Industry 4.0 Foundations: Big Data


big-data-tech.jpgThe technological innovations of Industry 4.0 have created opportunities for manufacturers of all sizes to improve efficiencies, increase revenue and advance production methods. Achieving these improvements begins with a strong understanding of the many facets of Industry 4.0 and how they can be incorporated into an organization most effectively.

In a weekly blog series published over the next few months, we will explore the nine technology trends that form the building blocks of Industry 4.0 and highlight the specific applications and benefits of each.

In all cases, the journey toward continuous improvement starts by understanding the current state of operations. To accomplish this, data is essential.

An endless amount of data is created each day in manufacturing facilities, yet not all manufacturers know how to use it, or even collect it. Manufacturers who learn to harness the power of Big Data, or large sets of data gathered from a range of business areas, can use this data to reveal patterns and trends in operations, especially relating to human behavior and interaction, to make more informed, educated business decisions.

Is your business: Unsure of how your company is performing? Gathering mass amounts of data, but not sure what to do with it? Producing a high number of defects, but can’t find where they originated? Looking to increase cost savings, quality and efficiency?

Big Data can help by:

  • Monitoring product quality and operations. Big Data provides insight into every step of production. By attaching sensors to equipment, workers are able to see and respond to disruptions quickly, or even predictively, to ensure production runs smoothly and correctly. This increased awareness helps lower defects and machine failure, as well as improves product quality.
  • Driving continuous improvement. When gathering and analyzing data from the supply chain, areas in need of improvement will quickly become apparent. Big Data can help inform and drive strategic business decisions and changes, providing a path for success. With this real-time data, workers can more quickly make changes to improve efficiency and quality, ultimately lowering defects and increasing profitability.
  • Enabling demand forecasting. After gathering data for a period of time, manufacturers can look back to identify trends in customer behavior and use this information to predict future demand. By using this data to prepare, stock levels can be reduced and shortages can be avoided.

Big Data provides manufacturers with the flexibility and insight needed to stay prosperous and competitive in the evolving industry landscape. Learn more about how to harness the power of Big Data by contacting our experts at and stay tuned for next week’s blog where we will explore the Internet of Things.

Whether your company is well into its Industry 4.0 journey or just getting started, The Center’s experts can help ensure you achieve the maximum return on all investments. To assist Michigan’s manufacturers with understanding and adopting Industry 4.0 technologies, The Center has partnered with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Automation Alley to drive awareness of the many uses and benefits of these innovations. From conducting an initial Technology Opportunity Assessment to identifying and applying relevant technologies, The Center guides manufacturers through technological implementations in a way that makes sense for their businesses.

Learn more about how The Center can support your company’s Industry 4.0 journey by contacting or visit

Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at

Categories: Industry 4.0, Innovation