“Data Driven Decision Making (DDDM)” - Your Path to Business Success in Die-Casting
1/24/2023 Experts Know-how

“Data Driven Decision Making (DDDM)” - Your Path to Business Success in Die-Casting

Getting accurate and comparable data is key to build an INDUSTRY 4.0 strategy for High Pressure Die Casting (HPDC), but actually, any casting process.

Foundry 4.0 - From dirty, dangerous, difficult to digital, dynamic, different

Introduction

Undeniably, the INDUSTRY 4.0 revolution is reaching every industrial sector and any type of aluminum foundries could not be less. Gaining control over foundry processes, being able to ensure the final quality of the components by solving production problems in real time or developing lean and energetically efficient processes are the ideal goals of any casting operation.

Also, to standardize knowledge about its own processes, usually dispersed among diverse figures and machinery, to keep it inside the organization is a very attractive aim for any type of foundry. But some factors especially regarding HPDC processes, such as the limited amount of well-trained foundrymen, the harsh process conditions given inside the cavity (high pressure / high temperatures and high melt speed, aggressive mold-melt reaction, etc.) as well as other conditions like the spraying make it difficult to capture and analyze process data for further exploitation.

In that scenario, the closest many aluminum foundries find themselves from jumping into INDUSTRY 4.0 is limited to process control data facilitated by industrial equipment that, even though one could think that suppose a solid and robust starting point, is far from reality. It is common that equipment from diverse brands provide different kinds of data and ratios; this also happens among different generations of machinery from the same brand. In addition, it is usual that data cannot be extracted from the cell or that there is no way to accede to a historic data storage.

Then, as a starting point, the problem is not that the aluminum foundry has no data to begin with, it is even worse: aluminum foundries find themselves in front of incoherent and non-comparable data. Data that cannot be centralized and, of course, data that might not give relevant information about the aspects wanting to monitor and / or to improve. All these aspects are fundamental, not only to approach an INDUSTRY 4.0 strategy, but also to analyze any production problem or process failure or incoherency.

Concluding, being able to obtain reliable, accurate and standardized process data seems to be a necessary starting point to develop an INDUSTRY 4.0 - HPDC strategy. 

But, where to begin?

Abstract

We read about it everywhere. The term ‘big data’ alone has become something of a buzzword in recent times – and for good reason. By leveraging the wealth of digital insights available at your fingertips and embracing the power of business intelligence (BI = Level 5), you can make informed decisions with confidence - the kind that will lead to commercial growth, evolution, and a healthier bottom lines. By implementing the right reporting tools and understanding how to analyse as well as to measure your data accurately, you will be able to make the kind of data driven decision making that will drive your casting business forward. Of course, this sounds incredible in theory!

But in practice, even IF you have access to the world’s greatest data from your casting factory, it’s possible to make decisions that disregard tangible insight, going with your gut instead. In most cases, this can prove detrimental to the business. While many (die-casting) foundries have already some kind of “system” in place, the majority drive with manual means, use paper and pencil to obtain data and are in reality very far away from any INDUSTRY 4.0 level. 

 

DATA DRIVEN DECISION MAKING

While sometimes it’s okay to follow your instincts, the vast majority of your casting business-based decisions should be backed by razor-sharp metrics, facts, figures, or insights related to your aims, goals, or initiatives that can ensure a stable backbone to your management reports and business operations. Casting data-based decision making will propel your business to new heights while making it more adaptable to an ever-changing commercial landscape. It should be at the heart of all of your strategies, activities, and operations.

Unfortunately, many casting operations – although they have a corporate software platform - rely heavily on Excel based manufacturing execution as well as production planning and controlling. In this way data-driven-decision making is virtually impossible as the operations are not working in an integrated way.

To help you on your quest towards analytical enlightenment, we’re going to explore data driven decision making concepts, study the importance of data driven decision making, consider the benefits of developing a data driven culture, and examine some real-world examples of casting companies turning insight into business-boosting action. 

 

Why Data Driven Decision Making Is Important In Casting Operations?

Data based decision making provides die-casting businesses with the capabilities to generate real time insights and predictions to optimize their performance. Like this, they can test the success of different product and process strategies and make informed business decisions for sustainable growth. There are a wealth of reasons that using data to make decisions is a pursuit every modern die casting business should place at the heart of their culture - and we’re going to explore the main points of importance as they are:

  • Continual organizational growth
  • Knowledge & Innovation
  • New business opportunities
  • Better communication
  • Unrivaled adaptability

In casting operations, data driven decision making tools will allow you to connect with casting business’s emerging trends and patterns that concern not only your internal activities but the casting industry around you. If you can understand these trends or patterns on a deeper level, you can make informed decisions that will ensure you remain competitive, relevant, and profitable at all times. One MAIN example is the EV (electric vehicle) trend which came upon the industry like no other. Here we see of course technical changes in terms casting performance like one huge part replacing a few small ones in chassis, but more important we look at integrated data collection allowing various technology and productivity advances. 

The EUROGUSS 365 Newsletter

Don't miss our best content and news around the die casting industry!

Sign up for the newsletter now for free.

THE 5 PRACTICAL TIPS FROM INDIAN (M)-SME DIE-CASTING FOUNDRIES

Now that you understand the importance of data-centric decision making for die casting operations, here are 5 practical tips from (M)-SME Indian die-casting foundries and takeaways for better data-based decision making in casting business.

