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As manufacturers go through the Fourth Industrial Revolution, increasing levels of connectivity and digitization will enable them to link and integrate all aspects of their business, from material planning and logistics to shop floor output and training. The production of ever-increasing data is an obvious result.

Improving Inventory Management
By predicting and managing demand, one of the most advantageous uses of data is to improve inventory management.
According to the Supply Management Board, the fact that customer inventories in February 2019 fell to “the lowest level since December 2010” as they judged them to be too low for 29 consecutive months is a sign that the market is having difficulty identifying and meeting incoming demand.
Smart inventory management strategies powered by data can also give manufacturers a competitive advantage.

Employee Engagement
Manufacturers must account for these deficiencies and leverage data to increase employee engagement, productivity and awareness. Organizations often think that awarding performance-enhancing awards is enough to keep employees happy, but blindly implementing feedback methods without knowing them and how they operate has not worked.

Keeping Workers Safe on the Factory Floor
More than 100,000 industrial workers suffer work-related injuries each year; The most frequent accidents involve contact with machinery or falls. Not all injuries are avoidable, but data can be used to empower employees to take responsibility for their own safety. The data provides an opportunity for manufacturers to help their employees identify best practices for safety by identifying similarities in the history of previous incidents and considering similarities in educational materials.

Funding Data-Driven Projects
With only 18% of respondents in a recent PwC poll categorizing data analytics capabilities as “advanced,” most of the manufacturing industry still has a long way to go before data analytics can be successfully leveraged. Changing business processes requires implementing data-driven innovation through a collaborative, cross-functional approach.
New technologies and analytics can help, but success won’t happen without efforts supported by the entire business.
Manufacturers that don’t invest in data analytics will eventually fall behind and go out of business. That much is true. Since the manufacturing sector will continue its digital transformation for a very long time, fully embracing the impending change is the best option as data-driven insights determine the future of the industry.