In manufacturing, product lifecycle management (PLM) is critical to design, engineering and manufacturing in every industry. It is the strategic process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from inception, through engineering design and manufacture, to service and disposal of manufactured products.

Data is a crucial part of the PLM process. It must be harnessed in an intelligent way in order to use the information already at hand as a basis for making better, faster decisions and to inform future actions. When organisations are empowered to leverage data from across the entire enterprise, the manufacturer can make better decisions about product development, management, design, and production. This focus on Big Data in manufacturing ensures every stage of the product lifecycle is elevated. Why? For higher quality products, an increased ability to launch new products faster and at a lower cost, and the maximisation of profits.

“Through the effective integration of Big Data into manufacturing, organisations are empowered to turn products into profits,” confirms Peter Reynolds, PLM Subject Matter Expert at EOH Infor Services, Infor’s Master Partner in Africa. “The key benefits of PLM in manufacturing include reduced time to market, decreased materials usage and increased on-time launches. All of which positively influence both customer satisfaction and the bottom line.”

According to an Infor Industry Perspective on Industrial Manufacturing, manufacturers must embrace Big Data to remain competitive. “Manufacturers that make the most of the customer, product, and equipment data they capture stand to improve their ability to innovate, please their customers, and bring more profitable products and services to market more quickly.”

The focus on Big Data is relevant in every sector

Reynolds believes this focus is relevant in every sector, and a significant element in the ongoing success of modern manufacturing businesses:

  • In industrial manufacturing, for example, ERP integration means real-time data is available for PLM to improve visibility into the product development process across the entire enterprise.
  • Big Data gives the chemical industry the capability to respond to its customers’ demands faster and more profitably, while meeting the increased burden of regulatory governance.
  • In the food and beverage industry, quality control is vastly improved, compliance ensured, and consistency guaranteed.
  • Driving profitability throughout the equipment lifecycle is a matter of speed. Constantly evolving customer demands and a rapidly shifting market mean that manufacturers require effective tools for continuous control and visibility into every piece of equipment.

“The effective use of Big Data gives the manufacturing organisation the power of prediction, allowing it to anticipate problems and respond with solutions,” concludes Reynolds. “When combined with the right PLM solution, Big Data will empower the organisation to uncover opportunities and plan its next steps with the certainty that can only come from real information, analysed in the correct way.”

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