Big data is a major part of the digital transformation taking place in the manufacturing industry. Every organization has innumerable terabytes of information in their possession, but how many know what to do with it? The amount of data to be stored is growing every day, so data acquisition is not a problem anymore. The challenge is to make sense of the data, reveal the patterns in it, and use them for operational improvements and to support strategic decision making.

Today’s manufacturing organizations have to find a way to handle and process this unprecedented amount of data. Not all of the generated data offers useful information, but about 33 percent of all data could be useful when analyzed, according to estimates. However, only 0.5 percent of all available data is processed by companies. This means manufacturers are not using the remaining 32.5 percent of data that could provide them with valuable business insights and revenue growth.

The manufacturing industry is the industry most affected by big data trends and possibilities due to the nature and amount of data produced by it. Most manufacturers are just starting to discover the potential of using big data tools, but there are already some pioneers within the biggest manufacturers who have provided some big data use cases to follow:

  1. Risk management — There are several areas of the supply chain where big data can help. Suppliers now have the choice to share their production data with their partners and customers, which creates a completely transparent and highly effective communication channel for both parties. Quality data also can be shared the same way, where manufacturers can have all the production and product-related quality metrics from their suppliers before even receiving the parts.
  2. Build-to-order configurations — The build-to-order production approach is an efficient and profitable model. But in order to see real growth from it, a well-defined data platform needs to be in place to analyze customer behavior and sales data.
  3. Improve product quality — Huge savings can be had when using predictive analytics in testing. One single product might require thousands of different quality tests. The number of tests required can be significantly reduced if pattern recognition and predictive analytics are used to determine the number and type of tests needed instead of performing all tests on all items.
  4. After sales — With the help of big data, it is possible to either avoid or to foresee warranty or recall issues, potentially saving huge amounts of money.
  5. Track daily production — In order to optimize production quality and yield, manufacturers need to have a daily data flow from their production lines to see discrepancies and opportunities in real time.

Cloud and SaaS solutions are making it so any size business can take advantage of the big data trend. If you are a manufacturer and need an IT partner to help guide you through this digital transformation, give 2W Tech, a Microsoft Gold Partner, a call. We are a Tier I Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider also and would be happy to discuss the best way for your organization to take advantage of what big data can offer.

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