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Production Data Collection (PDA): Definition, Characteristics, Goals

Definition and Objectives of a PDA System

Production data acquisition, abbreviated PDA, is the collection of data about processes in a company. It can be said that a PDA system aims to automatically collect production data that is generated during the processing of production orders and the associated operations. This involves organizational and technical data, which can mainly divide into the following groups: Order data, material data, work center data, personnel data, data on resources, or quality data. The data can either be recorded directly via the machine control system or in manual form, in which a worker transmits status or quantity messages to the PDA system via a terminal in production.

With the help of a PDA, transparency can be gained about quantities, qualities, and times of operational production processes. Besides, a simplification of the processing by automating the data acquisition is desired. Manual data acquisition should be replaced as far as possible. Thus, companies can sound out to what extent there is and can be used as the potential for optimizing their processes.

Using the PDA system, the recorded data can then be transferred to a PPS (production planning system) or ERP system (Enterprise Resource Planning). The bi-directional data transfer takes place in real-time and thus creates a valid and consistent data basis for all other production control systems. The accurate data from the PDA thus leads to more realistic target times, which has a tremendously positive effect on the planning of orders and resources. Also, the automation of the PDA should minimize the risk of errors. Last but not least, the automatic PDC also means a reduction in the workload of the employees, since no more notes have to be filled out and delivered by hand. The employees can concentrate more on their core tasks. Thus, the right PDC system forms the basis for the calculation of key figures such as OEE and a multitude of evaluations that can be used to optimize the production process.

Characteristics of a PDA System

A modern PDA system should have specific characteristics to ensure optimal efficiency.

Ease of Use

The usability or user-friendliness of the PDA system is decisive for the acceptance by the user. If the BDE system is intuitive to use, it can support the user in his work in an optimal way. This ensures that the data is correct and forms a valid basis.


Another essential characteristic is the up-to-dateness of technology. Otherwise, every expansion becomes a risk. Unfortunately, as every smartphone user knows, technology becomes obsolete very quickly. Thus, even BDE systems that were modern a few years ago are already very outdated today. Today’s systems must be web-based and controllable from any end device. At the same time, they have to offer high performance to handle any data volume.


The PDA system must guarantee a fast and smooth implementation to avoid delays and additional costs.


A sound system must, above all, be able to collect a wealth of data. Therefore, error-free data acquisition is the most critical feature. The system may need to collect data on material usage, quality controls, complaints, and many other factors. Therefore, it must be ensured that it can cope with current and future requirements. The PDA system must guarantee a fast and smooth implementation to avoid delays and additional costs.


Data collection must be compatible with existing business systems. This is because a lack of interoperability with ERP systems or other IT systems that should have access to the data poses a significant risk to future security.


About the author

With a global mindset and entrepreneurial spirit, Sandy Abraham works with and across the organization to execute on integrated marketing programs and to initiate compelling new operational models. Sandy loves pugs, travel, automotive engineering, the aerospace industry, and smart design.



Sandy Abraham

Marketing & Brand Management
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