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Translating big data into better results

Brent Youngers, president of EFT Analytics, a Koch company innovating the latest solutions in data, shares his insight into the critical nature of harnessing data applications in manufacturing, combining data with operations excellence, and providing real-time solutions to experts in the field.

March 25, 2019

min read

EFT-Analytics-Koch-Brent-Youngers.jpgWe are living in an unprecedented time of data growth. Each day, over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created — and the rate of growth is only accelerating. Imagine this: At some point in the next year, per one estimate, about 1.7MB of data will be created every second (or roughly 143GB per person, per day) for the nearly 8 billion people on earth. Consider the sheer amount of data that courses through just our cellphones and other connected devices each day: endless text messages, app downloads and updates, social media posts, photos, videos, emails, and so much more.

Operators in manufacturing facilities are constantly taking in the latest data created by sensors detecting light, heat, and vibration, using it to optimize their performance by making processes more efficient. For companies of all sizes, that is already a tall task. Doing so quickly and efficiently? That's significantly more challenging, and increasingly more important. Data scientists are critical to any business’ long-term success, but there are nowhere near enough of them to meet the constantly accelerating demand. One study estimated that there will be nearly 700,000 data science openings next year

That means a lot of potential jobs, and a lot of opportunity, but the rapid growth means that even filling those openings is not enough to keep pace with the demand. When human expertise meets real-time data analysis, the potential is great. Businesses today need to analyze this dizzying amount of data, turn it into usable information and implement workable and sustainable solutions that enable real-time and long-term growth. There is simply no time for manufacturers to fall behind, and no better time to make data simpler for them.


The Power of Partnerships

That’s why bridging this knowledge gap with other companies — especially manufacturers — is so important. At EFT, we work to provide operations experts in the field with actionable insights via complex analysis, which can help make their work more effective and meaningful. Even a small change that makes something just one percent more efficient is significant. From our founding more than 20 years ago in Ireland to our acquisition by Koch Industries in 2016, we have viewed our work as a partnership with a growing array of clients with a diverse set of specialties and needs. We know the power of putting real-time data into the hands of subject matter experts and operators, from Dublin to New York to Wichita and beyond. Domain expertise, combined with the analytics our technology can provide, enables our customers to make better decisions, reduce waste, increase production and make their facilities safer.

At EFT, we see ourselves as power brokers, as nimble translators, and as steady pathfinders between industrial partners and the torrent of data that grows more impressive and consequential by the nanosecond.

Our analytics solutions and services have helped boost the performance of Koch companies across the board, reducing environmental footprints while increasing product efficiency and quality. We’ve seen repeatedly how our analytics solutions both improve daily manufacturing processes and save millions of dollars in the long term.

What’s Next for Data

While we are constantly looking for ways to help Koch facilities across the globe grow their capabilities and achieve greater success, we are also now focused on how we can best apply our own capabilities to help external customers improve their operations.

As one of the most technologically advanced mills in the United States, Big River Steel in Arkansas has leveraged EFT’s advanced analytics platform, Cortex™, to improve performance and optimize every step of the manufacturing process. We are constantly looking for new opportunities, modeling solutions in our platforms as unique as each of our customers. That flexibility is crucial for success, and we have witnessed it first-hand through improvements made at many manufacturing facilities.

Looking ahead to the next decade, it is indeed difficult to predict what trends might dominate the industry, what industries might spark disruptions, and what disruptions might inspire tomorrow’s next great breakthroughs. With more data comes more opportunity to create value and to drive all of us closer to success. Now more than ever, it is essential to reckon with what matters, to apply what we’ve learned, to constantly iterate, improve, and grow.


Brent Youngers is the president of EFT Analytics, a Koch company.