These days everyone talks about the latest trends in manufacturing, from 3D Printing to IoT and leveraging your Supply Chain to maximize Lean Principles. Each of these endeavours can bring about positive change and production efficiencies in business.  But, before you invest in any of these areas, when was the last time you took a closer look at your company as a whole? Do you understand how silos could be affecting your company?

For instance, can all of your departments quickly find and easily share data from one department to another? Does your marketing team have a platform and an opportunity to share the latest market trends or feedback from customer surveys? Can your manufacturing and purchasing departments anticipate pending orders to leverage quantity discounts, list accurate ordering and optimization of materials? Are you finding out about product defects and customer service issues too late to take corrective/preventative measures, which risks tarnishing your brand?

In these scenario’s, the common factor is sharing information, or in some cases, the lack of sharing information.

Organizational data silos

Information that is not easily shared discourages communication and collaboration between the various departments that make up your business. Disconnected teams are not receptive to new ideas, communication break downs appear throughout the process, and if these are not resolved, can cause long lasting friction and even resentment. 

Organizational data silos

Figure: Illustration of the closed-loop manufacturing concept
Image credit: HPE

In a recent article by Matthias Roese, Global chief technologist of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, he discusses Breaking down data silos with closed-loop manufacturing.  This identifies to a new emerging framework and how this can break down data silos while strengthening feedback loops across the production lifecycle. His article also mentions missed market opportunities, design flaws, production inefficiencies, service and maintenance deficiencies and unidentified correlations, as wasted opportunities.

Similarly, Salesforce touch on this topic in a recent article on The Changing Role of the Modern Sales Team, offering tips to breaking down silo mentality and highlighting the benefits of doing this well.

Today, companies should take an honest look into how effectively they share information and realize the lost opportunity and other consequences as a result of silos of information existing in businesses today.