Manufacturing companies are confronted with vast amounts of data from sensors and associated systems. These must be aggregated and understood so that manufacturing companies can use them for the connected factory. Medium-sized and large companies can only keep track of their supply chains, bottlenecks, and customer requirements and make the right decisions based on data and facts.
The following four steps and the example of the Henkel Group explain how producers create this transparency. This now links several trillions of data points, from which employees access over 500,000 visualisations and dashboards every month via a cloud-based platform called Digital Backbone.
Accessible Data Flow Throughout The Company
Many companies currently have analysis dashboards that users configure themselves. Although these self-service analyses are carried out on the IT infrastructure, the respective teams are responsible for preparing data along the supply chain, production processes, and the entire life cycle of services. Persons responsible from other areas are excluded from this and cannot make crucial inquiries for them. What is needed with which every employee, from the CEO down, can independently focus on the facts relevant to them and visualise every critical process. Because only if employees can view and use data from the entire organisation is operational performance transparent.
Strategic Production Planning Through Data Integration
Companies should speak a common language to optimise manufacturing and intelligent production – right from the supply chain. The delivery of goods and services, for example, runs through various information systems. Manufacturers have been confronted with different data sources such as employee and order planning data from the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, order data from MES systems, time recording and attendance logs, and alarm and production data from different device manufacturers, and as separate PLC and SCADA systems. Only when all of these data islands are linked, do producers have an overview of the overall context. They can make well-founded decisions regardless of the size or complexity of the company.
Real-Time Analytics Ensure Transparency
Manufacturing data is constantly changing. Therefore, it is business-critical to keep this information in real-time – across silos. The aim is to make all production data available transparently on mobile devices, such as in the warehouse, in the field, or for those responsible for production who control remote processes. Mobile Business Intelligence makes supply chain data visible end-to-end, enabling quick decisions. For example, at Henkel, physical assets with a digital interface are maintained and controlled via a platform. With the help of appropriate software, controls, sensors, or metres are accessed centrally and in real-time. These software modules help employees identify, visualise, and react to connections between quality problems and deviations from optimal storage temperatures. Since the same software modules are used worldwide, Henkel can constantly compare locations and technologies.
However, the platform does not only process machine data. The Connected Worker app also allows Henkel employees to view data directly in the systems. Through this close involvement of employees, the Group creates data transparency that enables optimal supply chain control.
Responses To Customer Feedback
In addition to the data from production, sales, and supply chain planning, customer needs are central to the company’s success. Important feedback is received via many different channels such as social media, call centres, or customer surveys. Only a significant overview of this asynchronous and synchronous information enables strategic decisions that include all parameters of customer satisfaction. A data analytics solution like Tableau supports those responsible for sales, marketing, and also at the HR level. It enables all managers to capture the company’s big picture through interactive dashboards.
Cloud-Based Data Analysis In The Henkel Group
Getting the right insights quickly requires intelligent and consolidated insights into data. The consumer goods manufacturer Henkel uses data analytics to make critical key figures available to employees in real-time. For example, in the wake of the Corona crisis, a tableau dashboard is available to monitor the global inventory of protective equipment and accordingly equip all production facilities worldwide. The high degree of digitization along the value chain at Henkel Laundry & Home Care with continuous data monitoring in networked production ensures product availability and avoids bottlenecks.
New service structures are increasingly crucial for data-driven services that offer noticeable added value to the products. Henkel, therefore, uses data and analytics in all areas of the company – in the adhesives business, Beauty Care, Laundry & Home Care, and corporate functions. The real-time information covers a typical detergent and cleaning agent production.” This ranges from sustainability data such as energy and water consumption to quality data on raw materials, semi-finished goods, and products and efficiency data.
In addition to the data from the supply chain, the company processes other data from marketing, research & development, and finance. Around 4,000 employees use the analysis platform regularly.
Consolidated data helps Henkel and other companies design internal processes quickly and effectively. Whether in the aerospace, automotive, or mechanical engineering industries, data is created at every turn, but it often remains in silos and has limited usability. With Tableau, manufacturers can quickly join similar data and get results in seconds instead of hours or days. They use these insights from manufacturing analytics to improve process efficiency, centralise their production monitoring, and better serve their customers.