Prove It

Data, an Untapped and Underutilitzed Resource

March 20, 2016

With all the hype associated with the term ?big data? in manufacturing and all the promises and insights that it?s supposed to hold, the question remains: How do I get started? How can I extract value from my unique plant and my untapped or underutilized data? Looking towards the future it?s clear that manufacturers who do not fully extract the value of their data will struggle to remain competitive. Data can easily be mined and stored, but it?s in the curation of data where value truly lies. One definition of data curation is: activities that enable data discovery and retrieval, maintain its quality, add value, and provide for reuse over time, and includes authentication, archiving, management, preservation, retrieval, and representation.? A more simply said definition would be: facilitating data to become actionable and most valuable. LNS research explains: ?The challenge for manufactures does not reside in data collection?it can be sourced to the conversion from data to intelligence. ?Data curation enables the use of data to provide business insight. At Interstates, we can be your ideal data curation partner to help provide deep insight into your business.

Similar to how a field of corn is valuable in and of itself, a years? worth of production data in an excel file is also valuable, but neither are living up to their best value proposition. Corn is most valuable when the starch or germ is extracted to produce ethanol, corn syrup, or corn oil. Data is most valuable and practical when available to the right people, at the right time, in the right format and those people are empowered to take action. These resources require curation to attain maximum value; both are harvested, stored, converted, and extracted to add value. To assign tangible meaning to the capabilities of your untapped or underutilized data, we?ve come up with the below potentially underutilized abilities hopefully shedding some light on the topic.

  1. Increase the quality and yield of production. As products become more and more unique and margins razor thin, understanding exactly what goes into every product from a resource management, traceability, quality, and recipe perspective is ever important. Data enables this insight even to the individual machine level, indicating which lines are most compliant and which are not. The insight in the below example shows the ability of multi-variable analysis to explain product variation through data curation. ?It is common in biopharmaceutical production flows to monitor more than 200 variables to ensure the purity of the ingredients as well as the substances being made stay in compliance. One of the many factors that makes biopharmaceutical production so challenging is that yields can vary from 50 to 100% for no immediately discernible reason. Using advanced analytics, a manufacturer was able to track the nine parameters that most explained yield variation. Based on this insight they were able to increase the vaccine?s yield by 50%, worth between $5M to $10M in yearly savings for the single vaccine alone.?

  2. Comparing performance metrics across multiple plants. Data curation enables multisite comparison. By curating production data across multiple plants, firms are enabled to establish and enhance manufacturing best practices and gain insight into quality and product consistency. For example: As margins in the ethanol industry continue to decline, due to low oil prices and government incentives drying up, multisite comparison and production best practices have become essential. A large ethanol company displays a dashboard of metrics in each of their plant?s control rooms on how that plant?s production is compared to others. This information is also sent to corporate for analysis and then used for process enhancement initiatives. This curation of data has also enabled this company to brand their own distillers grains, a co-product of ethanol production used in cattle feed, at a market premium because of the level of quality and consistency they are able to provide. Because multiple sites and production experts are able to look at the data, analytics stem from the group?s collective experience. A prime example of how data within our employees can be better utilized.

  3. Understanding the value of your suppliers. A gauge into supplier performance through data curation can enable a comprehensive look into suppliers and provide insight as to the value they are or are not providing. Analyzing supplier data can show the true cost of supplier non-compliance such as: missed delivery deadlines, performance over time, or off spec product. This data can help put a dollar amount to the value of an alternative supplier or help decide which supplier to order from and in what circumstance.

  4. Production insight into product demand. Common in the space of ?big data? are references to data giants such as Amazon or Google predicting and encouraging your next purchase before you even know what it is. Insights into manufacturing are just as valuable. Understanding demand changing factors such as: time of year, economic climate, average price of complement goods, etc. can yield insight to enable better scheduling, ordering, resource allocation, and maintenance planning. Through the curation and comparison of these datasets, insights are achieved. Although this data is historical in nature and these type of analytics have been done for quite some time, the ability to analyze year over year against different types of data in real time enables trending, forecasting, and business insight otherwise not accessible.

  5. Optimization of OEE. Overall equipment effectiveness is measured by comparing uptime with production time. A basic and useful metric, but to dive deeper into OEE data through data curation is to understand various factors causing up and downtime. Such as the ability to monitor and receive reports in real time of any loss of production or breakdown. These reports can be smart enough to diagnose the cause of downtime and issue a maintenance report in the event of a breakdown while at the same time benchmarking against historical production.

  6. Disparate systems connectivity. Partnered with the curation of data is the need to connect disparate systems both physically through device networking and virtually through software handshakes. Devices must exist on a network to enable connectivity and data extraction. To enhance the value of an existing manufacturing execution system it must become imbedded into production and communicate with ERP software. As previously mentioned ? data is useful and practical when available to the right people, at the right time, in the right format, and those people are empowered to make change ? If business and production systems are not properly integrated together the value of data and process efficiency is diminished due to the lack of usability. Creating physical and virtual connections between systems adds important functionality to make data most valuable.

Our goal at Interstates is to become a trusted partner to provide practical solutions and deep insight with data; enabling a smarter and deliberate manufacturing process. Facilitating data to become actionable and most valuable, data curation, is essential in today?s competitive market. The process of getting assistance with data curation can seem like a daunting task, the rapid growth and cloud around the term ?big data? has certainly not helped that case. Although potentially disruptive, the utilization of data and the culture instillation of data as a resource will yield a progressive and informed manufacturing plant. At Interstates we are driven by the ability to partner with manufacturing firms to gain actionable insight, one step at a time. Contact us to further the discussion as to how we can help extract further value from your underutilized resource, data.