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The Next Generation of digital for manufacturers

Let’s champion the digital with our next generation of manufacturers with the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre

Data is pretty awesome. There’s so much insight to be gained, especially in data-centric industries like manufacturing – ways to reach KPIs more efficiently, improve productivity, decrease wastage and lower costs.

Yet most people don’t know how to collect data in the first place, let alone use it!


The Company

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) provides world-class research and innovation to manufacturing companies looking to transform their industrial and economic performance.

AMRC NextGen is a collaborative initiative which aims “to embed low-cost digital technologies in manufacturing companies across South Yorkshire and Wales, whilst also helping to develop our digitally savvy engineers of the future.”

Next generation dashboard graphic


The Challenge

If you want to unlock the power of data for the manufacturing industry, you first need to understand what the companies within it might find useful for business performance, future development and innovation.

AMRC brought Razor in to do just that.

Why not use your digital footprint to make your business better?


The Solution

The solution was a two part process. We needed to:

  1. Consult with five AMRC NextGen clients to understand their current data systems (e.g. how they’re using it, what they’re collecting) common pain points and the potential opportunities that innovative and creative digital data practices could bring to their organisations. 

  2. Design and develop a real-time informatics dashboard to use at conferences and trade shows that centralises data and events across participating companies.

Next generation dashboard graphic with reach visualised on a map


The Process

We kicked off the project with a Razor ‘Discovery’ to understand the needs of the NextGen initiative and DataCloud system – their aims, objectives and overview of ‘what success looks like’.

We then conducted 'Razor Rapid Insight'  Workshops for five of the NextGen participants to identify the areas where they see opportunities to understand their business, their operations and their manufacturing systems through data. We worked with them to establish their:

  • Key objectives and desires for digital manufacturing

  • Digital maturity

  • Current software systems

  • Key pain points

  • Key opportunities

Next generation dashboard graphic in context on ultra wide monitors


The Result

We consolidated all the findings, learnings and conclusions into a single report. Here’s a taster of what we found…

Key objectives:

  • A desire to drive innovation and competitiveness via digital technology.

  • Collaborate, learn and benchmark against other companies.

  • Upskill and educate employees.

Key pain points:

  • The ability to understand and utilise data.

  • Difficulties in accessing datasets, visualisation and insights.

Key areas for improvement:

  • Process monitoring.

  • Visualisation and reporting.

  • Data pipelines and warehousing to bring all the data together into one place.

Now that the AMRC had a clear overview of their NextGen objectives, we were able to build the dashboards.

The dashboards present data from machines drawing live and average utilisation of factories. The clean design of the dashboard allows the AMRC team to examine the data coming in from several factories across the country in one place. 

Now the dashboards have pride of place on screens inside Factory 2050 to showcase how factories can improve efficiency, save money, and track staff training in an easy to read visual format.

Here’s proof that data can be both informative and visually captivating!

Dr. Jon Stammers

Dr. Jon Stammers

Theme Lead - Data, Connectivity & AI

"Unlocking data has the power to revolutionise the manufacturing industry. With Razor's expertise and the dashboards they developed, we are able to visualise operations from a number of sites across the UK all in one place, showcasing how this visual data can help make the industry more efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable. The future of manufacturing is digital, and we're proud to champion it with Razor."

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What we think



The Discovery process provides exactly what is missing; focus and understanding right at the start. Read more to find out what Razor brings to a Discovery!

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Rapid Insight Discovery

Rapid Insight Discovery

If you don't know how to achieve a high level business objective or vision, the Razor Rapid Insight process gets you answers fast. Read on to learn more today!

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