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You need a data detective!

Data isn’t helpful unless we know what we are measuring.

Tim Harford has recently released a fantastically insightful book called “The Data Detective: Ten Easy Rules to Make Sense of Statistics”. It is statistics and sociology all mashed together by an economist with a talent for writing engaging books. I highly recommend it.

Let me see if this picture paints a familiar scene: You are a manufacturing engineer challenged with keeping your machines up so that production can meet their numbers. Your QC department is taking their measurements as they should. Your Cpk is running greater than 1.33. You even know that your uptime is within your KPI metric requirement of 95%. There isn’t any low hanging fruit to be gained here. Or is there? How do you know? What are you “really” measuring? What trends are you missing? Rather than what this mound of data is telling you, what is it “not” telling you? You know there’s something there. You just can’t find it with your spreadsheets and Arduino counters.

What if within this metadata, analysis could be done that discovers a 2% increase in uptime can be gained? What if you can prove that the break time and lunch time shutdown causes temperature fluctuations that affect output until stasis is regained? What if the data shows that something odd is going on at 3am on third shift every time a particular operator is signed on to operate the machine? What if you could track scrap down to a particular machine at a particular hour of a particular shift? What if a deployment integrator could show “you” how to do this on your own? Big huh?

 Your process desperately needs a data detective not just a SCADA package! You need a solution not just software.

We here at Integrated Control Systems Inc are here to be your “data detective”. We are a certified Inductive Automation Ignition® integrator and have been designing and deploying world-class Manufacturing Execution Systems since 1994. Find us on the web at

Photo Credit:

Eric E. Gardner, Business Development Manager, Integrated Control Systems, Inc.