Decision Support: Getting a better view of your manufacturing data

From KPIs and OEE, to role-based “dashboards” and real-time “visualizations,” the latest techniques for manufacturing performance improvement can present a confusing array of acronyms and buzzwords.

We help you make sense of it all in this month’s Automation World, which focuses on decision support tools and methodologies. Whether you’re a manufacturing newcomer or a long-time factory veteran, you’ll find useful information throughout this issue on the latest technologies for managing and making sense of your manufacturing data, as an aid to faster, smarter decision making. You’ll also find real-world examples of how some companies are using these tools to improve manufacturing performance.

In the article beginning on p. 26, Managing Editor Wes Iversen provides an overview of the field, with a look at a new class of software that overcomes some of the data isolation problems of the past. Systems from a growing number of vendors are designed to more effectively blend data from production and business systems as an aid to better, more informed factory decision making.

It’s often been said that the Internet “changes everything.” And manufacturing is no exception. Web technologies are proliferating throughout the world of plant automation, enabling managers to review production and control data from anywhere they can access the Internet. Contributing Editor Rob Spiegel takes a detailed look at the topic beginning on p. 34.

Sometimes, pictures speak louder than words. In the article beginning on p. 38, Contributing Editor C. Kenna Amos explains how that certainly is true when it comes to digital visualization of manufacturing and business data. Now, employees at every level can see a cohesive view of their enterprise expressed in graphs, table or charts, leading to actionable decisions that can help maximize profits.

For consumer product goods makers, today’s business drivers are pretty simple—higher throughput, higher reliability and higher quality products, all at a lower price. That according to Skip Holmes, associate director of power, control and information systems at the Procter & Gamble Co. Holmes discussed how these drivers affect manufacturing at P&G, along with a range of other topics, during an interview with Editorial Director Jane Gerold. Read what he had to say beginning on p. 42.

More in Networks