Enterprise batch records and enterprise manufacturing intelligence

Enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) has its own benefits, but it’s most useful when used with the enterprise batch records, providing personnel with to access the data they need.

By John Clemons August 19, 2014

In past blog posts where I’ve talked about enterprise batch records, I’ve also mentioned the concept of enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) a couple of times. But, I noticed that I haven’t really spent that much time explaining EMI. So, I thought it would make sense to devote some time specifically to the idea of EMI.

But, a couple of background points first. EMI is really a lot of different things. And, different people call EMI by different names. The term EMI was only coined recently to try to describe this collection of stuff, and EMI probably isn’t even necessarily the name it might have long term. Five years from now we might be calling it something different, but the first point here is that EMI comprises a lot of different things.

But, before we don that, there’s one other background to make and that’s about the relationship between EMI and the enterprise batch records. EMI is worthless without data. EMI does nothing without data, but at the same time having a lot of data in the enterprise batch records that no one can see or use is just as worthless. So, the idea is that EMI uses the data in the enterprise batch records, and the enterprise batch records use EMI as a tool to let everyone get to the data that needs the data. So, what’s EMI?

EMI provides dashboards for the shop floor personnel. Dashboards have been around awhile and everyone pretty much knows what dashboards are all about. The idea with EMI is to provide real-time dashboards to the people on the shop floor so they can know what’s going, in real-time, and take action on that information. This is pretty simple, but it’s a fundamental part of EMI.

Beyond simple dashboards, EMI supports a wide variety of data analysis and reporting for the people on the shop floor. Sometimes, the operators on the shop floor need more than just the real-time data. They may need to analyze some of the data, drill-down on the data, or even get various reports on the data. EMI provides all of this to the operators on the shop floor.

EMI supports management by exception. This is another concept that may have different names but the concept is a familiar one. The operators or management only want to see the data that is outside of the normal range. If the data is all okay then they don’t need to see it. They don’t want to see hundreds of data items if its’ all normal. They want to see the data that is abnormal so they can investigate what happened, maybe do some additional testing or whatever, and otherwise deal with the exception. EMI helps establish these exceptions, provides them with the exceptions when they occur, and lets them get to the data underlying the exceptions so they can deal with the exception.

EMI also provides historical analysis and even supports links from the Enterprise batch records in corporate data warehouses and business intelligence. And, EMI can even provide management with business analytics, and that’s something that is still very rare for manufacturing management to have even today. The historical analysis allows for long-term analysis of the data and the identification of trends, changes, and correlations over time that are difficult if not impossible to see just looking at the real-time data.

EMI also provides support for root cause analysis and support for any and all continuous improvement programs and initiatives. Many continuous improvement initiatives take some time to evolve and to have the intended effect. EMI and the historical analysis capability allows the continuous improvement team to see the effects of the continuous improvement initiatives over time and actually see which initiatives are working and which ones aren’t working.

So, as you can see, there’s a lot to EMI. It’s very powerful and provides a lot of capabilities to the operators on the shop floor, to the plant management team, and to the entire manufacturing operations management team. It’s very valuable, but it’s only as valuable as the data it has to work with. And that’s where the enterprise batch records come in. The two were made to work with each other, and one without the other doesn’t make much sense and doesn’t do anyone much good.

So, that’s the story of enterprise manufacturing intelligence. Until next time, good luck and have fun!

This post was written by John Clemons. John is the Director of Manufacturing IT at MAVERICK Technologies, a leading automation solutions provider offering industrial automation, strategic manufacturing, and enterprise integration services for the process industries. MAVERICK delivers expertise and consulting in a wide variety of areas including industrial automation controls, distributed control systems, manufacturing execution systems, operational strategy, business process optimization and more. 

Author Bio: John Clemons (john.clemons@rockwellautomation.com) is a solutions consultant, LifecycleIQ Services at Rockwell Automation. He has been working in the field of manufacturing IT for more than 30 years.