Data collection has been a common practice among manufacturers for years. And as factory systems and equipment have become increasingly digital, connected, and intelligent with the rise of “Industry 4.0,” companies have had access to a larger cache of more readily available information than ever. That said, while industrial businesses are compiling data at unprecedented rates, only a small minority are taking full advantage of that data. In fact, a mere 3% of U.S. manufacturers are maximizing the utility of the invaluable operational information collected.

Today the manufacturing industry faces numerous challenges, so neglecting the potential opportunities this operational insight represents is counterintuitive at best. To navigate difficulties like intense competition, price sensitivities, and idle demand – U.S. manufacturing output projects to average 1.5% annual growth from 2017 to 2020 – plant engineers and operations managers need continuous visibility into the status of thousands of critical points across the factory floor. This level of operational clarity can provide a variety of exceptional benefits , to the point where even achieving one or two can provide a significant business edge.

Safeguards like condition-based maintenance, that can pinpoint at-risk assets and trigger preventative measures before failure, can decrease downtime 30-50% and reduce overall maintenance costs up to 30%. Advanced data analytics can be applied in a number of ways across a factory to increase production up to 25%, such as identifying underperforming equipment and enabling asset optimization. Additionally, rules-based autorotation can lower costs and improve efficiencies by streamlining processes and material flow to enhance planning and workplace safety, while facilitating just-in-time manufacturing.

Of course, there’s a catch. While the insights necessary to reap such great rewards is already waiting in the raw data streaming from factory systems and equipment, it’s buried within a massive labyrinth of complex datasets. Most companies lack the resources to extract the relevant data, which is why so many fail to take full advantage of this next phase in factory automation and digital transformation. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Manufacturers can use the power of Industrial IoT (IIoT) solutions to convert real-time, historical, and other operations data into actionable knowledge to increase factory output, improve efficiency, and stay competitive. To discover how a well-planned IIoT system can unlock the business value in manufacturing data already collected, check out our latest white paper.