Start Your Analytics Investment with a Site Assessment

An Analytics Investment

There are numerous options when it comes to technology and tools for evaluating and reporting data. Analytics, dashboards, data mining, and machine learning are emerging buzzwords throughout the manufacturing industry. Without some guidance, it’s easy to be inundated with sales calls, articles, and reviews. Each making claims of delivering great value and return. At Interstates Control Systems, Inc. (ICSI), we partner with clients during the process of an analytics investment. One recent example of this partnership is our site assessment of a chemical manufacturing client.

ICSI worked with the client to assess the current state of their operations technology and provide guidance for updates to be made over the next 3-7 years, as well as quick wins to implement sooner. The site was reviewed area by area with a guided tour. Personnel were interviewed at various levels of the operation to understand process flow, known issues, and bottlenecks. Particular attention was paid to the flow of data, how data passes between various systems, and how data gets tracked. This assessment allowed the customer to get an objective view of their plant’s operations relative to industry standards, and it provided a long-term roadmap for projects.

Utilizing Analytics

The customer was facing growth in demand while working with outdated and difficult-to-maintain control systems. They knew updates would be necessary in order to scale up production. The site assessment allowed the customer to become educated about how their plant could utilize analytics. It also helped ICSI to learn about their production process and provided a path forward after the assessment. ICSI’s technology and data assessment identified outdated components and practices and provided guidance for plant improvements. With a wealth of experience as a systems integrator, ICSI also laid out strengths and weaknesses of various software packages and how to prioritize updates. The recommendations provided will help reduce costly mistakes and provide alignment on upgrades to avoid rework or incompatible systems.

If you are exploring analytics solutions and have more questions than answers, look for a vendor that is willing to invest the time in learning about your company’s goals and operations. With more and more solutions coming out every year, and with analytics expenses being harder to justify compared to traditional investments, partnering with an engaged vendor eases some of the uncertainty. Managing your data and enabling it to provide insights can transform your decision making.

 Dan Riley, Interstates Division Manager