How BMW uses big data to boost maintenance and customer service

With big data analytics now becoming a fixture across companies of all sizes and every industry, many businesses will be looking at how they can leverage the technology to gain a march on their competitors and provide the highest possible level of service.

After the EMC World Conference in 2015, we read with interest about BMW’s approach to big data at  As reported at the time in V3, its  Head of Business After-sale Analytics and Digital processes, Dirk Ruger, spoke about how big data analytics would be a vital element of its future customer engagement strategies.

At that time he explained that big data and predictive analytics have been deployed to help the company learn more about what its customers’ likes are and what they expect from BMW in the future. Effectively processing this information for insight enables the company to manage its business much more accurately.

During the 2015 conference, BMW also spoke of its primary goal being predictive maintenance, making use of Internet of Things sensors to identify issues before they arise.

Since then, BMW has implemented a number of analytics programs in this area. In this news release last year, BMW talks about its use of data to help reduce lead times and lower costs. Some of its use cases include:

  • Laser-marked body parts making body parts traceable at all times. Some of the outcomes from this include a lower number of scrapped parts and reduced downtime for fault analysis
  • Predictive maintenance for body shop robots, welding tools and drives to avoid unplanned system downtime
  • Predictive maintenance for materials handling in assembly thereby ensuring long-term, reliable operations of their assembly line conveyor system over a number of years

Using AI and Big Data to design and build cars of tomorrow

In his Forbes article, Big Data expert Bernard Marr writes about how Big Data drives everything BMW does – across design, engineering, production, sales and customer support. For future autonomous cars, BMW’s target is the top-most level 5 (at level 5, the automated system can perform all driving tasks, under all conditions that a human driver could perform them). In this blog, we learn that BMW is building a new giant data center to manage the massive volumes of data they will need to gather and analyze as vehicles become driverless. It is 10 times the size of their existing facility. Clearly big data and analytics is essential to BMW, both now and for its future. Its data-driven focus and digitalization strategy is exciting for anyone with an interest in big data.

Interested in reading about other enterprise uses of big data? Check out our Big Brands using Big Data infographic.

This post was originally published in May 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.


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