Data is a new oil. Nobody is surprised when you say it these days. My previous company Inforbix was collecting data from CAD files, PLM and ERP systems and building a semantic network out of this data for search and data analytics. It was a tip of the iceberg of what I call manufacturing data. Fast forward in 2019. I can see a cold war between different software vendors and other companies about data ownership. The majority of engineering and manufacturing data assets is still located in a not structured way and used local storage, cloud file systems and other local and network location to store data. Even data in PLM system is located in Oracle and SQL server, the amount and significance of that data is much lower compared to non-structured. Unstructured engineering data is a very important asset. To capture and turn this information in a business asset is an important goal for many manufacturing companies.
Yesterday, I was attending The Digital Factory 2019 conference in Boston. The story of data and intelligence in manufacturing struck me as one of the key point that was mentioned by practically all presenters at the conference.
Below, I want to bring few examples I captured during the event.
According to Dayna Grayson of NEA Ventures, manufacturing is a goldmine for data that can be used in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence these days.
Spirit Aerospace, a huge aerospace manufacturing supplier is collecting data from factory shop floor and logistic centers to improve accuracy and efficiency of operations.
Ford Motors is making huge investment in thinking how to turn legacy infrastructure into new digital plant and factory operation strategy.
Bill of Materials is a source manufacturing intelligence. According to Dayna Grayson of NEA, analyzing of BOM automation can become a driving factor for intelligent manufacturing decisions
Innovators like Bright Machine is looking how to turn information about the product into a knowledge that can be used to optimize the shopfloor. Here is an interesting slide presented by Amar Hanspal, CEO of Bright Machines.
Digital Twin is really about data collected from physical products and virtual models that without doubt, become a source of intelligence, knowledge, and insight.
What is my conclusion? A decade ago, to collect data and turn it into intelligence was strange things, Companies like Google did it a long time ago and build sophisticated digital workflows fusing their business models. These days, to collect information is not a big deal. Still, require a lot of work, but this is not my point. To build a digital workflow that can use this data is a big deal. So, if you look on manufacturing business, the really important question to ask is how to build a fully digital workflow that can use data to change the way manufacturing companies are doing business. Do you think PLM companies are thinking about these problems? Just my thoughts…
Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud-based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups, and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.