Big Data & Analytics Heroes

Mattias Fritz Wermé

Business Engagement Liason, Scandinavian division of Swedish Match
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Mattias Fritz Wermé

"We are already realizing substantial cost savings at all of our factories through better management of our inventory."

Mattias Fritz Wermé, business engagement liaison, Scandinavian division of Swedish Match and this week's big data and analytics hero, discusses the challenges in the tobacco and match industry and how the company is using IBM Analytics solutions to keep up in a fiercely competitive market.

In your competitive market, how can enterprises obtain the low manufacturing costs required to protect profitability?

Swedish Match is a Swedish company that produces tobacco products, matches and lighters. Our company is spread all over the world in nine different countries, with six places where we do manufacturing.

One of the biggest challenges Swedish Match is facing is the fierce competition within the snus market. Snus is a tobacco product that you put in the upper lip, like your snuff here in the U.S. Over the last couple of years, a lot of different companies have tried to get into the market with low prices, and that is a big challenge for us. We are struggling to maintain market share. It has dropped over the last couple years, and we are trying hard to meet our competitors in different ways.

One way here is to actually implement a new maintenance system, focused on reducing operational spending. By focusing on achieving greater utilization of our extensive manufacturing capacity, we realized that we could drive significant savings. For this, we selected IBM Maximo Asset Management.

What is the importance of uptime in manufacturing? 

Swedish Match can now track and document maintenance more quickly and with greater accuracy, driving more efficient work management.

In the past, engineers wrote notes on paper and handed them over to their supervisors. With the IBM Maximo solution, engineers enter the time they spend on a maintenance task directly into the system, which offers us a near-real-time view of completed and in-process work.

Supervisors and managers are very happy with the new processes, because they can focus on planning and quality management. And because all of our data is in one place, our managers can analyze performance figures and deploy staff more efficiently. The result is faster maintenance and higher machine uptime.

How can a manufacturing company benefit from Maximo?

For a manufacturing company, the machines are really important for the whole company, and that means to have them up and running is really important. That’s where maintenance comes in. And having IBM Maximo, an industry-leading solution, now in place, we can make sure that the machines are running better and smoother than they were in the past, when we had the legacy systems. We can plan things ahead and make sure that things are in place as they are supposed to be.

How can analytics help you to better manage your inventory? Will this give you a competitive edge?

Swedish Match is currently moving from a reactive to a preventive maintenance model. With deeper insight into the precise amount of time and resources required to complete vital maintenance work, it is possible to shrink the quantity of components it carries in its inventory—increasing its working capital.

We are already realizing substantial cost savings at all of our factories through better management of our inventory, and we are confident that we can increase the savings we are achieving so far in the years to come.

Looking to the future, we see great potential for our integrated maintenance platform. IBM Maximo will enable us to use even more of our manufacturing capacity—a vital source of competitive advantage in the fast-moving consumer goods industry.

How will analytics and the Internet of Things drive smarter decision making?

With the Internet of Things at Swedish Match, we are looking into the possibilities of connecting the machines that we have on the shop floor to Maximo to capture data from the machines there and actually get them helping us in what we can do in the future when it comes to work orders and when we should do predictive maintenance and so forth. We can see that Internet of Things within Swedish Match will be something, in the future, that we actually can benefit from.