Imagine you were a CEO of a company with a production plant. You had a personal assistant named Max and Max was the most intelligent person you know; he never forgets and was able to perfectly memorize anything. He was always lurking around in the office, never in limelight but was always available whenever you needed him.
One day, as you got back to office after a performance review with the shareholders, you summoned Max into your room. “Production rate for our factory wasn’t looking good last year,” you said. “Show me production rate per month.”
Max complied and instantly produced a Yearly Production Output Graph. You took a quick glance and noticed an interesting pattern. Production output was nearly half of usual average for months April and May. You struggled to remember any incidents which may be the cause because as far you as know the plant had been operating at full capacity.
“May I show you some propositions for this case?” Max spoke quietly. Still in deep thoughts, you waved an approving gesture and Max got busy
“Here are a few possible correlations,” said Max after a few minutes.
“Manpower looks normal and we are fully staffed all year,” you said as you dismissed a yearly report on worker attendance. “Electricity Consumption is normal and so is Machine Uptime,” you muttered as you flipped off more reports.
The Maintenance Expenditure report caught your eye. There was a spike in April, nearly ten times the average. Somewhere inside the plant, someone has issued an emergency repair works on one of the machines. Expanding the Maintenance Expenditure report, you discovered that Ivan has authorized an emergency repair on boiler number 4. You requested for a Detailed Job Sheet of the repair works and Max complied within a second. You discovered a lizard has crawled into the boiler control panel and short circuited one of the variable speed drives. This repair work request was justified. The report also stated that the contractors were able to complete all repair works within two days.
The next report from Max was the Forex Report. There was a spike mirroring your production drop at the exact months but as far as you were concerned, Forex had no impact on your production rate. It turned out the production was unable to complete without a chemical catalyst but usually nobody paid any attention as the production only requires a meniscus amount of said catalyst. Furthermore, this catalyst was not available locally.
Sensing your thought process, Max produced a Raw Material Stock Level Report. Your jaw dropped as you realised the stock for this catalyst bottomed out one month before the production dip. “What are the purchasers doing?” you fumed. Max shrugged and produced a Procurement Report.
Studying the report, you realised that a purchase request has been made at the beginning of February to replenish it. Did the supplier failed to honour the delivery date? You prepared to write a complain email but Max produced yet another report titled Overseas Consignment Report. Your eyes moved to the comment section and there was a bold sentence:
SHIPMENT PENDING – WAITING FOR PAYMENT.
What does the story tell us? In the end, it appeared that the new hire in Finance has put a hold on the payment due to bad Forex. It turned out that a manpower reshuffle in HR caused a hiccup which started the chain of events leading to production drop. Without analytics, it would be hard to imagine a finance personal can cause a production drop in a plant located halfway across the country.
Unfortunately, as of today, Max (A smart robot powered by AI) hasn't existed yet but the all the aforementioned Reports are definitely possible. With Cloud analytics, our CEO was able to pinpoint a specific problem based on the amount of Big Data made possible with IoT devices installed in his plant. Cloud analytics work by collecting hardware and software information and rearranges them into easy to digest info-graphs and charts. They are available 24/7 and has helped thousands of CEOs across the world to enhance and empower business decisions.
Brought to you by Emax Cloud, a Big Data Analytics platform by Emax Control Sdn Bhd