6 Ways Contextual Data Can Drive Informed Decision Making In Manufacturing

Imagine you’re looking for a florist. If the only tool you have is a spreadsheet of possibilities, finding a suitable match could be a clunky process. Instead, picture all the florists on a map of neighborhoods and the option to narrow your search based on criteria you care about—only highly rated florists or those located near the restaurant where you’ll be dining, for example. Your search will be more dynamic and likely yield more useful results.

Static data used in a real-world context—known as contextual data—delivers more relevant information so you can make decisions more confidently.

Such robust contextual data sets, an informed decision-making process, and a collaborative environment enable digital transformation across a range of industries, including manufacturing. To access contextual data and to effectively answer what-if questions, teams need to create a virtual twin—a digital replica of all processes, inputted with live, real-world data.

At the Hannover Messe industry trade show, which took place in its namesake German city in May 2022, Dassault Systèmes demonstrated how a virtual twin helps manufacturers experiment with different designs and processes—including factory layout, production, supply chain logistics, customer service and environmental impact. Enterprises can plug real-world data into this virtual representation to answer what-if questions: What will happen to corrosion performance if I replace one part with another? How much more will my product cost if I manufacture it in factory A?

Here’s how contextual data drives the future of manufacturing.

Boosting The Experience Economy

Contextual data from a virtual twin delivers information from sales and marketing and other verticals that can shape how manufacturers package and sell products. When everything can be sold as a service, companies are selling more than a basic widget—they’re bundling it with an experience, says Morgan Zimmermann, CEO at NETVIBES, the information intelligence brand at Dassault Systèmes. “You might not be [simply] selling an aircraft anymore, but selling an hour of a working aircraft or a mobility experience.”

In this economy, a sale hinges on the superiority of the product and the experience, so business as usual no longer flies. Instead, we need contextual data to fuel the customer journey, Zimmermann says. “You need to reconnect pieces of your organization like manufacturing, engineering, sales, marketing and more. And these departments need to work together in a way that they have not before.”

Enabling A Collaborative Environment

But eliminating old ways of working is easier said than done. When email is the default mode of communication, for instance, information about a product can get lost in the shuffle. The dream, says Zimmermann, is a single, user-friendly way for all authorized employees to access all interrelated information. “We need to make sure that we can connect the people in the same place where we have the data so they have the context to start working together and collaborating.”

Building A Robust Decision-Making Process

Bringing together workers from different departments—whether engineering, manufacturing or procurement—is what a virtual twin can accomplish. “The virtual twin has become the gateway for all enterprise data in the right context for any user,” Zimmermann says. For example, using a virtual twin of an aircraft, a manufacturing engineer can access a simulation file or a product designer can figure out the right tolerances for an airplane part. The key is that everyone works with the same virtual twin and accesses the same contextual data in real time, pushing out work requests to relevant co-workers. And because all actions are digitally traceable, the system provides transparency and accountability.

Fostering A Better Understanding Of Market Trends

The virtual twin delivers more than seamless collaboration between manufacturing silos. Because contextual data from product design, customer service and other verticals across the manufacturing cycle feeds the virtual twin, the model “enables you to understand market trends and competition, and to capture knowledge,” says Zimmermann. “As a result, you drive innovation.”

Delivering Superior Performance

The virtual twin buoys enterprise performance by helping companies make better-informed decisions, says Guillaume Vendroux, CEO of DELMIA, the manufacturing and supply chain operations solution at Dassault Systèmes. “The virtual twin crunches contextual data and evaluates every [possible outcome]—it’s not just guesswork, the final answer is an optimized one.”

Highlighting New Revenue Streams

Too often, “companies are sitting on a pile of [data] gold, but they don’t know how to leverage it,” Zimmermann says. But “contextualization of that data using the virtual twin is an incredible way to find new uses for intellectual property.” In this way, the virtual twin helps the enterprise explore new revenue sources. Data assets can be transformative when used in context and applied across the enterprise. And the virtual twin is the key enabler—the vehicle that can facilitate extraordinary transformations.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/dassaultsystemes/2022/08/08/6-ways-contextual-data-can-drive-informed-decision-making-in-manufacturing/