The international company in chemical industry specializing in engineering and production of high quality materials such as plastics, nylons and petrochemical products generates a lot of technical and measurements data related to its products, which is continuously compared with market regulations and specifications defined by its clients. This process is done mainly manually, time consuming, prone to errors and involves different business units.
During engineering and production process each material is examined in the laboratories and described by technical data sheet (TDS). Depending on materials, the technical parameter structure and measurement protocols were different and verification of chemical data was done manually.
Complex excel spreadsheets were shared between the Sales department, R&D department and Laboratories and used to find or develop product meeting specific internal customer standards or/and certain market standards (e.g. ISO). This process was extremely time consuming and prone to errors. Because of that quoting process was too long and confusing for clients.
The main goal was to design a Chemical data management system (CDMS) that would gather, store and share information about chemical products, laboratory measurements and market standards. As well as allow for mapping all relevant data to automate the work of involved departments.
Additionally, it was expected to automate generation of technical data sheets (TDS) and made them available for clients through company’s web page.The company expected a CDMS software, for which the substantial part consisted of complex search modules, product and laboratory measurement data management, dynamic generation of technical data sheets (TDS).
Finally, the system should be integrated with the laboratory workflow. In order to analyze and present data from other, external sources, it was also necessary to secure data integration with external systems (e.g. CAMPUS®).
Taking into consideration the complexity of data, it was crucial to perform the feasibility study and based on the results, design the adequate solution which included:
- design of system architecture having regard to company’s existing IT environment and security;
- unifying technical parameters into consistent, reusable vocabulary;
- mapping of customer standards with technical parameters vocabulary;
- importing market standards into the system;
- importing existing product database into the system from existing Excel files;
- importing laboratory measurement data into the system from the files.
The system included advanced Product Management System (PIM) with dedicated Laboratory Data Management (LDM) module and allowed for data creation and efficient management of all types of data related to chemical materials including marketing, technical, chemical regulations and measurements information.
The system supported the business flows of company supporting the efficient collaboration of different business units and stakeholders.
The advanced product search, product technical parameters mapping (clients’ requirements, market standards, technical data, measurements) and automatic generation of technical data sheets (TDS) increased the work efficiency and reduced pre sales, sales and after sales processes significantly.
In order to analyze the company’s products against its competitors, the CDMS software allowed for importing data from external systems (e.g. CAMPUS®) and supported advanced search, products, and data comparison and visualization.
Moreover, the system allowed for continuous monitoring of production quality and comparing results with customer’s requirements. It supported quality issues identification and eliminated problems with low-quality batches.
As the analytical and data processing needs of company were very high, the system had advanced application programing interface (API) which allowed for easy integration with external tools and databases (e.g. Microsoft Power BI®, QlikView®). Thanks to that, the company could use any possessed product data in any future applications.
The main aim of the product data management system for chemical materials, laboratory measurements, and market standards were to create one single, consistent, and trusted source of any product-related information.
Having a coherent and well-structured database, it was easy to address the specific requirements of chemical companies like continuous multidimensional benchmark its products against the market and/or customers’ internal standards.
With the designed system, the specific data consumption needs like advanced product search and comparison, technical data sheets (TDS) generation were automated increasing internal processes efficiency and creating a solid data management platform for true collaboration of different business units.