Data Integrity in the Manufacturing Process

Data is essential in modern manufacturing. Without data, you must make decisions based on guesswork and hunches. It is also harder to identify risks and opportunities without data. In addition, modern regulatory systems are data dependent. It is not enough to have data, however, as you must also have data integrity.

After all, the value and quality of data are not always the same, plus data processes, from collection to transmission to storing to reporting, are prone to errors.

In other words, you don’t just need data to make informed business decisions or meet the requirements of a regulator. Instead, you need the right data. This is why it is important to have a focus on data integrity.

What is Data Integrity?

Data integrity is a term that refers to the completeness, accuracy, and consistency of data, i.e. the quality of data. To achieve data integrity, data must have a complete structure with data values standardised according to data type.

In manufacturing, you need systems with structures that give you data integrity at the outset. Those systems must also include validation and error-checking elements to ensure the ongoing integrity of your data.

Why is Data Integrity a Challenge?

Even small inconsistencies or inaccuracies in data can cause significant problems with your use of that data. Unfortunately, those inconsistencies and inaccuracies are all too common in manufacturing facilities. You can lose data during a process or in transmission, for example, or elements of the data you store can be inaccurate.

These problems have the potential of occurring because most production lines feature multiple machines, pieces of equipment, and technology platforms. Those various elements perform different functions and often come from a range of different vendors.

All those vendors will have their own views on structuring data and standardising values. In other words, there are no common standards.

Problems with data also occur when you use systems for data management, processing, and reporting that are poorly designed and implemented.

To put this right and to give you data integrity in the manufacturing process, you need a third-party solution such as TOTALdata or TOTALbatch.

TOTALdata and TOTALbatch are part of a suite of products from SL Controls that automate key parts of the production process, including data management and reporting as well as batch control.

We built these products using our vast experience in creating bespoke integrated data systems for our clients.

Whatever solution you choose, it must standardise data values and structure, it must be vendor neutral, it must have processes that continuously validate the data you collect and hold, and it must be scalable for the future.

Benefits of Investing in Systems that Deliver Data Integrity

  • Better decision making – you will have better information on which to base critical business decisions, such as whether or not to implement a project that aims to make your production line more efficient, but which requires a significant investment.
  • Verify decisions – you can also use data to check previously taken decisions to verify and learn from them.
  • Meet regulatory requirements and requests – for example, by proving your medical device or drug product continues to be compliant.
  • Improves efficiencies – data integrity enables you to implement systems that automate processes that make your production lines more efficient. An example is batch control, a process that is very data dependent.

Industry 4.0 and the smart factories of the future will use more data, and in more ways, than we do now. Data integrity is a central component of the manufacturing process today and in the future.

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