If there’s one thing manufacturers have a lot of, it’s data. These data contain a wealth of actionable intelligence that can be used to address immediate plant floor problems and uncover new manufacturing quality and operational improvement opportunities.

But just having a lot of data doesn’t automatically reveal these insights. The data need to be unified and paired with key parameters that give them meaning.

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While some manufacturers automate data collection, the data still come from multiple sources, including devices—such as Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs), checkweighers, gauges, and Ethernet and Serial Devices—databases, OPC servers, text files, and business systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), and Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS).

In fact, in an LNS Research survey, 38% of manufacturer respondents cited integration of quality systems with disparate data sources as their top challenge in meeting quality objectives. These data sources often have incompatible data formats and complex IT infrastructures that can make it difficult for users to find the right data among all the systems and devices.

Manufacturers need a software solution that can link these fragmented data sources and “connect the dots” to help them work together towards producing a higher quality product.

InfinityQS has this missing piece. Available as an add-on to our real-time Quality Intelligence solution, ProFicient, our Data Management System (DMS) automates the collection of critical quality and process data from multiple data sources throughout the plant and stores the data in a unified repository.

Benefits of Centralized and Unified Data

Using modern data management software—grounded in proven statistical process control (SPC) principles—to unify data from disparate sources gives manufacturers a wide range of benefits.

Improved Data Accuracy

Without the need to manually input data into the quality system, manufacturers not only save time, but also improve data accuracy by eliminating the chances of human error. New time savings can be dedicated to looking for continuous improvement opportunities. And, with accurate data stored in a single repository, regulatory audits are less of a headache because operators and plant managers can confidently fulfill auditor requests in minutes, not hours or days.

Real-Time Decision Making

Often, plant equipment and business systems will record and describe data differently—it can be a matter of “inches” vs. “in.” These small idiosyncrasies prevent manufacturers from seeing the bigger picture of operations.

But an integrated data management software solution standardizes the data before writing it into the unified data repository, thereby giving manufacturers the ability to gather and compare their data, spot trends, and instantly get actionable insight for real-time decision making. Moreover, when data are standardized, they can be organized into rational subgroups, such as by shift or lines, for deeper drill-down analysis.

Optimized Plant Operations

When quality data, such as measurements or weights, are paired with process parameters, like minimum weight requirements and product schematics, manufacturers can ensure the quality of the final product by making adjustments in process. With automated alarms, operators can be notified if anything is out of spec, and they can make timely adjustments to prevent problems from growing. Further, with a complete view of operations, plant managers can make intelligent adjustments to lines and machines to optimize plant operations or use predictive analytics for long-term improvements.

DMS is the linchpin needed to link disparate plant equipment and business systems. By automating, standardizing, and centralizing data into the quality intelligence system, manufacturers can expertly wield the resulting operational insight to improve the efficiency and quality of their machines, processes, and products.

Plus, if it’s possible to optimize operations and manufacturing quality within a single plant using quality data, imagine the exponential results that can be achieved by applying these best practices across the enterprise.

To learn more about obtaining actionable information from the data your operators are already collecting, visit our website and check out our Definitive Guide to SPC Charts and our learning centers, SPC 101 and New SPC Tools for a New Era of Quality.