Manufacturing Data Analytics: The Next Big Thing

Bhagyashri Kambale | March 22, 2022
Manufacturing analytics, or real-time manufacturing analytics, is the process of collecting, cleansing, and analyzing data from machines to forecast their future use, prevent failures, forecast maintenance requirements, and identify areas for improvement.

“The goal is to turn the data into information and information into insight.”

- Carly Fiorina, ex CEO of Hewlett-Packard

Manufacturing data incorporates all structured and unstructured information collected manually or through software from machines and humans throughout the manufacturing process, up to the point at which a product is launched to the market.

In this article, we will look at the use cases of data analysis in manufacturing and some of the start-ups from the U.S. that are helping manufacturers gather their real-time manufacturing analytics.

Data Analysis in Manufacturing: Use Case Analytics

Demand Forecasting

Forecasting demand is highly dependent on historical data on supply levels, material costs, purchase trends, and customer behavior. Manufacturers can use analytics to accomplish the following:
  • Define the products to be manufactured in a time frame
  • Define products that are no longer in stock
  • Determine the quantity of products to be manufactured
  • Forecast sales prospects

Inventory Management

Forecasting demand enables manufacturers to manage inventory, purchase materials, and optimize storage capacity based on data. Additionally, manufacturing industry data analysis provides insight into:
  • The sales-to-inventory ratio indicates the average inventory value over net sales.
  • Days in inventory refers to the time a manufacturer retains before selling a product.
  • Gross margin return on inventory (GMROI) is a term that refers to the amount of gross margin a manufacturer receives for each dollar invested in inventory.

Maintenance Optimization

Data collected from various manufacturing machines, tools, and devices, as well as information about operations and the gears required for the machines, can be analyzed to:
  • Predict when a machine will require maintenance based on the amount of time and the operations in which it has been used.
  • Identify and resolve operational anomalies caused by or will result in machine failure.
  • Prevent downtime by scheduling machine breakdowns, repairs, and replacements in advance.

Price Optimization

Utilizing analytics can assist manufacturers in determining the actual cost of a product based on the costs of materials, labor, machines, and tools used or purchased during the manufacturing process. Additionally, manufacturers can optimize prices based on data about competitors, market trends, consumer behavior, and purchase history. Additionally, analytics can assist in setting dynamic prices that are determined by demand, supply, competition, and subsidiary product prices.

Analytics for Manufacturing as a Service: Three U.S.-based Startups


Uptake offers predictive analytics solutions powered by artificial intelligence for various industries. It provides a compass, which allows organizations to optimize work orders and scout. This allows users to analyze data and custom alerts and radar to get failure and anomaly detection solutions. Failure prediction, noise filtering, situational analytics, and detecting changes in operational behavior are just a few of the features that these systems offer to their customers today. The product, by Uptake, is intended for use in various industries like mining, construction, fleet management, manufacturing, aviation, government, and oil and gas.


Seeq is a leading provider of industrial data analytics solutions. Its big data analysis solutions help in the analysis and comprehension of industrial process data (IPD) more effectively and quickly than typical alternatives. Reduced analysis time, quicker relationship discovery, ERP and other system connectivity, support for business intelligence (BI) tools such as Excel, Tableau, SAS, and MATLAB, and collaboration support are some of the features.

Sight Machine

Sight Machine provides a platform for manufacturing applications that utilize digital twins. It provides solutions for continually analyzing images captured by industrial cameras, sensor data, and data from manufacturing systems to improve product quality and operations. It provides real-time visibility and actionable data for every part, machine, line, and plant manufacturing process. Its clientele includes Nike, Sony, Nissan, and Google, to name a few.

Final Word

Big data analytics in manufacturing assists businesses in identifying the parameters that have a direct effect on production. Additionally, modifying the target process helped businesses increase productivity by 50%.

