By Jeff Eiben, Principal Owner, River Point Technology
Real-time data is quickly becoming a necessity, whether your company manufactures or distributes products for
chemical, oil and gas, hydraulics, food service, cleaning or any other end user.
The reason is this: we live and work in a connected world and data is flowing in second by second. As the number of internet-connected devices increases (and the estimate is now 50 billion by 2020), the volume of data is becoming both invaluable and overwhelming. The question then for today’s manufacturers and distributors is not whether to incorporate real-time data into their core business operations, but how.
Data arguably offers one of the best returns on investment (ROI), but its value is often masked by intimidating industry terms like Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT). Once those buzzwords are stripped away, the bottom-line benefits are clear: increased productivity, reduced downtime and improved fiscal management are just a few.
The power of real-time data
Siri, the Apple smartphone digital assistant, is a perfect example of how data and decision making go hand in
hand. When we tell Siri where we want to go, “she” does all the rest. She decides what travel route is most efficient, where we can stop to eat or buy gas, and she even shares a few points of interest along the way. This is just one example of how a single internet inquiry can immediately improve our moment-by-moment decision making
capabilities. This is the power of real-time data.
What if we could harness that same power of data and apply it to our business environment? What if we could
incorporate the data of not one, but multiple business systems? The result would be a massive collection of insight that would increase efficiencies, protect capital assets and improve overall decision making.
The business case for a robust, ready-for-growth IT infrastructure and sound data management practices is clear. Making the leap from conceptual to implementation, however, requires an understanding of real-time data and your specific business needs. For example, if protection of your equipment assets is a priority, then predictive analytics could be step one in your real-time data game plan. If asset management and pump replacement is less of a budget concern than data risk in a global market, then your real-time data investment will likely prioritize data management and cybersecurity.
For this reason, a baseline evaluation is a necessary first step. Identify your business priorities and assess what your company already has in place. From there you will be able to recognize gaps and develop a data strategy that is specific to your business needs. The resulting roadmap will help you: integrate data into your daily operations; predict the success of new product development; improve operational efficiencies; and ultimately provide valuable insights that will factor into future business decisions.
A regional manufacturing company returned from an industry conference enthused about the idea of capturing
and utilizing data to improve their business operations, but they had no idea where to begin. A baseline evaluation revealed that the company was disregarding 99 per cent of its data before it ever reached decision makers, primarily because the company never saw the need to invest in adequate data storage and analysis tools. As a result, they were missing out on several opportunities to increase efficiency and drive profit. After completing a baseline evaluation, the company chose to focus on a single need, and that was to capture and use their data to maximize the efficiency of their
To read this article in its entirety, please contact the editor, Deirdre Morgan