Sponsored by Rockwell Automation

By Colin Speakman, Principal, Kalypso

Normal – is there such a thing? The last few years have proven that things perceived to be “normal” can change in unforeseen ways in an instant. Organizations should look to data to make sense of changes, including what they mean and what can be learned. Turning data into information with actionable insights enables an organization to develop a sense of how they should react and prepare for a new normal.

Over the last decade, food and beverage organizations have collected enormous amounts of data — multiple terabytes worth — on consumers, products, manufacturing and logistics. This massive collection can be a treasure trove of insights, so it’s critical to understand what to do with it. Unfortunately, that can be a challenge for some organizations.

When data adhere to “normal” expectations and few variables, people are incredibly adept at finding patterns and frameworks they can apply to situations. However, complex problems involving multiple variables are exponentially difficult to comprehend, and the way we handle these problems needs to be different.

Saved by data

Here’s an example: An organization tried to fix deteriorating yield on one of their manufacturing lines. They conducted several targeted working sessions with their experts, changed centerlines and specifications, and brought in other industry leaders. Because they could not find another solution, they concluded that they needed a new — very expensive — machine. Then we came in and showed them a different path.

This organization had thousands of rows of data on the production line, but they just saw it as data and didn’t utilize it to find solutions. We worked with the company to analyze the data, leveraging statistical analysis and enterprise technologies to advise them on how a few changes could make a dramatic impact. Raw data combined with performance data became valuable information that produced actionable insights. Changes were made on the shop floor, and yields improved.

Agility in today’s evolving world requires thinking about a problem differently and quickly. But you need the right balance of data and technology — and, on occasion, an outside perspective.

If you’re ready for that viewpoint, register for our small-group workshop Thursday, October 21, and we’ll help your organization find a more flexible approach to fuel its problem solving.