Top 5 Ways Manufacturers Should Be Using Their Data

If you are already collecting data in your organization, great!  However, if you are collecting data, and dropping it into a repository where it’s never seen again, what’s the point?

There have been many great articles written on how companies should use their data, but manufacturers are quite different than retailers, or service providers, of any business that deals directly with the end-user customer of their product. According to Forbes the common Top 5 ways to leverage data for those kinds of companies is:

1. Make more informed decisions
2. Understand customers, and market trends
3. Provide smarter products and services
4. Improve internal operations
5. Create additional revenue opportunities


For many manufacturing plants however – those that don’t design the products they build or sell to the end customer as those functions and responsibilities belong to their customers – some of the above do not apply ‘directly’.  In the case of point 2, “Understand customers and market trends”, for many factories it would be more important to understand their workforce and the trends within the workforce.

Most companies in this category would not get a chance to create additional revenue opportunities, but they could use data to drive operator engagement on the plant floor by modifying behavior, and in-turn creating more production capacity (i.e. revenue), or decreased cost, which creates additional earning, or improves competitiveness which may lead to more business.

Our Top 5 List for Manufacturers Would Be:

1. Make more informed decisions
Understand your current workforce, and future trends to attract the best
3. Make quicker decisions to prevent adding value to waste
4. Improve internal operations (Lean, CI, digitization of documents etc.)
5. Put data into action in real time to modify behavior engage workers


Arguably the most important of these 5 however, is making more informed, data-driven decisions.  Randy Bean, and Thomas Davenport of the Harvard Business Review state that:

“Analytical decisions and actions continue to be generally superior to those based on intuition and experience.”

There are many business cases that support this assertion, and manufacturers serve as an excellent example.  Since the advent of industry 4.0, it’s become easier than ever to obtain performance metrics from manufacturing equipment. However, simply generating data in a manufacturing environment does not improve efficiency or productivity. Rather, it’s how manufacturers use their data that enables improvement.

By monitoring their machine data, communicating more effectively with their operators, and scheduling dynamically, manufacturers can identify and address process bottlenecks, eliminate wasted time, material or energy, and greatly improving their overall production. This this allows manufacturers to produce more with the same amount of resources – directly benefiting the bottom line.


Industry 4.0 has created the next level of manufacturing, transforming people, processes, and smart machines into the Digital Factory. The goal is to optimize manufacturing, and the environment around it, using data as the information beacon to help Make Smarter Decisions, Faster!  Contact us to learn more, and to see a live demo of ShiftWorx™ MES!

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