How Caterpillar uses Big Data in practice
James Stascavage, intelligence technology manager at Caterpillar Marine told me, “Often times when people look at data, they’re looking for the ‘grand slam’ – one thing that’s going to save them tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. In reality, it’s the small improvements that can add up to big dollar savings across many vessels.”
In one example, Caterpillar Marine looked at optimising hull cleaning. As a ship sails, inevitably its hull becomes contaminated with corrosion from salt water and rough seas, and befouled by barnacles, seaweed and other ocean life.
One customer knew that this was impacting the performance of their fleet but had no way of knowing its actual impact, or how efficiently they were spending their nearly $20,000 per year hull cleaning budget. Data collected from ship-board sensors as the fleet performed manoeuvres under a variety of circumstances and conditions – cleaned and uncleaned – was used to identify the correlation between the amount of money spent on cleaning and performance improvements.
Stascavage said, “When we looked at their fuel consumption, our recommendation was they should be doing the cleaning a lot more frequently – an interval of around 6.2 months as opposed to every two years. They knew that more frequent cleaning would, say, quadruple the cost of their hull cleaning, but what they never knew was the cost of not doing the cleaning.”
In this case, the analytics showed that, across the customer’s fleet of eight ships, inefficiencies due to dirty hulls were costing up to $5 million every year – and by switching to an optimised cleaning schedule they could expect to save up to $400,000 per ship.
The technical details
Caterpillar’s Asset Intelligence platform is built on Pentaho’s data integration and analytics platform.
Ideas and insights you can steal
The Internet of Things, particularly sensor technology, is increasingly making it easier to drive positive growth and increase efficiency in any area of business that involves machinery or equipment – whether it’s a delivery truck, a shipping vessel, a refrigerator, or a piece of manufacturing equipment. And, as this example shows, that can lead to a significant positive impact on bottom line profitability.
You can read more about how companies are using Big Data to drive success in Big Data in Practice: How 45 Successful Companies Used Big Data Analytics to Deliver Extraordinary Results.
Bernard Marr is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, and advisor to companies and governments. He has worked with and advised many of the world's best-known organisations. LinkedIn has recently ranked Bernard as one of the top 10 Business Influencers in the world (in fact, No 5 - just behind Bill Gates and Richard Branson). He writes on the topics of intelligent business performance for various publications including Forbes, HuffPost, and LinkedIn Pulse. His blogs and SlideShare presentation have millions of readers.