Staying organized and on-target is easier than ever, thanks to the evolution of data as a part of daily life. Without even realizing it, we are integrating data into our daily routines at an alarming rate. Those who used to count calories in a handwritten log now turn to automated fitness programs that keep a detailed record of calorie intake, exercise, and progress towards specific goals. Instead of balancing our checkbooks, we link our bank accounts and credit cards to apps, which juxtaposes our spending habits with our customized goals. Programs like these are designed to help humans run at maximum efficiency while reducing the likelihood of error.
Although technology is often viewed as the antidote to human imperfection, many machines used by some of the world’s largest producers are prone to the same inefficiencies as humans. Industrial manufacturers invest hundreds of thousands – sometimes millions – of dollars into top-notch equipment and processes, but don’t bother to keep track of their production efficiency. Distinguishing between which processes seem efficient and which ones are efficient requires data. Miraculously, however, it is estimated that only about 5% of machines are being digitally monitored, despite the fact that data-collection and monitoring solutions are cheaper and more available than ever before.
Some companies have jumped out ahead of this manufacturing intelligence trend, dedicating resources to the establishment of “smart factories,” which seamlessly integrate design, production, and execution by leveraging the power of the Internet. The interconnectedness of machinery and processes allows for easy collection of data, which can then be shared across plants, allowing employees at all levels to analyze performance and identify opportunities for improvement.
This ability to gather and analyze large swaths of data is critical to stamping out inefficiencies, maximizing production, improving quality, and reducing costs. For example, one smart factory reported a mere 15 defects per million parts, coupled with a 99% reliability rate! If companies wish to remain competitive in a rapidly shifting manufacturing landscape, it is important that they strive to achieve this level of efficiency, which can only be attained through the adoption of the data-driven mentality.
Transitioning Your Business to the Digital Age
Knowing where to start is half the battle in the move towards a smart factory. With a wide array of new technologies and solutions out there, deciding which ones are best for your operation can be a bit intimidating. During periods of adjustment, it helps to have a team of experienced experts guiding you along the way. The professionals at Merkur Engineering have devised countless strategies to seamlessly transition manufacturers to Industry 4.0, such as involving every layer of the company and implementing feedback channels. Our experience working with clients to achieve maximum efficiency in the data-driven world of manufacturing makes us the perfect partner in your journey towards manufacturing intelligence. Having stayed ahead of the curve for the last 20 years, Merkur has established itself as an integral member of Quebec’s innovative manufacturing industry.
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