How can manufacturers use big data to improve profitability? 18 February 2016

In a competitive market manufacturing businesses need to be one step ahead of their competitors. Here Berkeley Myles Solutions Ltd, the developer of production control software ProgressPlus, outlines how data can help manufacturers make better business decisions and efficiency improvements in real time.

In order to be one step ahead manufacturing companies need to make use of all the resources available to them. Manufacturing data is one of those resources and making use of such information can help inform decisions and allow companies to plan for the future.

Maximising the use of big data in manufacturing
There is one thing that manufacturers, indeed many businesses, all have in common. They all have more facts and figures about what they do than they know what to do with. With so much data available it can lead to challenges for them and in the worst case hold the company back by making the wrong decisions. All too often the information they have is trapped in data silos. Because of this they cannot use it to its full potential.

The data that manufacturers collect from spreadsheets, databases and software applications are often so large or complex that normal conventional methods for handling it will not work. Being so complex the data is often referred to as big data. Manufacturing big data can present challenges when it comes to analysing it to extract value. Meeting that challenge is important. Being able to analyse and understand such data means the difference between manufacturers becoming confident in the decisions they make or falling behind to their competitors. If manufacturers were to correctly interpret and use the information they could find themselves achieving greater efficiencies in their operations, as well as reducing cost and risk.

Efficiency improvements in real time
One of the ways in which small and medium businesses can maximise the data they collect, and take control, is by using a production control software package such as ProgressPlus. Using such a package enables businesses to bring together the information they collect on the different stages of the manufacturing process and use it to make strategic decisions. At the same time, it can also help them with stock control. Being able to analyse the data using the package, means that users can use the information so that they can deliver orders on time, see supplier costs, and see whether customers and parts are making them a profit or not.

To make it a full ERP system ProgressPlus links with popular accountancy software such as Sage and Pegasus. The use of such a system can lead to small and medium businesses being able to save time and increase their productivity. They can also use the information to show how efficient their staff are by illustrating how long staff are working on particular tasks, when they began and ended work, and how long and often staff take breaks.

Using ProgressPlus it also becomes possible to access the information via a mobile or tablet device, meaning a manufacturer can take action far quicker than they might have otherwise been able to.

Benefits of big data and strategy
For manufacturers making use of big data in their day-to-day operations they have numerous benefits such as spotting patterns in what they do; providing information on where they should target their effort; identify new markets; and unlock hidden information that is available to them.

Making the decisions and using big data can give the manufacturer the advantage of being able to take a more strategic and long-term decision about its future direction. Manufacturers need to take advantage of big data by looking at it as another asset for their benefit. By getting the most value out of big data, manufacturers can use it to stay ahead in the market.

Content Director

Will Lowry Content Director t: +44 (0) 1727 743 888


Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 15 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector - interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe.

Will manages the content strategy across all platforms and is the guardian for the high editorial standards that the Magazine is renowned.