Is MI just another buzzword by the industry to help sell MI or BI software solutions? Or does it really benefit manufacturing facilities and help them reduce costs and increase efficiencies?
In the last number of years a lot of companies have focused on increased data collection from the shop floor - be it increased investment in SCADA solutions or Data Historians. Larger organisations have also focused on increased integration between their various enterprise applications - ERP, MES, LIMS etc - in order to close the loop between Top Floor and Shop Floor. In a lot of cases these initiatives have yielded benefits - but have they yielded enough based on the investment (financial and time) ? Have they just expanded their Application portfolio, and the volumes of data? Maybe these steps were necessary to put the platform in place to develop a system which gives you access to the pulse of your manufacturing environment, but maybe they have come up short in terms of providing you with real "intelligence" about your business.
Intelligence shouldn't be mistaken for Data. So how do I ensure that I end up with a system which is “intelligent”. I think you need to come at this from a few angles :
- 1. Clearly Define what you believe you need to know in order to manage your business – what are the Key Performance Indicators & the Key Performance Drivers
- 2. Learn more about what is possible. What do I mean here – well, new leading edge technologies coupled with the correct business acumen can help Redefine what is Possible in your organisation in relation to MI.
- 3. Commitment to a decision making and operations process and culture
After you have redefined what is possible, then refine your vision, and work on your strategy to achieve this. And finally, don't try and boil the ocean - its better to achieve something manageable and tangible, and grow your MI strategy in a phased basis - you will learn as you go, as the business environment continues to change.
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