Role of Predictive Analytics in Manufacturing Domain

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  • Author:
  • Sahana Rajan

predictive analytics in manufacturing

Predictive Analytics is a gradually rising art of analyzing data to produce insights and consequently, formulate decisions and policies, keeping in mind estimations pertaining to the domain. Recent years have shown the application of predictive analytics to manufacturing field and opened up the vast possibilities inherent in using it to further business and profitability. The prime mover of predictive analytics in manufacturing realm is the use of insights derived from Big Data regarding production, supply chain, maintenance and other manufacturing tasks. The kind of atmosphere required in each manufacturing organization to derive such insights from predictive analytics varies and the task of any analyst remains to generate a fertile atmosphere for the same. Once such an atmosphere is in place, the organization can extract the following benefits through use of predictive analytics.

Forecasts and Proactive Action

Data on the quantity and type of products bought help the manufacturers in determining the manner in which resources can be designated for profit. The record of past sales and demand is used to infer the upcoming marketing trends. There can be three types of forecasts that predictive analytics can provide to the companies: labor and operations forecast, manufacturing process forecast, and service forecast. While the labor and operations will include the preliminary data on static and movable resources of the company (used for manufacturing), the manufacturing process forecast will track the lifecycle of products and log them to predict impending repairs or changes. Lastly, the service forecast will be the post-sale analysis that keeps an account of health of products on sale in general and of activity of users and products’ responses specifically. These three types of forecasts will involve matrix of departments from the company: sales, marketing, operations, and human resources among others.

Labor and Operating Cost Recording

In a business, keeping track of the static and dynamic costs enables the policy-makers to modify and add features to their methods. This will enable lesser expenses and greater outputs. This is made possible through the use of Big Data and predictive analytics. The cost of labor in a business covers about 30 to 40 percent of the total cost (in case of small-scale and medium-scale businesses). By using data, one can recognize which costs are overhead and which are necessary to holistically impact working of the business.
To enable such an impact, the business would need to gather data from diverse sources. Such a data-digging is improvised through the Internet of Things where each machine would send across its status and working condition automatically, allowing the enterprise access to live information about its products. Once such data has been collected, they would have to be sorted into relevant and irrelevant according to the task at hand followed by development of visualization to extract insights and forecasts from it.

Moving Toward Higher Quality

Many factors influence the quality of products in an enterprise. By creating software that can collect and aggregate data efficiently, such factors can be made measurable. A raging challenge to such a task is the need for apps that can be used by non-technical staff so that distribution and computing of data would be easy. Thus, the manufacturing domain can use predictive analytics to positively influence the factors involved in quality control.

Product development through data-quarrying

A series of organizations have executed IoT capacities on their machines which allows to stream out preventive care. Under such a scheme, customers can provide reviews and feedback (in form of Client Reports) coupled with the machine’s automated logs. Predictive analytics can structure this series of information to generate patterns and trends. For instance, in case company ABC is selling sports shoes and its products are capacitated with IoT such that they receive daily reports about the working of the items. Suppose that ABC receives a series of crisis reports from both machines and consumers of shoe model X over a period of time. This enables the company to collect data about the product and culminate such an aggregation to a range of insights that can be used to modify and develop product X.

Extracting the Most from Equipment

Every organization has an ecosystem of equipment which it uses to manufacture products. In case the set of equipment are not used efficiently, not only would they incur unnecessary expenses (maintenance and production costs) but also end expiring their lifespan sooner than intended. For this reason, data about the use of paraphernalia and about the returns the company is receiving through its use can be recorded to infer optimum pattern of use. Predictive analytics would allow the company to track the behavior of these apparatus to use them optimally. In the past, analysts used spreadsheet format to evaluate the data. However, now with the coming of predictive analytics software whose interface is intuitive and easy-to-use, even non-technical members of the organization can contribute to the bettering of manufacturing process.

Live Monitoring of Manufacturing Process

Tools which embody predictive analytics are highly varied and diverse. In 2013, MIT developed minute sensors which could witness and collect data about the manufacturing process. Giving testimony to the significance of such inventions, MIT said: “The new MIT sensor could make this process (of testing and manufacturing drugs) much faster, allowing researchers to not only better monitor and control production, but also to fine-tune the manufacturing process to generate a more consistent product.” Thus, predictive analytics is pregnant with the capacity to give birth to a range of tools to collect and analyze data such that the derivative insights can positively nurture the manufacturing process.

Raise Uptime of Machinery and Equipment

The traditional pattern of repairing an equipment is played out after the latter is damaged. With predictive analytics and the kind of tools being developed to actualize it, companies can predict the points under which equipment lose their capacities or wear out and thus, implement preventive care at a sooner moment. This will allow the machinery to be at work for longer period of time without intermittent need to shut down for repair.
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