The 5 India participants in this information exchange are in no particular sequence of order as follows: Dolphin Die-Casting, Spectrum Tool Engineers, SCL / TVS, Alicon and Dimo Die-Castings. They contributed in this exchange during the recently held in-person seminar in Bangalore hosted by ILZDA / DCSI via a small survey and sideline discussion.

 

1) Define objectives

 

To get the most out of your casting data teams, casting companies should define their objectives before beginning their analysis. Set a strategy to avoid following the hype instead of the needs of your casting business and define clear Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Although there are various KPI examples you could choose from, don't overdo it and concentrate on the most important ones within your casting industry. Btw, it is interesting to note that while some KPI’s for some may not be the same for others.

 

2) Clean and organize your data effectively in an integrated system environment

 

When it comes to data analytics (no matter which industry we talk but very much for casting operations), a fair share of an analyst's time is dedicated to cleaning and organizing the information to make sure that any wrongly formatted data is out before the analysis begins. This is a critical process to perform as the results of your analysis are the basis for a successful data driven strategy and your data needs to be a hundred percent accurate. In simple terms you must have a single source of truth. If you rely on MS Excel you may find very quickly inconsistencies and non-transparencies because it is easy to manipulate and easy to change and amend with no control on who changed and who reported the change. 

With seemingly infinite strings or sets of data to work with, drilling down into the most relevant, valuable insights is the only way to gain clarity and make better decisions.

That said, once you’ve gathered your data from your most relevant sources, taking the time to mine for the most business-boosting insights will ensure you can squeeze every last drop of value from your analytical efforts.

When you’re cleaning and organizing your casting and production data, you should focus on insights that are:

  • Outdated or irrelevant to your specific goals & outcomes (erase)
  • Need to be formatted and categorized (arrange)
  • Duplicated & creating confusion (erase & arrange)

Streamline the data you’ve gathered, note your most valuable sources, categorize your cleaned data logically - and you will be on the right path to data-driven success.

 

3) Analyse and understand

 

That may seem obvious, but we have to mention it: after setting the frame of all the questions to answer and the data collection, you then need to read through it to extract meaningful insights and analytical reports that will lead you to make data driven business decisions. In fact, user feedback is a useful tool for carrying out more in-depth analyses into the customer experience and extracting actionable insights. To do this successfully, it’s important to have context. For example, if you want to improve conversions in the purchasing funnel, understanding why visitors are dropping off is going to be a critical insight. By analysing the responses in the open comments of your feedback form (within this funnel), you will be able to see why they’re not successful in the checkout and optimize your website accordingly.

 

4) Present the data in a meaningful way

 

Digging and gleaning insights is nice, but managing to tell your discoveries and convey your message is better. You have to make sure that your acumen doesn’t remain untapped and dusty, and that it will be used for future decision making. With the help of a great data visualization software, you don’t need to be an IT crack to build and customize a powerful online dashboard that will tell your data story and assist you, your team, and your management to make the right data driven business decisions.

For example, you need to have your finances under control at all costs and we presented on Cost to Cast and Actual Base Cost separately. In addition, the most important shop floor data is coming from the Sew (Sequence of Work) inventory inside the production area.
Having here a 100% transparency and knowing precisely how many casting pieces in units / tonnage and volume are lying around on the shopfloor will lead directly to productivity gains and cost savings. Some casting companies we discussed with reported improvements via using an integrated manufacturing execution system (MES = Level 3) of INR 60 Laks and more in one year.  

THAT IS direct money into the pocket of the company, freeing up resources and leading to extensive capital improvement.

The pinnacle of data visualisation and data dashboarding is the implementation of a MCT – Manufacturing Control Tower. In India very few have such instrument but increasingly looking into the feasibility to establishing one. A MCT combines all aspects of production – productivity and cost control in one room providing manufacturing insights very few have and most want.

 

5) Invest into the right data-based decision making tools for improved die casting operations

 

When it comes to business analytics for data driven decisions, if you want to realize your goals and make consistently informed decisions, working with the right tools is essential.

We touched on the value of AI technologies - and expanding on that point (as well as the importance of setting measurable goals), working with the right tools will make data accessible to everyone. By gaining access to a centralized dashboard that offers a wealth of digestible data-driven insight, everyone in the business will thrive, resulting in consistent growth, innovation, and profitability. These self-service analytics tools will enable everyone within the business to work with data without prior technical skills - and when everyone can leverage data to their advantage, your business will thrive.

 

Key Takeaways For Efficient Data Based Decisions

We’ve explored several compelling examples of data driven decision making, and there’s no denying it – by harnessing data in the right way and measuring your success, you stand to propel your casting business to new and exciting heights.

 

This paper is based on a presentation by Christian Kleeberg held at ALUCAST 2022.

 

References:

1) Various RGU publications on Digital Transformation of Metal Casting Operations.
2) Cost to Cast as well as Know You Actual Base Cost (ABC).
3) The 10 Misconceptions when it comes to Digitalisation of Metal Casting Operations

Contact the Authors

Mr Dileep Yadav – Vadodara, Gujarat, India; Email: dy@frpconsulting.in

Mr Christian Kleeberg – Singapore; Email: ck@rgu-asia.com

Authors

Dileep Yadav

Dileep Yadav

FRPCON Vadodara

Christian Kleeberg

Christian Kleeberg

RGU Asia Pte Ltd