Why real-time data matters for the packaging industry

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I don’t even think we should start this article by telling you the benefits of real-time data. The best approach is to begin by showing you what happens when you don’t have it.

A good way to explain this is to imagine a scenario where you’re driving your car: not having real-time data is the same as looking through the rearview mirror while driving, without paying attention to the road.

Can you imagine pilots, air traffic controllers, and airport managers relying only on data collected 12 hours ago? Or two weeks ago? They need to make decisions on real-time. It seems an exaggerated example (and it is), but it’s just to make a point and warn you that your plant might be losing a lot of money if you keep on using data collected on paper and excel spreadsheets (which have become obsolete).

Manufacturing plants that do not have real-time data are always one step behind of the resolution of any problem. Or worse, they are always one step behind of finding out they have a problem.

Real-time data in the packaging industry (manufacturing)

The evolution of technology makes changes happen at an ever-increasing speed and in today’s fast-paced business world every second counts. The need for real-time information ensures speed and efficiency in decision making, ultimately creating competitive advantages that will result in added value for the company. Increasingly, technology is transforming industrial practices. Automation in day-to-day manufacturing operations has undoubtedly become the strategy to increase productivity, reduce costs, and raise product quality. Being informed about everything that happens in a company is essential to make the right decisions.

To add value to production, the ideal condition is to have the operations data collection to be done automatically and not manually. Managers and operators need to keep the focus of their work on information analysis and not spend time to capture it. The automation of this process increases confidence in the information, allowing a much more agile and real-time analysis, besides helping managers on shortening the collection steps and leaving the manual spreadsheets aside. The manual task is still subject to serious errors such as duplication of data or even changes in the presented context.

Systems integrated with the machines act directly on the collection of data on manufacturing performance, at the time when operations are happening. This allows managers to have end-to-end visibility of processes on the shop floor and significantly improve them, with low latency.

For example, they can prevent products that do not meet quality standards from moving on to the next steps, generating even more damage. Another advantage is the use of this information to validate a new product by performing tests based on real-time data. Close monitoring of operations also helps to act promptly on problems that may cause machine downtime. More than that, managers can perform early maintenance and avoid possible shutdowns, failing to act reactively to adopt a preventive maintenance model. This change can generate savings of millions!

Manufacturers who continue to rely on manual reporting are missing out on the opportunities to improve their business and gain new customers that real-time data brings. The data gaps many see in their homegrown, legacy, and third-party systems create distrust. Shutting down all initiatives to improve using an enterprise production system is not the answer, however. Configure, Price and Quote (CPQ) strategies are a great place to start with a real-time data pilot, as improvements in this selling process are measurable in improved revenue and reduced selling costs, and shortened sales cycles.” – says Louis Columbus (cloud and manufacturing specialist at Dassault and former product manager at Ingram), in a recent article on Forbes. 

Ok, but what else can you get from real-time data on a packaging factory?

Better people management

Real-time information on human resources can be a great competitive advantage for companies wishing to adapt to change more quickly. Monitoring systems allow us to obtain immediate data on the distribution of employees in the different sectors of the company, as well as updated information on their availability. This makes it easier to manage teams and optimize the work of employees, increasing collective income.

New/better business opportunities at the right time

With real-time business monitoring, you can identify opportunities at the exact moment they appear, allowing you to always be one step ahead of your competition. A fluctuation in the demand for a product, for example, may lead you to launch a specific campaign, increasing sales, and improving company results.

Better decision making

Knowing is power and if you know exactly what’s going on in your business, it will be much easier to make the right decision. Analyzing the business in real-time will give you all the necessary input so that you can consciously decide on the best course to take. Reports that are a few days late present outdated information that relates to a past moment and does not correspond to the actual state of the company at that moment. Therefore, the decisions made are often inappropriate and do not benefit the business. Monitoring the business in real-time will change this scenario because you will have the most reliable information in your hands!

Alerts and quick response

Business monitoring software allows you to set up business alerts so that you are notified whenever there is a deviation from what is considered normal within your company. Wherever you are, you will be notified by SMS, push notifications, or e-mail of any changes, which will allow you take action immediately, even before there is any damage to your organization. With this type of solution, there is no need to look for the information, as it comes to you autonomously.

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