McKinsey estimates that when analytics are used in design-to-value workflows and projects, manufacturers' gross margins can increase by as much as 40%. Manufacturing analytics can help with design-to-value, supply chain management, and after-sales support. Real-time manufacturing analytics enables manufacturers to optimize their overall production. 


Why is data critical in manufacturing?

Big data helps manufacturers understand their customers' needs and wants better. To launch a new product or upgrade an old one, data is required to make it appealing to customers and assess the risks of competition.

What is production analysis?

Production analysis visualizes production output and helps assess production losses and associated costs.

What is predictive manufacturing?

Predictive manufacturing uses descriptive analytics and data visualization to provide a real-time perspective of asset health and reliability performance.


MeadWestvaco (MWV)

MWV and RockTenn have come together to form WestRock. WestRock makes consumer and corrugated packaging solutions that give our customers a winning edge in the global marketplace. We partner closely with customers on everything from beverage packs and pizza boxes to trigger sprayers and fragrance pumps to paperboard used for a wide variety of packaging and shipping containers. We consider ourselves to be part of their team – as we strive for continuous improvement together.


Five Lean Manufacturing Principles to Empower Your Manufacturing Business

Article | December 16, 2021

Lean manufacturing is an operational approach used to create value. Businesses adopt lean manufacturing to improve productivity, reduce waste, increase customer value, and employee satisfaction. Many businesses are accelerating their adoption of lean principles and practices due to the emergence of the industry 4.0 transformation. As a result, companies such as Caterpillar, Intel, Textron, Parker Hannifin, and John Deere are all reaping the benefits of lean manufacturing. So, where did the idea of "lean manufacturing" first originate? In this article, you'll learn about the origins of lean manufacturing and its key principles. The Origins of Lean Manufacturing The principles of lean manufacturing were developed in Japan in the mid-20th century. Toyota, a famous Japanese automaker, experienced major delivery issues at the time. Its production chains were excessively long; thus it couldn't supply enough products on time. As a result, Toyota needed a new Performance measurement system. The company's managers identified a solution. They created a new project management method called the Toyota production system. Its basic idea was to improve product distribution by reducing waste. It was a good concept. It helped the company shorten manufacturing chains and deliver products faster. Toyota's production method created a simple and effective waste definition. Any step that did not improve the end product's functionality was called a waste. Later, other manufacturing industries adopted the system. It was renamed as lean manufacturing. It's now a global phenomenon and is used by large and small businesses worldwide. When should you implement the Lean Manufacturing Method in your business? Lean is a waste-reduction methodology, approach, and a lifestyle. While it is commonly used in manufacturing, lean techniques are applied to reduce waste while keeping high quality in any business. Waste reduction of 80% plus Reduced production expenses by 50% Decreased inventories by 80-90% Producing quality items is 90% less expensive. Workforce productivity improved by 50% If you want your business to get the above benefits, you need to adopt lean manufacturing principles. Five lean Manufacturing Principles Lean manufacturing benefits businesses in multiple ways, and this lean lifestyle has the potential to empower any organization and increase its market competitiveness. So, let us observe the five fundamental principles of lean manufacturing. Value For the first principle of defining customer value, it is vital to understand what value is. For customers, value comes from what they're willing to pay for. The customer's actual or hidden demands must be discovered. Customers are not aware of what they want or cannot express it. When it comes to new items or technologies, this is a regular occurrence. Assume nothing; ask about the pain points being experienced and then craft a