Almost half of the companies operate with only a “limited” product data strategy

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Although global macro trends continue to challenge ways of doing business, companies are not fully leveraging data to optimize their manufacturing processes. A new survey from NI (National Instruments) reveals that as many as 47% of companies operate under a limited data strategy – where they use product data from only a handful of functional areas.

According to the survey, which involved 300 product innovators from across industries, most of these organizations are not leveraging manufacturing and engineering data and are failing to deliver as effective business results as those with an advanced enterprise-wide product data strategy. In the last 12 months, only 33% of the product had a faster time to market, compared to 52% of advanced companies. Levels of innovation (51% vs. 63%), employee productivity (50% vs. 62%) and manufacturing efficiency (41% vs. 58%) were also lower.

Limited versus advanced data strategy

The statistics are important as they show how effective unlocking data from the entire product life cycle – design, validation, production and in use – can be in refining processes and delivering ground-breaking products. This is the need of the hour in today’s market landscape, where organizations must continue to deliver advanced products at speed and scale to remain competitive.

Gaps in advanced strategy

Although companies with advanced product strategies have produced better results, even they are not utilizing product data to its full potential. The NI survey found that only 29% of companies with advanced data strategies used production data to improve manufacturing processes and 24% combined the full range of engineering, production and usage data to gain advanced insights. Many also signaled the inability to gain insights via data analysis and the underutilization of test data to inform product design.

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“We know that in many industries there is a natural lag between design and testing phases, which can cause production bottlenecks. But overlooking test data can cause you to miss an opportunity to streamline your processes. In today’s competitive market, this can be the difference between success and failure,” the research report says.

Organizations playing catch-up

Realizing these gaps, organizations are now scrambling to catch up to address their data gaps and transform their product lifecycles.

In the past 12 months, 70% of organizations with limited data strategies have invested in product data and analytics as a priority. Meanwhile, the advanced players, who already have the foundations in place, are now looking to prioritize cutting-edge technologies such as machine learning, digital twins and robotic process automation (RPA).

“Effective maturity in product data strategy involves planning the sequence of steps that best solve specific problems. Start by identifying the challenges that need solutions today, then the tools needed for those solutions can be acquired. From there, create the data strategy to support those tools,” NI said -fellow Mike Santori to VentureBeat.

“For many companies, product-centric data will be a central part of the data strategy, providing the granularity needed for necessary analyses. This plan should be centralized and standardized in the enterprise, so that all efforts are built together to create a connected (advanced) data strategy across of the entire company, he added.

In the survey, 65% of the respondents emphasized that a data strategy is essential for optimizing the product’s life cycle. Meanwhile, 46% said they will lose market share within two years if outdated product lifecycle processes are not optimized.

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