It takes a lot of information to make a widget.
Parts, materials, expenses, how things fit together — from research and design to assembly to servicing finished products, the manufacturing industry generates a lot of data.
That data is usually unavailable to everyone who works on a widget over its lifetime. Research and design has its own data about costs and assembly in its database. Manufacturing may need that same information, but because its own systems are structured differently, manufacturing can’t use the information from R&D.
Getting data out of those silos eats up money and time; The New York Times reports that between 50 and 80 percent of data scientists’ time is spent wrestling with data, and Gartner finds that companies spend $3.5 billion on ETL software for data integration every year.
But what if all the data could be available to everyone at every step of the manufacturing process? What if a repair person who is sent into the field to fix a malfunctioning widget years from now had access to a detailed picture of that specific widget’s lifetime, made up of information taken from six or seven systems, and what if that information could be generated quickly — almost as soon as the call came in from the customer?
Earlier this month, Omni’s partner MarkLogic held a webinar about MarkLogic’s Operational Data Hub, an enterprise NoSQL database that provides clients with an agile approach to data by ingesting data of all kinds as is, and allowing users to search that data as easily as they might type an inquiry into Google.
“Most database technology is rigid in terms of how it is used,” says Matt Turner, CTO of Manufacturing and Media for MarkLogic.
Traditional relational databases with ETL are purpose-built; all the data in such databases is defined up-front, and because such systems are built with just one use in mind, they can’t be used for anything else; any changes require ETL rewrites and any new SQL queries require the database to be re-indexed.
MarkLogic’s Operational Data Hub is a flexible database that can index almost anything. It takes in data from many different sources — including pointers to external data — harmonizes those documents, and makes that information searchable quickly.
How has that sort of database changed the way companies do business? Mitchell 1, an automotive repair software company, has been working with MarkLogic for the past few years.
Its database allows mechanics to quickly diagnose the problem with any given car based on its model, or to find the right page in a repair manual. Mechanics can also add their own experiences or advice about fixing certain problems to the database, and that information becomes searchable as well.
Mitchell 1 is able to use the data from the systems at all of their shops to create a full picture of a car’s repair timeline, predicting when every part will need to be replaced.
“They’re able to use the data to do incredibly progressive things for their customers,” says Turner, “because they’re able to connect the data in this hub and make those linkages.”
Want to learn more about the way MarkLogic is changing other manufacturers’ data for the better? Watch the webinar here.