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3 Steps to Operational Enlightenment – Evolution from Data to Wisdom

Recently, Dr. Lloyd Colegrove, Director of Fundamental Problem Solving, Dow Chemical, joined us for a web-based discussion, “Maximizing the Value of Process Data – How Dow Implemented EMI”. During our conversation he outlined the three evolutionary steps he observed as Dow developed more sophistication using process based analytics:

  • From Data comes Information
  • From Information comes Knowledge
  • From Knowledge comes Wisdom

This parallels the NWA experience with the evolution of our products and how people have used them to manage their processes.

From Data Comes Information– Usually the initial application begins with the quality department using SPC software and a quality information system. Data collection and analysis is primarily a departmental function. The objective is to monitor and maintain quality and yield and, if the company is leading edge, to incorporate continuous process improvement. Typically, there is little enterprise-wide view of the process and limited impact on management decision making.

From Information Comes Knowledge– The next evolutionary step produces Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence (EMI), which processes the information contained in the full range of manufacturing and operational databases to deliver real-time role specific decision support to everyone in the company. Not only does this expand the scope of applying process analytics, it forever qualitatively changes the way operations and management view manufacturing and operational processes.

From Knowledge Comes Wisdom– The ultimate step in enlightened process management involves collecting and organizing problem solving successes so we don’t repeat operational mistakes. By pushing the process management envelope we transcend space and time to bring together our best and most experienced minds to develop additional solutions. This next generation EMI capability involves creating a searchable knowledgebase and multimedia collaborative software that supports both real-time and asynchronous web-based communication. 

It’s a long journey, but if we want to reach world class manufacturing, we have to take the trip. From slithering out of the primordial ooze to walking into the conference room, we all join the evolutionary process to state of the art manufacturing decision making and process management.