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Big Data - the Alchemist in Manufacturing

Posted by Jayant Prabhu
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Big data has arrived in manufacturing and in a big way. Needless to say that it governs the future of manufacturing as is clear from the Economist Intelligence Study commissioned by Wipro – 'Manufacturing and the data conundrum' where 86% survey respondents report major increases in collection of data and 90% respondents saying their companies have mature data analysis capabilities for many manufacturing processes. Having said that, some questions need to be answered. How are manufacturers using these huge volumes of data for deriving valuable insights which in-turn will help in profitability? Is data collection easy or cluttered with problems related to quality and transparency? Is it easy to integrate data from various sources?

The time has come to shift from mere forecast of problems using data to actually solving the above questions using data effectively. Despite the complications between shop-floor data theory and practice, companies surveyed have found a number of comfort zones where the benefits of real-time machine-generated information are accessible. As mentioned above, many have mature data analysis capabilities and using insights gathered from production-data analysis, two-thirds of companies report annual savings of 10% or more in terms of the cost of quality and production efficiencies. According to a McKinsey report, nearly 1.8 billion people will enter the global consuming class over the next 15 years and worldwide consumption will nearly double to $64 trillion. In such a scenario data analytics provide manufacturers with a huge opportunity to predict, innovate and implement. The challenge now is to integrate the data from multiple sources and draw valuable insights.

Although state-of-the-art digital systems can predict problems and suggest solutions in advance of actual need, more than half of manufacturers aren’t confident that their analytical skills are up to the task. In Professor Daniel Apley’s (professor of industrial engineering and management sciences, Northwestern University) words 'It is very difficult to find young, talented people who want to go into manufacturing. They want to be with financial companies, or Google and Facebook'. Just 22% of surveyed companies have predictive analytical capabilities for production throughput, for example; just 16% have mature analytical capacity to generate potential solutions.

After all is said and done, it turns out that coordinated digital control systems can and do produce insights that are extremely valuable. Some 34% of those surveyed have generated annual savings of more than 25% annually in the cost of quality; the same proportion report 25% or better efficiency improvements annually.

Effective use of data is the alchemist to the many challenges manufacturers are facing today. Do you have any other thoughts on how data is being used in manufacturing processes to provide transparency,increase efficiencies and reduce cost of quality?

About Author

Jayant Prabhu- General Manager & Global Practice Head, Big Data Analytics, Wipro Analytics

Jayant Prabhu is General Manager and Global Practice Head for the Big Data Analytics practice, a part of the Wipro Analytics service line. He is responsible for practice strategy and management, business & competency development and thought leadership on leading technologies like Big Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things etc.

Jayant has over 17 years of IT experience around Information Management consultancy, Data Architecture and Implementation road map, Process Modelling, and Design and Implementation of BI & IM solutions around leading product suites. He has advised multiple Fortune 100 organizations on devising strategies to leverage Information as a strategic asset to drive innovation derive competitive advantage and manage costs utilizing leading edge concepts like Big Data, Cloud, and Analytics.

He has also been a regular speaker at leading industry & CXO forums organized by Gartner, IDC, MDM Institute on topics around Big Data Analytics, Master Data Management & Information Management strategies. He has also co-authored whitepapers on Big Data Analytics, Information Governance, Data Monetization etc. that have been published in leading publications. He is one of the founders of the 'Wipro MDM Leadership Council', a successful thought leadership platform that brings together practitioners from several organizations that are or are looking at implementing MDM to drive business transformation.

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