Data is powering the modern manufacturer. Whether a company builds bicycles, manages a warehouse that supports e-commerce or develops life-saving medical devices, data about employees, products, customers and competition is essential to sustain and grow a business.
The problem for many manufacturing leaders is they don’t know what data they have, how to access it, how to keep it organized in an effective way and how to protect it. Poor understanding of key operational data, such as unit costs or unit productivity, is a common roadblock to success. Once a manufacturer properly identifies, classifies and maintains its data, it can then apply data analytics to create a shared understanding that helps all stakeholders visualize data in new ways.
At the same time, the company must implement data governance and protection procedures. Good data immediately starts losing value if new data is added in a way that makes it less useful. If a manufacturer does not properly protect its data, it becomes vulnerable to “bad actors” looking to steal trade secrets, extract customer information, or merely block access to data.