A few decades ago, food and beverage manufacturers had one strategy for data collection: paper and pencil. But plant floor operators would spend too much of their day jotting down measurements from weight scales, gauges, HMIs, etc. Despite operators’ data collection efforts, paper and pencil systems were too rudimentary to provide the information that organizations needed for improving production processes and overall quality.
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Explore this issueApril/May 2019
But now, with breakthroughs in industrial automation, servers, databases, and other IT, manufacturers no longer have to rely on paper and pencil systems. They can fully automate data collection and capture extensive amounts of data from every production line—every few milliseconds, around the clock.
However, there is a downside to all of this automation and ease. Since food and beverage manufacturers were starved for data before, many now want to gather as much as they can. Unfortunately, too much data can be difficult to digest. Manufacturers are, in effect, suffering from “data gluttony,” where they gather massive amounts of data, but still lack the quality and manufacturing information they seek.
The Data Gluttony Problem
Data gluttony often results in huge expenses for organizations. After all, manufacturers have to store all of their data somewhere. If they collect both process-specific and product-specific data across each line, in multiple plants, every few seconds or milliseconds, they can fill up tons of hard drives in no time. With the added costs of databases, servers, security, and required IT support, it can all get very expensive, very fast—thereby defeating the cost-reduction focus of modern quality control strategies.