Researched and produced by The Manufacturer, the 5th annual Industrial Data Summit took place yesterday at Villa Park, Birmingham, home of Aston Villa Football Club, and saw over 100 delegates, speakers and sponsors sell out the conference venue and gather together to discuss all things data in relation to manufacturing, from governance and how to monetise your data, to its impact on an organisation’s sustainability strategy.
The Industrial Data Summit focused on the practical steps that manufacturing organisations can take to collect, manage and leverage their data to enable them to run their factories and businesses in a more efficient and cost-effective way, which is critically important in this present economy.
In addition to the keynote discussions, the event’s core focus was around an interactive format that enabled in-depth, peer-to-peer discussions around key business challenges, which provided real insight and value.
During his keynote, Harry Minns, Systems and Data Controller at Williams Racing, discussed some of the similarities, differences and lessons to be learned between the high-pressure world of Formula 1 racing and mass manufacturing.
“We both run ERP systems, which include heavy amounts of modification. No two manufacturing sites are the same and you cannot run an off-the-shelf ERP system for every single site. Modifications to your ERP system are normal and that’s one of the lessons that I’ve taken to Formula One from mass manufacturing.
“Our data is absolutely critical. And second only to our people in terms of importance of resource. And it’s important to understand who owns what data, where it sits and who’s responsible for it.”
In terms of the lessons that mass manufacturing can adopt from the world of elite motorsport Harry also highlighted Formula One’s agile decision making where people are empowered to take and own their decisions; something which manufacturers could benefit from if they were to instil this process within their company culture.
He added that Formula One is excellent at data driven error finding; using data to look for those performance extras. He added: “Between phase one and phase two this season, we lost 1.5kg from our car just on paint. So, using our data to find performance is big, and that needs to be taken back to mass manufacturing.”
Jon Stammers, Theme Lead for Connectivity and AI, Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) discussed data centric manufacturing, what it means for businesses in the sector and the opportunities that data can present. “Data centric manufacturing is about understanding why you are embarking on a data journey, and being mindful about the data you are trying to capture; not just capturing data for the sake of it.
“The opportunities are massive if manufacturers are willing to take them. Moving to a data centric approach means that you can make decisions based on real data values rather than gut feel; using data to derive meaningful insight and drive business decisions.
“Don’t be put off by the talk around Industry 4.0. People come to our AMRC facilities and see the advanced equipment we have and just assume that it doesn’t apply to them; that’s not the only option. A simple step would be to try out a collaborative spreadsheet. It might sound basic, but allowing more people to have access to your data opens it up to fresh insights and curiosity.
“Define your vision and work out why you want to start using more data. Don’t just start collecting data and store it for a rainy day, assuming that at some point it will be valuable and you’ll be able to use it. There’s a misnomer that data is the new oil – oil has a value when it’s stored, data does not. If you’re not doing anything with data, then it has no value. Also, look at your people and how it’s going to impact them. Try and identify individuals within your company that already show an interest and passion for using data. They can become your data champions and can start spreading the word throughout your company about why the move towards a data centric approach is going to help everybody.”
Speaking after the event, organiser Ashley Oulton, Conference Production Manager, The Manufacturer commented: “Thank you to all of the manufacturers who travelled from across the UK to Birmingham to attend the fifth annual Industrial Data Summit. It was special to see so many people in the flesh for the first time after running the two previous events online. The roundtable discussion session format was a very popular part of the event, allowing data-minded professionals to discuss, share and overcome challenges such as data collection, data governance, data management and data analysis.
“The level of thought leadership and engagement I’ve seen in the room has been phenomenal. We have a breadth of capabilities in the room which is very rarely seen. What I love about the way The Manufacturer has set up this event is that it doesn’t have a bias towards a particular technology, vendor or business. It’s well intended; people are bringing their best and sharing their knowledge in the interest of everyone in attendance. It’s superb, I love it.”
Mircea Oprisan, Director of Advanced Analytics, Mars
“I attend many CTO events, but there’s something unique about how The Manufacturer does it from the point of view of the sponsors. Here, the people on the discussion tables speak openly to their peers about their problems. They speak with an open heart about their challenges and how they’re dealing with them. Therefore, sponsors are able to get up close and into the nitty-gritty; they can see what’s under the hood. You can’t do that at other CTO events where you might just be speaking, sponsoring, or have a booth. Here, you really get placed at the core of the problem.”
Suresh Daniel, Data and Architecture Director, Coats
“You’re nothing without your network, expert opinion and the latest research and findings. Without events like the Industrial Data Summit, how do you know that your future plans include cutting edge thought, principles and models? It’s been really useful for my network and the speakers have been great.”
Marla Nelson, Head of Data Driven Transformation & Culture, Jaguar Land Rover
The Manufacturer’s Summit events have an interactive format that enables in-depth peer-to-peer discussions around attendees’ key business challenges, providing real insight and value. This includes a combination of plenary (keynotes, five-minute idea, and a panel discussion), and our ‘deep-dive’ discussion breakout sessions.