unique value proposition. Never force a solution into a problem that does not exist.” – Thomas R. Cutler, President & CEO at TR Cutler, Inc. For example, you can use various methods to find out what customers value, such as surveys and demographic information. With these qualitative and quantitative methodologies, you may learn more about your clients' needs, their expectations, and their budgets. Value-Stream Identifying and mapping the value stream is the second lean principle. By starting with the consumer’s perceived value, all activities that contribute to that value may be identified. Waste is anything that does not benefit the client in any way. It can be divided into two categories: non-value-added and unnecessary waste. The unnecessary waste should be removed, while the non-value-added should be minimized. You can ensure that clients get exactly what they want while minimizing the cost of creating that product or service by removing unnecessary processes or steps. Flow The next operations must proceed smoothly and without interruption or delays after removing wastes from the value stream. Value-adding activities can be improved by breaking down tasks, reorganizing the manufacturing process, distributing the workload, and educating personnel to be flexible and multi-skilled. Pull The fourth lean principle requires a pull-based manufacturing system. Traditional production systems use a push system, which starts with purchasing supplies and continues manufacturing even when no orders are placed. While push systems are simple to set up, they can result in vast inventories of work-in-progress (WIP). On the other hand, a pull method pulls a customer's order from delivery, causing new items to be made and additional materials to be acquired. Kanban, one of the lean manufacturing tools, can help organizations develop a pull system to control material flow in a production system. An efficient pull system maximizes available space, reduces inventory, eliminates over-and under-production, and eliminates errors caused by too much WIP. Perfection While completing Steps 1-4 is a great start, the fifth and possibly most critical step is incorporating lean thinking and process improvement into your organizational culture. As benefits accumulate, it is vital to remember that lean is not a static system that requires continuous effort and awareness to perfect. Each employee should get included in the lean implementation process. Lean experts sometimes state that a process is not truly lean until it has undergone at least a half-dozen value-stream mapping cycles. How Nike Demonstrated the Benefits of Lean Principles Nike, the world-famous shoe and clothing powerhouse, has embraced lean manufacturing principles and practices. Nike experienced less waste and increased consumer value, as did other businesses. It also shared some unexpected benefits. It is proven that lean manufacturing can minimize terrible labor practices at a company's overseas manufacturing unit by up to 15%. This result was mostly due to implementing the lean manufacturing practice of valuing the workers more than earlier routine labor practices. It provided greater significance to an employee and, as a result, greater significance to the organization as a whole. Final Words Implementing lean manufacturing principles is a good way to run any organization. Businesses that build their operations on the two pillars of lean manufacturing, constant improvement, and personnel respect, are well on their way to becoming a successful and productive organizations in the modern era. To become a lean company, an organization must fully grasp the benefits and added value that it may get by adopting lean manufacturing principles. FAQ What is Five S's of lean manufacturing? The 5S of lean manufacturing are Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain, and they give a framework for organizing, cleaning, developing, and maintaining a productive work environment. What are the two pillars of lean manufacturing? Lean, as modeled on the Toyota Way values, has two pillars, first is ‘Continuous Improvement’ and second is ‘Respect for People’. Why are lean principles beneficial for any business? Lean manufacturing is a business strategy that has proven to be highly successful since it can help you decrease costs, remove waste, enhance production, maintain excellent quality, and thus increase business profit significantly.

