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Integration, processes ‘key to gains from Big Data’
February 13, 2017 News big data Manufacturing Firm


For Big Data to drive operating efficiencies, manufacturers must keep their sights firmly on integration and appropriate business processes to make the most of their technology investments, says Honeywell, a global technology leader.

According to Honeywell, manufacturers view data analytics – a key component of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – as a viable solution to a cycle of problems that lead to downtime and lost revenue. For this to deliver the desired results and help achieve operational efficiencies however, companies – and the wider industry – need to adopt a strategic approach to utilizing the data and related analytics.

“Big Data is without doubt a major buzzword in the industry right now and the benefits are clear. Executives need to keep their businesses running smoothly and safely, and they’re banking on IIoT technologies to help navigate challenges, even during economically challenging times,” said Evangelos Alepochoritis, director, Sales Mena at Honeywell Process Solutions.

“Data itself won’t make the change. It is the commitment of individual companies – and the wider industry – to adopt a strategic approach to leveraging this for benefit that will make all the difference. This means having the right technology that is properly integrated across all business operations and managed through robust business processes, delivering a complete end-to-end solution.”

The importance of IIoT and the challenges – and opportunities – of Big Data analytics were highlighted in a recent survey involving more than 200 manufacturing executives in North America.

The research, conducted by Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) and KRC Research Inc., showed that the majority of respondents (67 per cent) are pressing ahead with plans to invest in data analytics, whilst some companies are feeling the pressure to continue working under the threats of unscheduled downtime and equipment breakdowns, which are viewed the most detrimental to maximizing revenue.

The picture is not that different in the Middle East, where unscheduled downtime is a continuous challenge for region’s manufacturers.

“Running plant equipment harder than appropriate presents a host of issues ranging from equipment breakdowns to potential safety incidents,” added Alepochoritis.

“Those issues inevitably lead to more downtime, which leads back to lost revenue. It’s easy to see how many companies feel they’re caught in a vicious cycle. Predictive analytics achieved through an effective IIoT by Honeywell solution can help companies break out of that cycle, and effective data analytics is a key component of a successful IIoT implementation for manufacturers.”

Honeywell survey

More than 200 North American manufacturing executives took part in the survey titled “Data’s Big Impact on Manufacturing: A Study of Executive Opinions.” The key findings included:

Unscheduled downtime was ranked as the top threat to maximizing revenue, but 42 per cent of respondents admitted to running equipment harder than they should. When asked how often their companies experienced a list of issues in recent years, 71 per cent of respondents said they experienced equipment breakdowns at least occasionally, while 64 per cent said the same for unscheduled downtime. Forty per cent ranked unscheduled downtime as the biggest threat to maximizing revenue.

Other threats included:

•    Supply chain management issues (39 per cent)
•    Inadequate staffing (37 per cent)
•    Off-spec products (36 per cent)
•    Equipment breakdowns (32 per cent)

Most respondents had favourable views of the benefits of data analytics as a solution. For example, the executives said they agreed big data analytics can reduce the occurrences of:

•    Equipment breakdowns (70 per cent)
•    Unscheduled downtime (68 per cent)
•    Unscheduled maintenance (64 per cent)
•    Supply chain management issues (60 per cent)

Respondents said they believe data can enable well-informed decisions in real time (63 per cent), limit waste (57 per cent), and predict the risk of downtime (56 per cent).

While the majority of respondents said they are already investing and/or planning to increase their investments in data analytics in the coming year, 32 per cent said they are not currently investing in data analytics. Meanwhile, 33 per cent said their companies are not planning to invest in data analytics in the next 12 months, or are unaware of any plans to do so.

Of those who currently have no plans to invest:

•    61 per cent believe their organizations already have systems in place to ensure safety, yield and success
•    45 per cent said their companies have seen some growth without data analytics
•    42 per cent said they don’t fully understand the benefits of big data
•    35 per cent believe people are overstating the benefits of big data

Sixty-three per cent of respondents who said they have no investment plans indicated they just don’t have the resources to appropriately do so, while 39 per cent said they don’t have the right staff to make the most of data analytics.

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