Business FunctionsManufacturing

The key to unlock value in manufacturing post-Covid

By Raikishori Ganguly

The Covid-19 crisis has showed the crucial role that manufacturing industry plays, especially with respect to supply of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment supply, and other essential commodities. However, manufacturing industry took a bad financial hit due to the pandemic and now needs to prioritize cost reduction and building flexible and transparent supply chains.

According to Weforum, collaboration across all sectors of manufacturing in order to leverage data and analytics in operations, is the key to unlock value and move towards achieving sustainable growth. These are the three primary ways in which manufacturing companies can work together around data and analytics for the overall benefit of the industry.

Increase productivity

Global manufacturing leaders across factory and supply chains have already started using analytics to improve productivity. Practices like using predictive maintenance to increase uptime, using automation in planning activities to boost labor efficiency are now commonplace.

Companies are also on the lookout for opportunities in order to increase asset productivity. For instance, Toshiba uses sensor data provided by its water treatment equipment operator to optimize scheduling and inputting key chemicals in order to reduce costs and advance their environmental footprint. Several such examples abound in different sectors ranging from automotive OEMs to wine and spirits industry to maximize optimization at all levels.

Customer Experience

Collaboration around data and analytics is also is used by manufacturers to upgrade customer experience. It helps companies to enhance their range of customized products and also allows them to validate the provenance of products.

Personalization of cancer treatments is one such opportunity. For instance, Johnson & Johnson works within the ambit of an extensive ecosystem comprised of laboratories, suppliers and healthcare providers to improve results for cancer patients. All the participants of the ecosystem share patient data in order to provide personalized treatments for specific cancers. The end-to-end seamless data flow among all players permits treatment using patients’ own cells.

Impact on society and environment

When different manufacturing companies work in union with regards to data and analytics is evidently benefiting the society as a whole and helping enterprises to advance their sustainability goals. Companies and government collaborations ordain reliance on a common ecosystem of data.

For instance, Volvo and its battery suppliers work together to make sure that the cobalt used in its EV batteries are ethically sourced. Volvo deploys a blockchain solution from Circulor to track cobalt throughout their supply chain. This has proven so effective that Volvo plans to extend using the platform for other purposes like tracing the automaker’s carbon footprint.

Similar technologies are used by fish selling corporations, pharmaceuticals, the diamond industry, etc. to verify the authenticity and sourcing of the products – making the entire chain, from raw material sourcing to the finished product fully transparent and traceable.

The need of a joint effort

Data and analytics encompass a vast universe. No single manufacturer can ever capture its full benefits by itself. Different manufacturing industries will have distinct scenarios and unique set of challenges. But their learnings and insights can be beneficial for all manufacturers as a whole. Global collaboration among companies of all statures is required to establish an ecosystem where the entire data covering the entire processes are stored and made available for everyone.

With such a single source of truth, the global manufacturing industry can learn swiftly and optimize much faster, enabling the industry to prosper at a quicker pace.

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