Big Data Analytics Can Benefit Manufacturers

A recent Honeywell study found that manufacturers are gaining key benefits from using big data analytics.

Big Data Manufacturing

A recent Honeywell survey of manufacturing executives indicates that a majority of respondents (67 percent) plan to use data analytics to address issues with equipment.

The survey shows that anaytics are becoming core to what Honeywell refers to as the industrial internet of things (IioT) as a way for companies to save money on equipment maintenance and repair by providing insight into when machines need service.

The survey, conducted by Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) and KRC Research, polled more than 200 North American manufacturing executives. The study, entied "Data's Big Impact on Manufacturing: A Study of Executive Opinions," showed that a majority of respondents said they are already investing in data analytics technology.

In addition, the survey indicated that manufacturing executives view unscheduled downtime and equipment breakdowns as the biggest obstacles to maximizing revenue. Yet, more than a quarter of respondents said they don’t plan to invest in data analytics in the next year. These respondents cited inadequate resources and lack of understanding as key reasons for their lack of investment.

"Executives need to keep their businesses running smoothly and safely, and they're banking on IIoT technologies to help navigate challenges, even during cash-strapped times,” said Andrew Hird, vice president and general manager of HPS Digital Transformation, in a statement. "For more than 40 years, Honeywell has provided leading automation technologies that help manufacturers meet those goals. The IIoT by Honeywell is the next step in that evolution."

Meanwhile, although unscheduled downtime ranked as the top threat to manufacturing sucess, 42 percent of respondents admitted to running equipment harder than they should.

"Running plant equipment harder than appropriate presents a host of issues ranging from equipment breakdowns to potential safety incidents," said Hird. "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."

Indeed, 70 percent of respondents said they believe analytics can reduce equipment breakdowns, 68 percent said analytics can reduce downtime, 64 percent said it would cut unscheduled maintenance and 60 percent said they believe analytics can reduce supply chain management issues.

"It's easy to put that puzzle together—these executives correctly believe data analytics can help them combat the biggest threat they see to business: unscheduled downtime," Hird said.

However, 33 percent of respondents said they are not planning to invest in data analytics in the next 12 months. Sixty-three percent of respondents who said they have no analytics investment plans said they do not have the resources or the proper staff to implement analytics.

"For some companies, hurdles remain before the IIoT can be fully adopted," Hird said. "Some don't believe they need it while others say they lack the resources to do it right. The good news is that IIoT is something that doesn’t require a wholesale change—it can be phased and scaled depending on an individual company’s circumstances. This is precisely why Honeywell says IIoT represents an evolution, not a revolution."

Meanwhile, in a separate study, IIC Partners, an executive recruiting firm, found that 76 percent of companies do not have a chief digital officer to lead their digital transformation strategies. Yet, 80 percent of the senior executives surveyed said they believe investment in digital transformation is critical.