Automation Isn't Ruining Manufacturing — Bad Data Is

How 3AG Systems helps manufacturers gain unforeseen insights

It doesn’t take much for a modern manufacturing company to be data-driven. But what those manufacturing companies do with the data isn’t enough — yet.

Manufacturing companies have been automating their operations for quite a while now. Human labor became too costly and expensive, paving the way for robotic engineers and operations experts to team up and automate the process. Throughout all of this, though, manufacturers continually miss the mark on one of automation’s biggest strengths: Data collection.

But with the focus on automation and data, manufacturing companies can continue to increase their operational efficiency — and therefore revenue. We’re all hearing about the “industry 4.0 revolution,” but who’s actually pioneering these new standards of operations?

The truth is we’re not ready for industry 4.0, and we won’t be until manufacturing companies get better at engineering their data from their existing automated operations.

Automation without data insights is a losing game

Here’s the thing: Current legacy systems are already gathering data in real-time. Systems like SCADA do some from remote locations to control your equipment and safety conditions.


The difference between a data-driven manufacturer and a non-data-driven manufacturer is what they do with that data. Non-data-driven manufacturers simply do nothing with it.


Data-driven manufacturers know that data is a core driver of their business decisions, and therefore do whatever it takes to make the data accessible, easy to understand, and applicable to current KPIs.


Keep in mind that you don’t have to use automation to be “data-driven.” Many manufacturers have kept a close eye on their data without it, but the irony is the data is already being automatically collected via sensors and machines — and so the only manual part of the process is the analysis itself. Instead of automating this process, companies repeat the same manual steps which are slow, inefficient, and error-prone.


But as manufacturers leverage their data more by recognizing the power of automation, they drive competition out and bring the rest of the competition into adoption with them.

Data collection, processing, and visualization all come back to quality

Most manufacturing companies limit their operations and business to Excel. Even with a huge team, there aren’t enough spreadsheets in the world to visualize an entire business.


In many cases, it’s leadership holding the company back. Top executives who’ve been in the game too long hesitate to invest in advanced analysis because they don't believe they collect enough data when in reality, the issue is that the data isn't easily accessible for analysis.


And when it’s data we’re talking about, accessibility — both literally accessing the numbers and being able to understand them — is everything.


If the data’s already there, what can you do?


The answer, as usual, falls under two umbrellas:

  1. Outsourcing the analysis to another company

  2. Onboarding an in-house tool

Outsourcing may sound like a quick and easy solution — because it is. But with outsourcing your data analysis, you also outsource your competitiveness, as you have no control over what that company does and doesn’t do with your information. You also open yourself up to even more human error, because you also don’t control their analysis process.


Bringing the process internally means not worrying about any of this. It means adopting better tech for better data collection down the line, empowering your workers to make concrete decisions influenced by data, and it means being “in the know” about your business 24/7.

Answering questions about your operations becomes easier. Bottlenecks and opportunities for expansion bubble up to the surface quicker than ever. All possible with friendly user interfaces and visualizations necessary for your employees to get clear, easy-to-read real-time data.


Queue in 2022’s best manufacturing insights platform

Get on the frontlines of industry 4.0 with a focus on data engineering and analytics. Collecting sensor data and garnering insights from said data doesn’t have to be impossible — and it certainly doesn’t have to be slow to scale, either.

With 3AG’s MI Platform, both of these challenges vanish due to their cloud-based platform that shares real-time data and advanced insights to operators and plant managers directly to their phones, computers, and tablets on the floor.

MI Platform connects to any WiFi or 5G-enabled sensor or camera using a web-first interface; that’s what allows the data to “communicate” in real-time to any device.

More importantly, by automatically saving plant data to this platform, you can perform a whole range of advanced strategic tasks to drive operational improvement including anomaly detection, sophisticated alarm triggers, video analytics, safety infractions to digital modeling, and operator recommendations. And once the plant data is digital and stored in a usable format, the number of opportunities to develop new digital tools will grow, limited only by the imagination of your data team.

Industry 4.0 is inevitable; don’t be left behind

We mentioned earlier that industry 4.0 won’t be actualized until manufacturing companies get better at engineering their data from their existing automated operations. While this is absolutely true, the only way is forward for manufacturing companies and the tech industry at large.

Industry 4.0, then, is inevitable. Thanks to companies like 3AG, manufacturing companies can create a competitive operational advantage for themselves — all with data they already had.


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