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Filmmaking is Manufacturing

Article | July 27, 2021

Filmmaking is manufacturing. To date, no one has made the direct correlation between the two. As many entertainment professionals know, the budget gap between indie productions and big studio blockbusters continues to grow. The day of mid-budget, independent (indie) movies is disappearing as fast as the middle class in the American economy. According to newbiefilmschool, the average budget is barely at $2 million for these pictures and producers have been forced to adapt by discovering creative ways to decrease costs, while maintaining a high production values for a sophisticated audience with high expectations. Though there are many ways to cut costs, any business professional will agree to go with the options that bring down the budget the most. Just as dog is man’s best friend, here are three reasons why manufacturers have become the same for a filmmaker by saving money and time for every type of production. Film equipment manufacturers No long may a film lack quality in picture, sound, and bad acting. Once acceptable, these older movies were produced with the technology and film equipment constraints and from limited funding. Film equipment manufacturers from cameras, sound equipment, and computers cost less to achieve high production values. Film equipment companies face increasing competition, which has driven down the purchase price. Better equipment with significant technology improvements has reframed the indie film industry with high-level sound and image capture quality. The transition of cameras from film to digital was a notable shift for manufacturers. Many industry-insiders believe that digital is free, and film is expensive, but there is more the manufacturing construct. Digital cameras, when compared to film cameras in the same market price bracket, are much more expensive than analog counterparts. It is true that film costs money and is single-use. Digital memory cards are relatively expensive and can be reused. Film also needs to be developed and there is a cost associated with that production cost. There are other ways in which digital modalities save filmmakers. Automation Across all industries, efficiency always wins. Innovative manufacturers have developed machines to make numerous jobs easier for everyone. Machines have been assisting filmmakers since the invention of the camera. AI (artificial intelligence) is poised to change film even more and continues to augment human creativity. Storytellers work with computers during every process of creating a motion picture which has sped up the time it takes to complete each-step in film making. Automating pre-production processes, such as creating a budget and writing a script, is analogous to an ERP (enterprise resource planning) software for a traditional manufacturing operation. The Movie Magic budgeting software by Entertainment Partners has made creating a budget more efficient and accurate. Screenwriter programs vary from the downloadable Final Draft, and the purely cloud based, Celtx, are the reasons automated scriptwriting is the norm. These programs also automatically format writing to industry standards, facilitating the creative process. Automation in post-production is equally advanced through editing software for video, sound, effects, and colors all the way to distribution and promotional content. Editing footage from digital rather than film saves time and money. Industry favorites include Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple’s exclusive Final Cut Pro and are used on almost all well-known movies and TV shows. The impacts of COVID-19 on entertainment manufacturers Without question, the pandemic has affected every industry by creating an unanticipated production standstill. Entertainment manufacturers have sacrificed countless productions, lost billions of dollars, and major talent agencies have furloughed hundreds of employees. This negative impact is not just difficult for indie filmmakers, big studios are suffering just as much with production delays and cancellations still happening as this article goes to press. Any way back to the set is better than no set at all. A new necessity for productions to safely reopen includes epidemiologists and other public health specialists; they provide detailed strategies dealing with large crews who work in cramped spaces, makeup artists who get face-to-face with actors who kiss, hug, and fight on set. These COVID-19 consultants rely on the manufacturing industry for PPE supplies and carry out regular PCR tests. Face coverings and hand sanitizing stations have also become the norm, just like most other manufacturing operations.

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Why Manufacturing Companies Must Consider Business Intelligence

