Tai Sin Electric gains valuable business intelligence from data visualization with Qlik


Tai Sin Electric Ltd (TSE) is a Singapore-based business that manufactures and supplies a comprehensive range of high-quality cables through a distribution network serving diverse markets across the Southeast Asia region. The company was founded in 1980, is traded on the Main Board of the Singapore Stock Exchange (SESDAQ), and currently employs 300 + people across its 3 manufacturing plants in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. Its product catalog includes power, control and instrumentation cables and wires, fire-resistant and flame-retardant cables and wires, offshore and marine cables, and customized cables. TSE has used Iptor solutions to manage its back office functions and manufacturing operations since 2001, when they adopted Iptor’s Enterprise ERP system.

As the company expanded and diversified, the need for a more customized reporting system arose, leading TSE to install the DC1 ERP report generator in 2006. This capability was integrated with a data-gathering system that monitored machine activity across the manufacturing footprint. The reporting panels were implemented in 2016 when IoT and industry 4.0 was starting to pick up. The improved insights into plant productivity and performance instigated a desire for even greater visualization and detail.

By 2014, a solution emerged. Qlik, a user-driven business discovery platform designed to make data actionable, became part of the Iptor DC1 Suite. By 2017, TSE adopted the solution to enhance their business intelligence and, over the next two years, TSE’s engineers experimented with the tool to find an optimal presentation of data.

The Challenge

Since TSE first installed its data-gathering system in 2016, Internet of Things (IoT) technology has rapidly matured, leading the company to upgrade its monitoring technology accordingly. Over time, the data collected became increasingly sophisticated, widening the gap between a basic spreadsheet reporting system and the information made available by emerging IoT devices. Sensors on machines were now capturing performance data, and adding new insights, including running speeds, setup times, downtime and throughput.

Qlik provided TSE a way to quickly harness and visualize the new data and abandon its spreadsheets. The true challenge came in how best to use and view the various information, which now combined data directly gathered over IoT devices with DC1, along with manually entered data extracted from printed reports. With so much data available, “data noise” became an issue. Presenting the data based on what production teams needed to measure effectiveness required the creation of dashboard designs, optimized to present the necessary business intelligence in an easy-to-use and action-oriented graphical format.

Armed with extensive training from Iptor, TSE’s in-house IT and manufacturing group began experimenting with the platform. Their Singapore plant was generating data from the production machines across 3 factories; a total of 70 + users, including two manufacturing shifts and sales personnel, were on the system.

The first set of dashboards provided the first meaningful glimpse of the vast amounts of data collected. However, data arrangements and query sequences still appeared too complex. Getting to the root causes of breakdowns and slowdowns was not always easy. In their rush to deploy a viable solution on screen, the team delved deeper into many of the built-in tools available in the Qlik platform to produce a fluid, intuitive discovery model. So, in Q4 2018, a second round of dashboard development was completed and rolled out.

The sheer ability to visualize these inputs has raised our entire team’s level of awareness of what matters most to the business. You always pay attention to what gets measured. Our new Qlik dashboard keeps our top priorities front and center.

In Response

The team gathered to discuss new, proposed dashboard designs with a user group, identifying the essential information each area of the company would need to make better business decisions. TSE’s engineers revisited their original training and began re-examining the Qlik platform for simpler ways of assembling the desired information. Connecting the dots, the team reconfigured their Qlik platform to better match user requirements. The system’s analytical query engine helped filter unnecessary data, drawing mission-critical information from the company’s Iptor ERP and other sources, to make the most of Qlik’s capabilities. By consolidating and associating data into a single stream of business insights, users were now able to quickly diagnose and visualize the big picture and identify key performance indicators useful in driving better business outcomes.

The Outcome

TSE’s second iteration of its Qlik dashboard revealed the true ease and functionality of the system. As their Singapore plant reported satisfaction with the new interface, plans to expand the update to TSE’s Malaysia and Vietnam plants ensued. The new functionality proved to reduce report compilation time by 90 percent, squeezing 10 – 20 hours of weekly manual effort down to a matter of minutes. As a result, weekly reports have been replaced by daily dashboard refreshes, with improved accuracy and timeliness in the data, and greater understanding of the findings leading to better decisions and business outcomes. Additionally, the new dashboard opens the window to exploring new KPIs in both manufacturing and sales. Overall equipment effectiveness, availability of machines, maintenance allocations and cost, rework time, setup time, idle time and productive time can all be measured and assessed at a glance, among other factors necessary to optimizing the use of Tai Sin’s valuable capital equipment.

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Tai Sin Electric gains valuable business intelligence from data visualization with Qlik