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How can the manufacturing sector take advantage of big data?

As the capabilities of big data become more obvious to IT professionals around the world, it is clear that the technology has a role to play across all industries.

Whether it is retailers spotting emerging consumer trends before they happen, utilities companies being better able to predict power demand or healthcare providers being able to provide more accurate diagnoses, big data has huge potential across all parts of the economy.

And one area that's increasingly recognising this is manufacturing. It was noted by Manufacturing Global that there are several benefits to the industry of taking advantage of big data.

For instance, the sector can help with tasks such as market analysis and forecasting, alerting companies to any changes or trends that will affect their operations. As this is a sector that may often take time to react to changing circumstances, anything firms can do to improve this process will be highly valuable.

However, as well as future planning, big data technology can also assist with day-to-day operations on the factory floor. One way in which it can do this is by monitoring products for any defects or errors that could otherwise prove very costly to fix.

"Because big data can collect and process data sets from sensors throughout your facility, it can quickly locate flaws and defects based on data inaccuracies," Manufacturing Global stated. "This gives your company the opportunity to solve the issue before it becomes a costly manufacturing mistake."

Having the right solutions in place to collect, store and process this data will be vital to the success of any plans, the publication noted, as the highly automated nature of today's manufacturing industry means the amount of information generated is growing exponentially.

It noted that depending on the size of an operation, a facility could create as much as a terabyte of data every day. However, the volumes gathered may not be consistent from one day to the next, depending on what operations a company is undertaking.

"With big data, you can scale your data collecting up or down depending on manufacturing amounts from one week or month to the next," Manufacturing Global added.