Article | December 14, 2021

Do manufacturing businesses require Business Intelligence (BI)? The answer is YES. Manufacturing is one of the most data-intensive businesses, producing massive amounts of data ranging from supply chain management to shop floor scheduling, accounting to shipping and delivery, and more. All of this information would go to waste if not properly categorized and utilized. Scrutinizing and analyzing your data with business intelligence will help you become a more efficientand productive organization. Your organized data can show you where the gaps or inefficiencies are in your manufacturing process and help you fix it. Many companies simply are not willing to change or think they are done once they make a change. But the truth is technology, consumer demands, the way we work, human needs and much more are constantly changing. Michael Walton, Director, Industry Executive at Microsoft BI has the potential to improve the operations of an organization and transform it into an organized one. According to Finances Online research, more than 46% of organizations are already employing a BI tool as a significant part of their company strategy, and according to Dresner Advisory Services research, 8 in 10 manufacturers who use BI for analytics have seen it function successfully. How Manufacturing Operations Are Improving with Business Intelligence? As revealed by the BI statistics above, we can see that business intelligence is critical in manufacturing. To further illustrate how business intelligence supports the manufacturing industry, let's look at some of the business intelligence benefits that are making a difference in the manufacturing industry. Advances Operational Efficacy While modern enterprises create massive amounts of data, not all of this data is relevant. Today's business intelligence solutions take all of the data from your organization and transform it into an easily comprehensible and actionable format. It enables you to minimize or fix errors in real-time. Additionally, it helps you to forecast raw material demand and assess procedures along the supply chain to ensure maximum efficiency. Allows for the Analysis and Monitoring of Financial Operations Business intelligence solutions provide insight into sales, profit, and loss, raw material utilization and can usually assist you in optimizing resources to increase your return on investment. Understanding your cost-benefit analysis, BI enables you to manage production costs, monitor processes, and improve value chain management. Assists in the Management of Your Supply Chain Manufacturing companies engage with various carriers, handling these multiple processes can be complicated. BI enables manufacturing companies to have more accurate control over shipments, costs, and carrier performance by providing visibility into deliveries, freight expenditures, and general supplies. Contributes to the Reduction of Inventory Expenses and Errors Overstocks and out-of-stocks are substantial barriers to profitability. Business intelligence can assist you in tracking records over time and location while identifying issues such as product faults, inventory turnover, and margins for particular distributors. Determines the Efficiency of Equipment Several factors can cause inefficient production. For example, errors with equipment due to improper installation, maintenance, or frequent downtime can reduce production. So, to keep industrial operations running well, one must monitor these factors. Manufacturers can maintain their machines' health using data analytics and business intelligence. It provides real-time information about your production lines' status and streamlines production procedures. How Business Intelligence Helped SKF (SvenskaKullagerfabriken) to Efficiently Plan Their Future Manufacturing SKF is a key supplier of bearings, seals, mechatronics, and lubrication systems globally. The company posses its headquarter in Sweden and has distributors in over 130 countries. Due to SKF's extensive worldwide reach and product diversity, they constantly need to forecast market size and demand for their products to modify their future manufacturing. Generally, SKF experts developed and kept their forecasts in traditional and intricate excel files. However, the efforts of maintaining and reconciling disparate studies were excessively high. As a result, SKF used require days to generate a simple demand prediction. Later, SKF integrated its business data assets into a single system by utilizing business intelligence in production. Following that, they could swiftly begin sharing their data and insights across multiple divisions within their firm. They are now able to aggregate demand estimation fast and does not face cross-departmental issues about data integrity for the vast number of product varieties they manufacture. This intelligent data management enabled SKF to plan their future production operations efficiently. Final Words Business intelligence in manufacturing makes a big difference in the organization's entire operations. Given the benefits of business intelligence in manufacturing, a growing number of manufacturers are implementing it in their operations. According to Mordor Intelligence, Business Intelligence (BI) Market was worth USD 20.516 billion in 2020 and is anticipated to reach USD 40.50 billion by 2026, growing at a 12% compound annual growth rate throughout the forecast period (2021-2026). Hence, we may say that the business intelligence is crucial for manufacturing and is booming, thanks to its enormous potential and the numerous benefits it provides to various businesses. FAQ Why is business intelligence so important in manufacturing? Organization intelligence may assist businesses in making better decisions by presenting current and past data within the context of their business. Analysts can use business intelligence to give performance and competitive benchmarking data to help the firm run more smoothly and efficiently. What value does BI add to manufacturing? Business intelligence solutions provide insight into sales, profit, and loss, raw material utilization and can usually assist you in optimizing resources to increase your return on investment. Understanding your cost-benefit analysis enables you to manage production costs, monitor processes, and improve value chain management. What is business intelligence's key objective? Business intelligence is helpful to assist corporate leaders, business managers, and other operational employees in making more informed business

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Three Business Examples That Effectively Practice Lean Manufacturing

