Manufacturing intelligence gaining ground

By Control Engineering Staff January 3, 2006

Boston, MA —Better-performing manufacturers are using real-time analytics and electronic dashboards to improve decision-making capabilities from the plant floor to the boardroom, a recent AberdeenGroup study found. Manufacturing Transparency: Turning Visibility into Value shows that emerging technology solutions are collecting, aggregating, and presenting data from a variety of plant-floor devices and helping decision makers manage production, respond to immediate issues, and monitor improvement metrics.

The benchmark study concluded that manufacturers performing these activities are better prepared to compete in today’s global economy than those in the early phases of automating manufacturing operations. It also helped confirm that the relevance of real-time plant floor data has increased significantly as enterprises focus on top- and bottom-line results. “Leading manufacturers are tackling the tough issues of integrating plant MES (manufacturing execution systems) with plant floor devices, rationalizing disparate data sources, and electronically connecting with ERP (enterprise resource planning) and supply chain systems,” said Jane Biddle, author of the report and vice president of global manufacturing research at Aberdeen.

The survey found that plant floor data are being delivered to VP/director-level dashboards at a third of those manufacturers responding; another third are planning to implement similar dashboards in the next 18 months. Some 65% of those surveyed reported using visual work instructions and 45% said they used operations-specific dashboards (testing and monitoring, for example). Click here to download a summary of the report.

—Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jeanine Katzel, senior editor,