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Data-Driven Process Optimization on the Shop Floor — It's About Technologies, but Also the Right KPIs

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We are delighted to present this guest blog from Stefanie Naujoks, Research Director, Manufacturing Insights Europe at IDC EMEA.


Transparency is the prerequisite for any process optimization. Without transparency, you don't have the full picture and you don't know what process steps to optimize or which production parameters to adjust to improve factory operations.

IT/OT Integration Is a Prerequisite to Enabling Data-Driven Shop-Floor Optimization

Some of our recent IDC surveys have shown that IT/OT integration is not only seen as an important enabler to increasing transparency on the shop floor — it is also an enabler of data-driven process optimization. Among the major challenges for manufacturers here is improving their levels of overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). According to our survey results from manufacturing organizations worldwide, the following topics and KPIs, which all help to improve OEE, are seen as the main reasons for investing in IT/OT integration:

  • Improving throughput — 39%
  • Reducing downtime of production assets — 21%
  • Improving product quality and reducing scrap rate — 32%

Turning Data Into Insights — The Role of Technologies

To enable data-driven process optimization on the shop floor, data needs to be turned into insights. This applies to data from single production assets, from production lines, from plants, and from distributed plant networks. Technologies and dedicated software applications play an important role here. Some are already quite mature, but still highly relevant, such as manufacturing execution systems (MES). Other technologies such as edge computing and private 5G networks are still in the early adoption and maturity phase, but will play a more important role in the factories of the future enterprise. We believe edge computing will be important in enabling the utilization of data directly at the edge (the shop floor) in cases where data is not supposed to or allowed to go to the cloud, or where latency requirements demand real-time analytics. Private 5G networks enable lower latencies and increased data capacity and data throughput in factories, enabling use cases such as worker augmentation and autonomous vehicles.

Data-Driven Process Optimization on the Shop Floor — Are You Using the Right KPIs?

In the future enterprise, factory operations are resilient and responsive, based on transparency and data-driven process optimization. Transparency can be achieved through stronger integration of the IT and OT domains. Data-driven process optimization can be achieved by using technologies to improve traditional KPIs, such as improving throughput and reducing asset downtime or scrap rates. These KPIs make a lot of sense when it comes to ensuring efficiency of operations and higher OEE. But future enterprises also need to think about KPIs related to ensuring resilience or responsiveness of factory operations. What are the right KPIs for measuring the ability to quickly adapt factory operations to potential economic, environmental, political, or social disruptions?

For more on how manufacturing organizations address their digital transformation to prepare for the next normal in manufacturing, please see https://marketing.global.fujitsu.com/manufacturing-targeted-investments-inb?utm_source=blog&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=idcinfobrief2


Biography Stefanie Naujoks, Research Director for Manufacturing Insights Europe, IDC

Stefanie Naujoks joined IDC as research director for Manufacturing Insights Europe in June 2020, based in Munich, Germany.

She has 20+ years of industry experience, both from the analyst and the IT vendor side.

Her research topics include digital transformation, industrial IoT, Industry 4.0, the digital factory, PLM, MES and SCM. Moreover, Stefanie has a research focus on ecosystem collaboration strategies of manufacturing organizations and digital industry ecosystems and how those will enable manufacturing organizations to accelerate product innovation, generate new revenue streams, achieve superior customer experience, and develop new business models.

Stefanie is an experienced speaker at events in Europe and is sought after for workshops with IT vendors and manufacturing companies.

She graduated with honors in business administration from Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, where she focused on corporate IT strategy and management and marketing.

Profile photo of Stefanie Naujoks