The Festo product portfolio is huge: there are over 30,000 catalogue products, some of which are available in millions of variants, as well as customised products. With such variety it is not easy to keep an overview of all the relevant product details and to evaluate these – a classic problem of large amounts of data, also called ‘big data’. Help can be provided here in the form of software tools, which turn ‘big data’ into ‘smart data’.
Comparing and evaluating data is often time-consuming manual work, especially when it comes from different sources. In order to create usable results, the data must be fully recorded and put into a uniform format. Even simply collecting data in table form can drag on for days. Only once all the information has been acquired and transferred into a spreadsheet program can it be compared with target values and added to if need be. After that, however, the actual work only starts with the evaluation and analysis of the data.
Automating analysis processes
Software tools like the one created by the start-up company Soley can help to perform data networking and analysis processes quickly and in an automated manner. Data can be imported from databases as well as your own lists and both can also be combined if necessary. The software automatically brings the different elements from the tables together according to logic established by you and with which our colleagues have also worked on manually beforehand. You can thus analyse your data much faster and with considerably less effort than by hand.
Effort: ten minutes instead of four days
The tremendous time saving becomes clear using the example of products that are taken out of the range. For this task Festo uses the tool from Soley. As nearly every product is made up of a wide range of different components, it is important to check which components are no longer required once the product expires, and which continue to be fitted into other products. One person used to take around four days to do this, as they had to compare all sorts of lists with product data by hand. This process only takes approximately ten minutes using the tool. In the case of repeat analysis processes, it is therefore worthwhile considering whether it would not be simpler with a solution like Soley.
Evaluation according to user logic
For the evaluation, the programmer must first ‘teach’ the software tool the method and logic with which the user previously arrived at the evaluation of their data. With some time spent on programming, corresponding interfaces to the required data sources can then be implemented and the user’s logic digitised. After that, a press of a button suffices and the available data is evaluated by the software in minutes, just like the user would also do by hand – fully in keeping with ‘smart data’.