Insights, indicators, reports, and dashboards are fantastically powerful but don’t let them be something which distracts you without value. An effective production intelligence strategy includes decisions around how data will be delivered, to who, and (if appropriate) how they should respond.


We can work with you to design and start you on your Production Intelligence journey. Get in touch using the button below or via our contact details for a free initial consultation.


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