How data governance and security is transforming shop floor operations in manufacturing

Posted on 7 Feb 2023 by The Manufacturer
Partner Content

The manufacturing sector has witnessed a stark digital transformation in recent years, and one of its most significant technological revolutions, shop floor digital transformation, generates vast amounts of data.

Several manufacturing companies are now leveraging Industry 4.0 solutions that deliver real-time visibility to their existing processes and help optimise overall operational efficiency. Industry 4.0 applications such as IoT, Cloud Computing, Big Data, Advanced Robotics, AR/VR, AI, and ML improve operational efficiency, improve workforce productivity, and enable safe and sustainable operations through digitisation, optimising production and supply chain, managing machines using closed-loop analytics, and managing fleets with the help of IoT devices.

Several manufacturers are now moving their operations to cloud platforms to enjoy benefits like cost-effectiveness, easy accessibility of manufacturing operations data by enterprise personas, transparent data insights and analytics, and the ability to scale the business effectively.

Why is manufacturing data being moved to the cloud?

A report by Gartner states that 65.9% of spending on application software in the enterprise IT industry will be directed toward cloud technologies by 2025, up from 57.7% in 2022. The manufacturing industry, too, is following suit, and several manufacturers are now shifting to cloud technology for complete shop floor transformation to improve their production processes to be future-ready.

Here are some reasons why the manufacturing data should be moved to the cloud:

  • Cost Reduction – Manufacturers often incur substantial operational costs and invest in in-house software. Also, there are expensive maintenance and other infrastructure costs that manufacturers must keep in mind. As a result, cloud solutions seem better options than traditional on-premises systems. The cloud computing solution can be easily customised as per manufacturer needs with monthly or annual subscription models, thus making a move cost-effective and time-efficient for the manufacturers.
  • Flexibility – With cloud technology, manufacturers can now embrace Agile manufacturing methods that leverage flexibility, rapid iteration, innovation, and augmentation to adapt to technological changes. With the growth of data availability and expanded analytics capabilities, manufacturers can act on real-time data and identify and solve problems promptly to keep up with market demands and maintain a competitive edge.
  • Accelerated Deployment – Shop floor transformations are often associated with expensive and complex legacy MES solutions. However, manufacturers can now simplify and accelerate the deployment of shop floor connectivity, data collection, and data visualisation and analysis with smart solutions such as Industrial IoT (Internet of Things), IoT analytics, automation, and robotics.
  • Introducing Advanced Capabilities to Shop Floor – It is imperative that manufacturers have an accurate view of their shop floor at all times. However, this amount of diligence in managing production processes can sometimes be challenging. To gain complete shop floor control, several organisations are now adopting cloud technology that ensures analytics power to the shop floor with machine learning capabilities for predicting asset failure and process optimisation. As a result, manufacturers can drive impactful decisions with data-backed insights.
  • Global Scaling – Cloud-based processes are highly beneficial for manufacturers to expand in the global market. With smart cloud computing, organisations can effectively manage and streamline their capabilities. Since physical networks have expansion limitations, cloud computing offers limitless scaling, thus proving relevant in the global economy.

How are data governance and security instrumental while moving to cloud?

A Gartner report suggests a steady rise in the cloud adoption rate, with several manufacturing companies opting for multiple public clouds and planning budgets based on the significance of cloud tools. However, with more emphasis on cloud computing and analytics, the challenges of maintaining data privacy and security regulations are simultaneously increasing. This is where data governance and security solutions come into the picture – seamlessly regulating the availability, usage, and security of data in cloud computing to ensure business goals.

Effective data governance allows the data to be consistent and trustworthy without getting misused. Manufacturing organisations can benefit from data governance by maximising their operational processes, improving their decision-making, and boosting their risk assessment for consistent business growth.

This is how data governance and security contribute to industry 4.0 for the manufacturing sector:

  • Transparency While Managing Complex Data Sets – Smooth operations on the shop floor require high-quality data, primarily when AI, Machine Learning, and IoT are used for industrial processes. Such high-class data management comes with effective data governance strategies. By establishing control over data sets, various operational issues are easily eliminated while data governance policies are exercised throughout the manufacturing process.
  • Risk Mitigation – Data governance is integral for manufacturing organisations to ensure that every business entity is auditable and complies with the laws and regulations in the said industry. Additionally, strategic data governance ensures the prevention of unauthorised use of data sets with complete data security.
  • Lowered Costs – Strong data governance and security programs are ideal for removing duplicate data for organisations, reducing errors in reporting, and decreasing unnecessary costs associated with poor data management. With the help of data governance, manufacturers can eliminate flawed business models, inter-departmental issues, and mismanaged product planning that will eventually lead to lowered expenses.
  • Robust Operational Technology (OT) Security – Various manufacturing companies rely on OT systems for effective manufacturing processes where the end products are of premium quality at reduced prices and with easy operations. Some potential impacts of cyber threats on OT systems range from production downtime to compromised physical security, financial losses, product spoilage, and equipment damage. As a result, the need to implement effective OT security solutions, such as integrating OT and IT infrastructure for operational efficiency, intelligent remote maintenance, access control for safe Operational Technology, and secure designs of IT and OT interfaces, is essential for data governance.

In order to ensure smooth business operations in an industry 4.0 environment, it is highly essential to maintain data security, accessibility, and transparency with ideal data governance and security. Manufacturing companies can acquire impactful data insights with robust data governance frameworks and implement them for effective shop floor transformation. With the right set of data governance tools, digitising the shop floor in the manufacturing industry will become inspiring and lead the organisation to its ultimate success.

Find out more about ITC Infotech’s Digital Manufacturing offerings.

About the author

Kartik Raman Iyer, Vice President, Global Head – Industry 4.0 and Digital Supply Chain

Kartik heads the global delivery for Industry 4.0 and Digital Supply Chain Practice across industry verticals. In this role, he is responsible for delivery of Industry 4.0 transformation program for global customers. He has over 20 years of experience and has played sales, program and delivery management roles in different geographies.

His areas of expertise include product design, industrial automation, and Industry 4.0. He has helped multiple customers define and navigate their digital transformation journey by bringing in solutions on IT-OT convergence, factory visibility, condition monitoring, predictive maintenance, digital twins for process & asset, and digital thread.