How Data-Driven is Your Company?

How do you use data in your business? Everyone uses it to some degree in the way they manage people and the “heat, light and music” stuff (a.k.a. overhead) that every company contends with. But how far does your company take data?

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In last Friday’s blog I alerted everyone about the Autodesk webinar that will occur on Wednesday, December 7, at 2 p.m. EST. The webinar, titled “Validating Your Mold: Making Good, Informed Decisions with Moldflow,” will show the value of data generated using Moldflow and how that data drives better decision making about mold design. I also let readers know that Gardner Business Media has an Intelligence Team that works hard to provide valuable data about the moldmaking industry and related subjects that can guide sound business decisions. Today I’m going a step further and suggesting some reading on data-driven manufacturing and what it means for moldmaking.

How do you use data in your business? Everyone uses it to some degree in the way they manage people and the “heat, light and music” stuff (a.k.a. overhead) that every company contends with. But how far does your company take data? Do you apply it to shop floor operations, and if so, how? Is your company considering how Industry 4.0 might benefit future growth and profitability? Maybe you are already moving in that direction because a valued customer wants your company to do it. Or perhaps you don’t understand how it applies to your business.

Over the past year, I wrote two articles about data-driven manufacturing. The first was in MMT’s March issue, and it was titled “IIoT: The Next Step in Mold Building Efficiency.” In this article, much light is shed as to how the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), also known as Industry 4.0 or data-driven manufacturing, will directly affect mold manufacturers. One big takeaway for me in this article is this, and I quote: “IIoT presents an opportunity for any mold manufacturer who chooses to embrace it. Small shops can compete with large ones so long as 1) they are using CAD software with the ability to use critical information such as dimensions and functional tolerancing, and annotations; 2) that information can be easily exchanged with the customer in a paperless environment; 3) the shops have high-speed Internet; and 4) they have an engineering mindset and are willing to embrace the next wave of change.”

The other article was published in our October issue and titled “An Industry 4.0 Proving Ground.” This article features Hi-Tech Mold and Engineering, a company based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, that is actively pursuing digitally-driven manufacturing processes to drive efficiencies by embracing Industry 4.0 ideologies. It provides a good picture of how a real company is implementing, step by step, the elements of digital manufacturing. In writing this feature, a telling quote from Steve Jarzynski, who I interviewed extensively, is “Industry 4.0 is not just having the equipment and molds, it’s also the mindset and the application of it.”

I encourage everyone to read these features if there is any interest in data-driven manufacturing, and please also register for this Wednesday’s webinar. 

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