It’s hard to go to a trade show or pick up an industry publication these days without reading something about Industry 4.0, “smart” factories, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), AI, data analytics and cloud computing – just to name a few.
Manufacturing companies have taken advantage of these digital technologies to reduce waste and variability in their production processes and significantly improve product quality and performance. Having more sources for capturing data than ever before, it’s not uncommon for an industrial company to have millions of connected devices, along with tens of thousands of industrial control systems installed nationwide.
So, what’s the result of operating at this high-level digital connectivity? Unstructured data…mountains of it.
Drowning in big data?
As trained and certified analysts, we love data. Frankly, the more the better. That’s because we know not only what we’re looking for, but more importantly how to look for it.
With the advanced analytics of big data, we can take a deep dive into our customer’s historical process data. We can spot patterns and relationships among individual process steps and inputs and then determine which factors – when optimized – will have the biggest effect on productivity.
Unfortunately, regardless of how valuable we think it is, the massive amounts of raw data produced today are of little value to companies unless it is precisely and accurately analyzed and transformed into meaningful and actionable knowledge that fosters good business decisions.
All too often, we see companies jump on the “big data bandwagon” thinking that simply cranking out more data will be the magic solution to increasing productivity and decreasing costs. They invest enormous amounts of money on digital sensors and infrastructure, CMMS software and cloud computing without asking themselves “are we even ready and able to handle all of this information in the first place” and “do we really know what questions we hope to answer”?
Suddenly, they have made a more than significant investment and find themselves drowning in a sea of raw data with literally no idea what to make of it.
DATA IS ONLY AS VALUABLE AS THE ACTION IT GENERATES
From data collection to actionable insights
A whole world of process control data exists “under the hood” so to speak, of which most condition monitoring technicians are completely unaware. They spend valuable (and costly) time conducting further testing and troubleshooting to try and detect problems when there’s a myriad of sources and information that are already there, literally hidden in the noise.
That’s why it’s crucial to make sure that the person responsible for interpreting your data is sufficiently experienced, skilled and trained to do so. “Person” being the key word.
As advanced as computers have become, they are still limited when it comes to converting raw data into actionable insights that drive good decision-making. Although AI is the big buzzword, it is still only in its infancy and typically requires a significant amount of subject matter expert time for even the most basic applications. At this point in time, people are still the best and most efficient resource to make timely and accurate judgments and cultivate sound knowledge from data.
We’re not saying that updating your technology is a bad thing…not at all. Just perhaps before you do, find out what you really need and what your organization can realistically handle. You may have a significant amount of valuable information hidden in the data you already have at your disposal and just need some assistance getting the most value out of it.
The IVC difference
At IVC, our world-class analysts have differentiated themselves for many years due to their extensive experience in a wide variety of industries.
Using a proven granular approach to diagnostics, not only have our analysts been able to identify flaws in even the most complex production processes such as those in the chemical, metals, and pharmaceutical industries, but they’ve also successfully identified untapped opportunities to increase productivity.
Contact us to see what we can uncover for your company.