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How to Use Machine Data to Drive Profitability in Infor VISUAL

5/20/20 10:00 AM


What is machine data and why does it matter?

Machine data is feedback that comes directly from the operational resource on the production floor. It is true, real-time data of run rates and cycle times that can provide exceptionally valuable information for companies where managing capacity is critical and actual costs need to be accurate.

At Visual South, we work with organizations that do a lot of tasks exceptionally well; however, many struggle with having accurate run rates. This not only affects estimated costs, but also makes it difficult to manage capacity and—more importantly—to have the highest levels of on-time delivery. Manufacturing organizations need to approach these issues by finding percentage point increases that gradually increase throughput, shorten lead times, and maximize production assets to their full capabilities.

How machine data can help

We recently spoke with Matt Bruner, an account executive at MachineMetrics, to get his insight on machine data. Matt comes from a manufacturing background and has a wealth of experience in environments where CNC machines, which are a great source of machine data, are prevalent.

Matt expressed that he “sees tremendous potential in bringing real-time data into an organization and it can have a dramatic impact.”

Matt laid out these top benefits of using machine data:

  • Improve operational visibility with finite information
  • Make quicker decisions using accurate, real-time data
  • Standardize cycle times
  • Remove guesswork or anecdotal assumptions
  • Better leverage the patented concurrent scheduler in Infor VISUAL ERP with accurate run rates and throughput rates

See Infor ERP VISUAL in action


For more information about how the team at MachineMetrics can help ERP users get accurate machine data, please check out Matt’s blog MachineMetrics & ERP and webinar Driving a Successful ERP Implementation with Machine Data. These resources can be helpful for Infor VISUAL manufacturing customers.

How to get machine data

There are various ways manufacturing organizations capture data. Some still record operation time using paper-based time sheets and then manually enter that information into the ERP system. This method is the least effective option due to non-real time data, estimated times, and variation from operator to operator.

The most common way manufacturers with modern ERP applications capture data is by having the operator clock in and out of jobs using barcodes. Additionally, Infor VISUAL ERP has one of the more advanced tools for the digital shop floor: VISUAL Shop Floor Mobile. With this tool, operators can clock in and out of jobs with mobile devices in a completely paperless fashion.

Going one step further, the team at MachineMetrics can provide an end-to-end solution for capturing data. They provide the hardware to connect to the production asset (where applicable), the Infor ERP integration, and the presentation of the machine data. And this can all be accomplished within a few weeks.

Measurable benefits from machine data

Bruner stated that many of their customers have seen a “10 to 15 percent improvement in production.” The new paradigm results in data viewed against the machine versus being operator-centric.

Matt reiterated that the machine data integration “really takes objectivity out of the equation.”  Leadership teams can focus on real-time information, as well as historical outputs, and base decisions on facts versus estimates.

Other benefits of machine data include gaining clarity on how machines are performing in real time. You can get alerts when rates fall below thresholds. You can also get notifications when a machine goes down—machine run rate degradation and breakdown can trigger maintenance personnel to either be proactive or react in a quicker fashion to ensure maximum uptime.


Ultimately machine data can lead to accurate run rates and cycle times, as well as the ability to better predict delivery dates, trust your costs, and better manage your capacity.

If you would like to learn more about ways that good data can improve your manufacturing operation (regardless of ERP application), please reach out for a free assessment. The team at Visual South will discuss options for improvement and address your business issues.

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Tim O'Brien

Written by Tim O'Brien

Tim has over 20 years of successful experience helping companies improve their processes and operations using enterprise software solutions. Those enterprise solutions include Enterprise Resource Planning for manufacturers, Service Management for service oriented companies, and Enterprise Asset Management in the process manufacturing industry.