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Unlocking Data With Digital Manufacturing Solutions in the Medtech Industry

Two engineers use manufacturing data analysis software and access medical device data analytics.

Data is a central part of the digital transformation in medical device and diagnostics manufacturing. Yet as manufacturers wrangle already-vast, fast-growing amounts of data being generated in production and other areas, teams often turn to spreadsheets or standalone systems because they don’t have readily available and centralized data.

According to one recent study, 62% of manufacturing executives surveyed said their organization uses pen and paper to track vital manufacturing steps, while 50% reported using spreadsheets or a computer on wheels.1 In another, 83% of frontline manufacturing workers in the U.S. reported still using paper to follow work instructions or track their work.2

This means important data remains siloed due to digital gaps between paper or disconnected systems. Spreadsheets, scanned documents, and standalone systems may have served manufacturers adequately in the past, but they are no longer sufficient, stifling access to and analysis of the data and the intelligence that data could provide.

Manufacturers are now taking steps to create digital connections between different data sources to close these offline data gaps and leverage better medical device data analytics. In a 2022 survey of medtech and other life sciences manufacturing executives from MasterControl, executives and managers cited improving data visibility to drive decision-making and gaining real-time data tracking as key reasons to digitize their manufacturing environments, respectively.3

3 Ways to Improve Data Management with a Digital Manufacturing Solution

In a new brief exploring medical device industry trends, MasterControl highlights three steps that medtech manufacturers can take to reshape their operations and achieve manufacturing excellence using digital manufacturing solutions.

  1. Error-Proof Data Entry

  2. Digital manufacturing solutions should eliminate data-entry errors by making it impossible to make them in the first place. A modern manufacturing execution system (MES) solution like MasterControl’s can enable right-first-time (RFT) production every time. With MasterControl Manufacturing Excellence, automated data integrity checks and error-proofing features that reduce mismarked, illegible, or missing information on digitally integrated electronic device history records (eDHRs) ensure data is entered completely and correctly. The MES solution enforces out-of-specification and nonconformance limits, controls, and thresholds with integrated, data-driven prompts and notifies operators of all open deviations and corrective actions/preventive actions (CAPAs).

  3. Embrace a Platform Approach

  4. Integrated, cloud-based platforms have become the most reliable means of breaking down information silos and providing visibility and access to important metrics. A light MES like Manufacturing Excellence enables broad integrations with core information applications in the manufacturing IT ecosystem – such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and material requirements planning (MRP) – for a more complete view of the data within the business. By integrating the disparate enterprise applications with a fully digital manufacturing solution with eDHR, and capitalizing on platform dynamics, medtech manufacturers can capture and share real-time production data across systems and departments seamlessly.

  5. Simplify Data Analysis and Reporting

  6. A fully connected and intelligent digital manufacturing solution like MasterControl’s provides real-time data access and analytics tools needed to contextualize data, make informed decisions, and deliver significant quality and productivity improvements. Manufacturing Excellence includes cross-platform data insights, a prebuilt interactive dashboard library, user-friendly data exploration and visualization, and robust data sharing and scheduled reporting. With improved access to shop floor data that is fully digitized, medtech manufacturers can glean real-time insights, better understand how their shop floor is working, identify bottlenecks, and make actionable, data-driven product- and process-related decisions.

To learn more about medical device industry trends driving medtech organizations to modernize their operations through digital manufacturing excellence, download “2023 Medical Device Manufacturing Trends.”



David Butcher has covered business and technology trends in life sciences and industrial manufacturing for more than 15 years. Currently a content marketing specialist at MasterControl, he previously served as editor of Thomas Publishing’s Industry Market Trends and as assistant editor for Technology Marketing Corp.’s Customer Interaction Solutions. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the State University of New York, Purchase.

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