Big Data & Analytics Heroes
Mirela Petca Matache
Mirela Petca Matache, IT director of maintenance and quality systems for Lafarge Cement Division and this week’s Big Data & Analytics Hero, tells us how Lafarge uses IBM Analytics solutions to take a predictive maintenance approach to manage costs.
What are some of the unique maintenance challenges Lafarge faces in the manufacturing industry?
In our plant environment for Cement Division we have kilns, quarries, equipment for the plant, burner—we have all kinds of equipment. Depending on the size of the plant, we may have 10,000 assets or 4,000 assets. These assets operate in a hot and dirty environment. Performing preventive maintenance on this equipment, we need to have business processes, best practices and a software that supports a delivery of these best practices in our plants.
How are you moving closer to your goal of reducing corrective maintenance to 5 percent using big data and analytics?
Users need intelligent ways to analyze data and easy ways to make decisions in real time, with clear key indicators and the flexibility to apply data without much IT involvement in generating various ad hoc reports. Users need to be able to analyze the data, slice it and dice it whichever way they want it. That’s why Cognos behind Maximo Asset Management is a very good solution for us, because we have the capability to slice and dice our data. We have the capability to run heavy reporting, which on a live database is usually unsuccessful and not even indicated when you have large historical data. It is also a powerful tool in regards to performance of storage of the information.
How are big data and analytics changing your business strategy?
Our projects are identical to those of any company that has been faced with an economical crisis: You have to go back and analyze what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong. We knew we are standardizing; we knew that we are sharing certain information; we knew that we lack on certain things, but we never quantified properly where we were lacking, nor did we make a decision on how to fix it. So this project has come from the business, but actually reflected into the decision of the CIO. It has come down as a task for everyone in Lafarge to deliver the new product, which is going to deliver for the business. We have started with groups of experts from the business—40, 50 experts on different topics that have evaluated the tools and the process entirely to advise upon how we can improve in the future.
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