Move over auto suppliers — cloud companies are moving in

As a result of the trend, tech giants are introducing products with automotive customers in mind.

In May, Google launched two solutions, Manufacturing Data Engine and Manufacturing Connect, both of which are designed to let manufacturers process huge swaths of data and gain new insights into their businesses. Ford is among Google’s early customers for the tools.

The tools enable companies to “see at a very fine grain what’s being manufactured at the plant and what type of consumable is with that, whether it’s finished goods that come into the factory or a raw material or a consumable like glue,” said Simon Floyd, director of discrete manufacturing industries at Google Cloud.

“The idea is to maximize your efficiency and decrease waste. A lot of organizations don’t always have a good handle on waste. There are lots of programs in place, but they need a data engine behind them to get the most out of the supply chain.”

Floyd said Google is looking to “create value for customers in a short period” after implementing the solution.

As an example, he pointed to a customer that had been using a machine to build a certain component. After implementing Google Cloud’s solution and analyzing the data it generated, the customer saw that the machine was not performing at the anticipated level. The manufacturer of that machine then came out to the factory and fixed it, allowing it to run much more efficiently.

“The worst thing about manufacturing is the unpredictability of what happens when something breaks down,” Floyd said. “You don’t want to be held up unexpectedly. Any minute that you can be manufacturing, you should be manufacturing.”

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