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Supply chain models are evolving. The predictive analytics of the past are becoming more apt and intellectual, powering a new age in manufacturing. Furthermore, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will climb to more than 25 billion devices by 2025. The increase in the use of IIOT represents a 500 percent increase from the number of devices in 2015. Additionally, major manufacturers are working to prioritize predictive analytics and use them to improve production. Let’s take a look at the increase in utilization and implementation of predictive analytics in manufacturing and what it means for manufacturers.

US and China Lead Prioritization of Predictive Analytics in Manufacturing

The pace at which a country’s manufacturers embrace predictive analytics is closely similar to how well the country can perform on a global scale in modern manufacturing. Until recently, China had left predictive analytics at the end of production, but China has recently reinvigorated manufacturing quality and quantity by pushing predictive analytics capabilities to the top priority of manufacturers.

Currently, Europe trails the civilized world with placing predictive analytics in manufacturing in the fourth position of importance in the use and implementation of advanced technologies in manufacturing. Unfortunately, leaving predictive analytics at any place other than first, asserts Forbes magazine, can only lead to the existence of inefficiencies and missed opportunities in the supply chain. In fact, according to Industry Week magazine, CEO of MHI George Prest said, “The speed at which supply chain innovation is being adopted—coupled with rising consumer expectations for anytime, anywhere service—is stressing traditional supply chains to near-breaking points.” In other words, the traditional supply chain must evolve to meet the demands of modern society.

predictive analytics in manufacturing

Data Becomes More Available and Accessible

Analytic models have been used for ages in manufacturing. Even simple, guess-based forecast models are technically a form of predictive analytics in manufacturing. Unfortunately, data quality was not always verifiable, but the IIoT (Industry 4.0) is serving as a recent data capture point. As explained by Vin Vashista,  the availability of data has become more readily embraced thanks to the IIoT. Sensors are embedded in machines, and advanced algorithms comb through data sets to uncover trends and issues faster than any historical form of predictive analytics. Both of these forces are serving to drive the availability and accessibility of beneficial, not superfluous data.

Predictive Analytics Will Benefit Manufacturers

Essentially, predictive analytics is just a name for datasets, but predictive analytics has been directly linked to benefiting four critical manufacturing processes, reports Toolbox for IT.

Quality Improvement

Quality improvement is one of the most common, functional forms of predictive analytics. Databases can be aggregated faster, data is cleansed quicker, and data is stored in smaller spaces than ever before. Furthermore, typical predictive analytics software is pushing towards a less technical analysis by automatically performing these processes. As a result, the overall quality of the predictive analytics model is enhanced, providing a more robust plan of action for the manufacturer.

Demand Forecast

Demand forecasts exist in every form of manufacturing. Manufacturers need to judge the type of products, the quantity, and the time at which products will be needs. Traditional demand forecasts revolve around past years’ experiences. Some items sell faster during particular seasons or events. However, the fundamental difference between the use of predictive analytics for demand forecasting and traditional demand forecasting rests on using a comprehensive view of the manufacturer’s processes to identify trends or anomalies and events that seem to reoccur with a recent data capture and analysis. Mostly, predictive analytics in manufacturing is combining demand forecasting with risk management – produce more but with fewer resources.

Machine Utilization

A manufacturer is only as good as the machines that produce its products. Unfortunately, machines break down over time. Parts wear away, and the cost of replacing a single piece of modern equipment can easily cost thousands of dollars. Predictive analytics in manufacturing are enabling manufacturers to make better use of machine loss. Automating the analysis of data from sensors within equipment and automating the actual operation of these machines. Essentially, the manufacturer can determine when machines may need to be brought online or shut off to prevent an issue.

Preventive Maintenance in the Factory

Similar to machine utilization, preventive maintenance aims to reduce the issues found in devices by triggering alerts or calls for assistance from machines, based on the data captured inside the machines. In other words, preventive maintenance might include automatically signaling the repair of a broken, torn belt, reducing product demand and load on this particular machine, or identifying how machines may give out in patterns. This is a critical step in ensuring a manufacturer has all of the machines operating at maximum efficiency. In other cases, this application of predictive analytics in manufacturing could be used to identify equipment manufacturer defects in machines, saving the factory money and stress in the course of conducting business.

Manufacturers must evolve to stay ahead of competitors, and the use and implementation of predictive analytics in manufacturing will continue to take center stage. By understanding where the prioritization is taking place, why the IIoT is empowering it, and how it will benefit manufacturers, these companies can take the lead in ensuring modern manufacturing meets the demands of today and tomorrow.