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The EMI Department of Redundancy Department

Forty-three years ago the Firesign Theatre introduced the Department of Redundancy Department to the world. In recent years some quality systems vendors have introduced the same in their approach to delivering enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) with their data-duplication requirement to solve the data integration challenge.

Everyone understands the key to improving performance and reducing costs are data integration and analytics as the foundation of enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) and effective company-wide decision support.

The EMI goal is to access all pertinent data in real-time, apply analytics and distribute the results as decision support to everyone involved with process operations and management.

A major EMI task is integrating data from every system that interacts with manufacturing processes and applies analytics. This includes control systems, historians, LIMS, MOM and ERP.

One of the key questions manufacturers must ask when evaluating potential EMI solutions is: Should I be required to duplicate data I already have stored in existing systems, or would I rather access it directly where it resides?

Most vendors’ EMI solutions require their customers to create a redundant database (and complete duplication of data being stored in existing databases) in order to “integrate” data from disparate manufacturing systems. Setting aside the unnecessary expense and overhead involved, this approach seriously threatens data integrity which, in turn, seriously threatens the accuracy and value of the “intelligence”.   

State–of-the-art EMI integrates data in real time across all the databases involved by accessing the data directly where it resides. Not only does this guarantee the most current data and preserve data integrity, it substantially reduces IT and management overhead and the chances for error.

The Department of Redundancy Department and Redundant Databases. One has become a delightful meme and the other unnecessary overhead and a threat to data integrity. The wise EMI practitioner knows which is which.