by Kevin Jones, CEO/Founder, Ectobox  

I recently saw and shared a great quote on LinkedIn, “Bad data is about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.” I’m going to twist that quote a bit to say, “Bad tool choice is as useful as a screen door on a submarine.” This is just as true as the original version of the quote. Solutions like IIoT / Data Driven Manufacturing have a unique place in companies and provide a lot of value. That value comes from our solutions’ unique ability to pull data from machines on the plant floor, innately understand that data, add other contextual data to it, and make the data understandable and valuable to all users. We sometimes see manufacturers trying to use other products and they end up missing a lot of the benefits otherwise available.

ERP – ERP systems (enterprise resource planning) are great for planning for the future by evaluating what happened in the past. ERP systems don’t provide real-time analytics on manufacturing processes and machines on which you can take immediate action. They’re not great at providing immediate, actionable data on what’s going on now on the factory floor.

Business Intelligence – Many BI systems provide insights into processes and are very general products. However, these products falter because they aren’t built to work with machine data and manufacturing-specific processes. To adjust them to work in that way requires a very significant investment in additional time, people, and money to get the solutions to work optimally.

SCADA – SCADA systems (supervisory control and data acquisition) primary focus is controlling the manufacturing process and what shouldn’t happen in that process. They aren’t able to provide explanations of what’s right and wrong. Additionally, many of the SCADA systems are built on older technology and struggle to make data available to the wide audience required.

Can’t fault anyone for trying to save a few bucks and turn one tool into a Swiss Army knife. However, for the truly important aspects of a manufacturing business you need the specialized tools. A chef won’t use the blade nor a carpenter use the screwdriver on a Swiss Army knife to do their professional jobs. Neither should you if you can help it.

Side Note: NWIRC will offer a free webinar, IIoT Can Help You Successfully Reshore Production, featuring Kevin Jones of Ectobox, on September 10 from 11:00am-12:00pm. Find more details at


Original source: