In a previous article I advocated to treat data as a product of your production process: it has a certain purity (quality) and must be transported and transformed to increase its value and make it useful.

Three months since I wrote this article, it dawned on me what the “make it useful” could entail. The obvious application of process data is using it to optimize your production process. Depending on how well you can execute this, you can incrementally improve your Operating Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) by either a small or large amount. This idea is not novel.

But what if you went one step further, and made your data a part of your product?

Imagine you supply specialized alloys for the aerospace industry. Your client, an aircraft manufacturer, builds a critical load-bearing component from your alloy. If you think about it, what is your client really buying? Besides raw material, the client likely desires piece of mind: knowing that the alloy if of high quality so that it will not fail their own (obligatory) quality verification tests. Metal that is out of spec has to be re-ordered which causes delays and increases costs.

If your data infrastructure and digital strategy enable your plant to consistently produce and capture high-quality data, you would be able to sell this data to your client as an add-on to your product. A type of “product passport” that documents the processing history and final properties of the alloy - guaranteeing it’s quality. Would an aircraft manufacturer be willing to pay a premium for having peace of mind?