Everyone is getting on the Industry 4.0 train. Why aren’t you?

Do your competitors understand something you don’t? Feel like you’re missing the boat? Have they zeroed in on an opportunity you still can’t see? Simply put, yes. And here it is.
Actionable data is only as good as your strategy

Industry 4.0 is data

In the age of I4.0, sophisticated equipment such as your sorters and optimizers generate mountains of data. The challenge for everyone in the transformation plant is to make sense of that data and put it to use to reach business objectives.

The industrial internet of things (IIoT) is one of the technological enablers of your understanding—one that can unlock better operations and higher profits, and one that will help you stay ahead of your competition.

IIoT is a group of technologies that connects machines, advanced analytics, and people, driving positive actions. Together they form systems that can monitor, collect, exchange, analyze, and deliver actionable data.

A 2021 Gartner survey revealed that 54 % of respondents want technological systems that improve the quality of work or business processes, while 46 % want to focus on improving the quality or speed of decision making (among their top three objectives). Which one are you?

Data is only as good as the strategy behind it.

Actionable data is business intelligence

Actionable data is information that can be acted upon or information offering enough insight that necessary actions are clear for decision makers. In other words, while actionable data is a product of big data, it shouldn’t be information stored in silos inside your mill (which is often still the case today).

Actionable data is information that’s processed, analyzed, and presented in a clear, understandable, and often visual manner. It offers the ability to recognize mistakes and capitalize on new opportunities, to enhance performance, and to reach faster, more informed business decisions—all the way to the plant floor. Because, yes, every time your plant floor workers act or fail to act, they are figuratively making a business decision.

In even simpler terms, actionable data is business intelligence (BI) and BI, nowadays, is like gold.

Unfortunately, no matter the industry and IIoT systems in place, decision makers still struggle to make sense and capitalize on the wealth of business intelligence at their disposal.

Actionable data is business intelligence
The indicators you extract from your value chain must back your strategy

BI must support your strategy

We’ve visited a good number of wood transformation plants over the years, so we believe to have a good understanding of how they run. Many of you reading this think their sawmill is unique, so no out-of-the-box / customer-off-the-shelf solution can meet all your needs. Yet, you see other plants modernizing and deploying new tools—you don’t want to be left behind, outclassed.

However, first and foremost, before you adopt a solution (PMP TeamMate or otherwise), for the information you get out of it to be useful, it must support a strategy. Not just a plan or a project, but an overarching strategy. Only then can your KPIs be truly meaningful. In other words, if you don’t know what you’re chasing after, no amount of numbers will ever be useful.

Through years of observation and experience, we’ve identified three basic strategies in mills:

  • Reducing / Controlling costs
  • Adding value to the product mix
  • A mixed approach combining elements of the above two

At PMP SOLUTIONS, we’ve always found that a mixed approach yields the best results. Having elaborated a strategy, it becomes easier to look for the data that will support it.

The challenges of getting actionable data

What’s really stopping you from connecting the dots between data, analytics, and the growth of your business?

A majority of decision makers blame their inability to integrate data technology such as PMP TeamMate into their existing systems and business models. Most say that they struggle with implementing the correct solution to accurately analyze their existing data. The reality is that most manufacturing solutions on the market are not designed for the wood transformation industry, and they are mostly data historians—you must still analyze the data they collect to squeeze BI out of it—which most of you don’t have the time or expertise to do. Furthermore, actionable business intelligence must be grounded in your business strategy, otherwise it’s irrelevant.

Also, despite state-of-the-art equipment or a shiny new turnkey sawmill, and data technology, most operations will still taper at an operational efficiency (OE) of about 60 %. New equipment only addresses mechanical issues, not operational issues, despite the presence of data technology. Many people throughout history have said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Applied to your context, it means that if you keep using the same old operational processes, regardless of new equipment and data technology, you’ll face the same old challenges and reach the same old results (i.e., 60 % operational efficiency).

Actionable data must be a driver for change. It's not just about getting BI, but getting the right BI.

BI must be a driver for change
One of many pre-analyzed reports by PMP TeamMate

A clear and comprehensive picture

So BI tools such as PMP TeamMate (although it’s not only a BI tool) are very important. BI enables you to draw actionable data from your operational technologies to empower data-driven decisions. PMP TeamMate pulls data from every possible data point where it’s deployed in your mill, aligns it with your objectives, and presents it in three ways:

  • Pre-analyzed (huge time saver) reports that can be produced and delivered automatically to key stakeholders
  • Real-time dashboards on the plant floor. These have two functions: inform operators of targets and whether they are deviating from these targets.
  • Visual business intelligence that can be quickly accessed through a browser.

What we’ve observed in over a hundred PMP TeamMate deployments is that top-down data-driven decisions were more clearly understood, and that bottom-up communication became more fluid, yielding even more insight. Real-time dashboards on the plant floor also enable operators to remain on target and fix issues before they become bottlenecks.

This drives, through the application of our Proven Process, operational efficiency up by an average of 20 % and the value of product mixes up an average of 33 %.