7 ways manufacturers misuse invaluable company data

Your operations create and accrue massive amounts of data, yet you still may not be able to resolve simple queries. Here are 7 questions you should be asking.

· 3AG blog,data engineering,reporting,data coach

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At 3AG, we’ve spent over a decade helping companies clean up their data and make the most of their reporting activities. We've seen almost every kind of data dysfunction: from people copying written notes into spreadsheets then having others copy these to pdf to share with management, to operations being held up by “gatekeepers” unwilling to share their data with others because of a siloed mindset or concern about their jobs becoming obsolete. Whatever the cause, such data breakdowns can cause serious damage to manufacturers’ bottom lines.

When it comes to keeping people informed so they can work more effectively, we don't sugar-coat our observations or advice. The hard fact is, manufacturers generally make these 7 errors with their data:

  1. They limit operations data to the factory floor
  2. They don’t save data in the cloud
  3. They rely on spreadsheets
  4. They manually build reports and dashboards
  5. They suffer from key person risk
  6. They depend on manual entry and override
  7. They report data rather than insights

1. They limit operations data to the factory floor

Everyone now understands the importance of data-driven operations. What many still miss is the benefit of integrating this data across the company.

One of the most common mistakes operations teams make is focusing only on how organizational data can improve their part of the operations. There is nothing wrong, for example, with the maintenance team keeping detailed equipment records; but if don’t share this data with other teams, the benefits of data to the company are limited. Another example: a planning team that’s mastered weekly work schedules but doesn’t communicate the need to work around wildly variable incoming orders actively will undermine the sales team’s effectiveness.

The bottom line is this: Keeping operations confined to the factory floor hurts everyone, including the factory floor as it continues running on incomplete or downright incorrect information.

2. They don’t save data in the cloud

Ironically, the very reason manufacturers might save most of their data on-site instead of the more robust and secure cloud is their rich history of recording data…on-site. Traditional supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems and operational historians are not new, first appearing in factories and industrial control systems decades ago.