Data silos and how they kill the efficiency of your extrusion production.

Efficiency in the nonwoven, sheet or film production has a significant impact on revenue and competitiveness. This is a fact everyone in the plastics extrusion industry agrees on. However, many manufacturers are still guessing how their extrusion business is performing instead of knowing for sure. They are sick of losing an edge on the competition without being able to pin down the reason. Some are struggling to meet their customers' demands for product quality, resulting in a loss of customer trust.

Companies lose inconceivable 20 to 30 percent in revenue every year due to inefficiency, reports the market research company IDC. Yet the problem does not arise in a lack of employee engagement or expertise. In fact, the root of the evil is the fact that data is stuck in isolated data silos, not allowing employees to see the big picture, let alone improve efficiency. But how do data silos arise in the first place?

The origin of data silos

A data silo is a dataset with restricted access, e.g., only from one department, one team, or locked into one application within the company. They arise in different ways and are not bad per se. In some industries, data silos are even necessary to ensure data protection or certain compliance guidelines. Such is the case in banking. From an organizational perspective, also in the extrusion industry data silos seem to be useful at the first glance: Each department focuses on the information that is necessary to achieve its specific goals. The quality department, for example, accumulates data allowing to prove quality compliance of the reels or handle customer complaints. Employees work in a kind of microcosmos and do not think about what information might be of interest to other departments when storing data. While this may seem efficient to a department, it actually slows down the overall business effectiveness.

Isolated machines and other bottlenecks

Another origin of data silos are machines that are not or not sufficiently connected. Often the operators read the data directly from the HMI and have to transfer it to a sheet before the information reaches the production management. This is a good example of why employees with exclusive access to information become so-called "bottlenecks". They determine and direct the flow of “their” data within the company. Additionally, the manual transfer of data from one system to the other frequently generates errors, in the worst case with the effect that nobody is able to reconstruct the correct data.

How data silos damage your extrusion business

It is difficult to determine the exact financial impact of data silos for extrusion companies. However, we would like to show you the extent to which data silos can waste your resources and reduce efficiency.

Lack of data transparency

Data silos prevent you from getting a complete overview of your processes. Without a 360-degree view of your extrusion production, you can't identify problems, let alone solve them and improve your OEE.

Waste of time

Isolated extrusion assets often lead to data being only visible at the HMI or exclusively accessible to certain departments. As a result, for example, machine operators have to run from HMI to HMI or wait for information from management.

Lack of cooperation

The blown film line is down. But instead of sharing data and ideas to find out why this is happening and how to avoid it in the future, the departments focus on their data. Blind data spots blot out the optimal solution.

Inaccurate work

The LDPE film recipe causes too many defects, too much waste. But where is the problem and which solution is the best? Employees lose a lot of time searching, because of missing data (access). The effect is guesswork instead of knowledge.

Poor decision-making

What is the best machine setup for the LDPE film? Last time setting X worked well. The production manager believes it will fit this time as well. But no matter if manager or operator: Without data-based proof, everyone struggles to make smart decisions.

Do you want to finally eliminate your data silos? Learn how to get transparency on your entire production, from the first to the last meter. Contact us and stay tuned.

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