LNS Research President and Principal Analyst Matthew Littlefield explores this weeks #MondayMusings with briefings from Aegis Software and Timeli,
LNS Research is thrilled to launch the first Analytics That Matter survey in partnership with MESA (Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association) International. For the last six years we partnered with MESA on the Metrics That Matter survey, which has been one important foundational element of LNS Research’s primary data-driven research. As the use of plant-centric data has expanded dramatically since the last survey in early 2016, we decided to change the focus from overall metrics to the use of analytics in manufacturing operations and beyond.
MESA has also changed its metrics subgroup to the analytics subgroup. We had the opportunity to speak with Chris Monchinski, the leader of the analytics subgroup at MESA about this change and the new focus.
Chris elaborated on the switch from Metrics That Matter to Analytics That Matter. Metrics focus on some very well-defined measurements that can mostly be used within the four walls of the plant. When working with specific measures like the efficiency of a piece of machinery or cost of producing one item, you're focused on minutiae and involve very few people in the plant. Detailed metrics along with continuous improvement programs such as Lean Manufacturing are well understood.
However, MESA saw that there is an increasing number of people looking at measurements outside the plant. These measurements are combined with Edge data, historians, and business metrics to enable advanced analytics with a view beyond the short time horizons typical inside the plant and start to deliver predictive capabilities over extended time periods. Many companies are making the transition from traditional to modern analytics and metrics, and it became clear to MESA that it should act as an enabler of this transition. Some MESA manufacturing members are already well down the path, and many vendors are marketing advanced solutions. MESA’s real strength is to bring together the different actors to provide education and best practice assistance. In many ways this is no different from the past – MESA has an excellent track record of helping members achieve the best possible results by sharing knowledge about vendors, best practices, and new technologies, precisely what the analytics subgroup aims at.
LNS asked Chris about how he is getting the new thinkers into the analytics group, moving from plant-centric people who are very good at manufacturing intelligence to those with a broader business and operations view of analysis and measurement. He explained that this is a work in progress and a key focus for him and his team. They want new people on board from both analytics vendors and manufacturers that have implemented advanced analytics. Early efforts have been very encouraging, but they still need to find more end users that are achieving results.
The survey follows up on past metrics surveys, so MESA can see the change in plant focused manufacturing maturity and start a new chapter to understand where companies are in the world of analytics, from descriptive all the way through to prescriptive. They will also be looking in detail at analytics inside the plant, and across the enterprise, and beyond. The scope of the data used for analytics and the time horizons are changing. Most manufacturing intelligence applications are used for short-term feedback within the plant.
Many manufacturers are looking at replacing these analytics with Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions. While this is going to bring benefits, it is crucial to consider the timeliness of analytics, especially predictive and prescriptive. IIoT systems are designed to collect and combine data from many diverse sources, and analytics solutions allow analysis of such data over vast geographies and time periods. This can open-up long term thinking about business improvement. Different uses of overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) data perfectly reflects that changing production schedule can be executed over minutes or hours while improving customer loyalty might be over months. The possibilities are endless, and MESA looks forward to learning more through this survey.
MESA strongly encourages manufacturers with analytics programs and those intending to go down the route of more advanced analytics to take the survey. They would also like to hear from vendors and manufacturers who would like to partake in the MESA analytics working group.
LNS Research is delighted to have MESA as a partner in this new survey, and we look forward to presenting the first results at the MESA North America conference in Raleigh, NC, May 8-10, 2018.
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