Article | December 13, 2021

Lean manufacturing principles enable manufacturing businesses to achieve spectacular results and overhaul their conventional operations. A wide range of industries have adopted lean manufacturing because of its enormous advantages, and they have seen excellent results as a result. The 2010 Compensation Data Manufacturing survey indicated that 69.7% of manufacturing organizations employ lean manufacturing principles. By consuming this data, we can understand how far organizations have progressed toward incorporating lean principles into their operations. “Many companies are not willing to change or think they are done once they make a change. But the truth is technology, consumer demands; the way we work, human needs, and much more are constantly changing.” –Michael Walton, Director, Manufacturing Industry Executive at Microsoft Let's look at some examples of lean manufacturing from some well-known companies. These leading-edge examples of lean manufacturing will shed light on how lean principles positively affect. Leading Companies Using Lean Manufacturing Effectively Successful manufacturing businesses like Toyota, Nike, and Caterpillar are currently employing lean manufacturing ideas in their production processes. In addition, Intel, Parker Hannifin, and John Deere embrace these techniques. From them, we've described three different organizations in various sectors that are successfully adopting lean manufacturing. JOHN DEERE John Deere has also implemented a lean manufacturing strategy. As a result, many of their quality control procedures are automated, which means that more components can be checked for flaws in less time. This means that more supply can be released each day, and the product can be supplied at a lower price to the consumer. Additionally, these controls monitor the manufacturing process for each component of their products, ensuring that they never manufacture more than is required and waste essential materials in the process. INTEL Intel, known for its computer processors, has used lean manufacturing techniques to provide a higher quality product for an industry that requires zero defects. In the past, it took more than three months to get a microprocessor to the manufacturer, but this principle has helped shorten that time to less than ten days. Intel rapidly learned that creating more but worse quality was not the way to raise revenues and increase consumer satisfaction with its products, which were extremely precise and technical. Instead, both parties gain from quality control and waste reduction initiatives. This is even true in the tech industry, where goods are constantly changed and upgraded. TOYOTA Toyota, the world's largest automaker, was the first to implement lean manufacturing in its manufacturing operations. But, even more importantly, they've learned how to limit products that don't match customer expectations by eliminating waste. To achieve these goals, Toyota employs two essential procedures. The first is a method known as Jidoka, which loosely translates as "automation with the assistance of humans." This implies that, although some of the work is automated, humans always ensure that the result is of the highest quality. When something goes wrong, the machines have built-in programs that allow them to shut themselves down. Known as the Just In Time (JIT) model, this is the second stage. Once the last part of a process has been finished, the next phase can begin. No unnecessary work will be done if there is a problem with the assembly line. This lean manufacturing technique has inspired thousands of other businesses. Final Words Lean manufacturing principles and their execution require discipline and patience to get the results out of them. When we see the successful lean manufacturing examples, it is not a fraction of a second success. They have devoted their time, energy, and efforts to modifying every single operational process in order to become a part of lean manufacturing. Lean manufacturing is not a method; it is a way of life that transforms your business practices and takes your firm to a new level of operations. Gain insights from renowned organizations' lean manufacturing success stories to help you become a part of the lean companies of 2022. FAQ What is the effect of lean manufacturing? Lean is a performance-based, continuous-improvement strategy that removes waste and unnecessary processes from organizational operations. As a result, your company becomes more focused on the results. Is it possible for lean manufacturing to fail? It is conceivable in some circumstances, such as failing to focus on a single system implementation or implementing too many system changes at once and failing to have a sound follow-up system to check that everything is working effectively. Why do certain businesses struggle with lean manufacturing? Most businesses fail to see that lean is a management philosophy, not a set of tools. As a result, most corporate leaders either don't understand or lack the patience and control to implement lean manufacturing. { "@context": "", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is the effect of lean manufacturing?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Lean is a performance-based, continuous-improvement strategy that removes waste and unnecessary processes from organizational operations. 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MeadWestvaco (MWV)

MWV and RockTenn have come together to form WestRock. WestRock makes consumer and corrugated packaging solutions that give our customers a winning edge in the global marketplace. We partner closely with customers on everything from beverage packs and pizza boxes to trigger sprayers and fragrance pumps to paperboard used for a wide variety of packaging and shipping containers. We consider ourselves to be part of their team – as we strive for continuous improvement together.