Tissue manufacturer soaks up data to deliver just-in-time strategy
Cascades Tissue Group is a manufacturer of packaging and tissue products that are composed of recycled fibres.
The company employs 11,000 people in 90 manufacturing and conversion plants in Canada and the US.
The manufacturer uses GE Policy Plant Applications to monitor machinery and gather statistics about physical conditions in the plants. Sensors on the manufacturing equipment monitor temperature, humidity and other operating conditions that could affect the quality of its finished products. The IT department uses Information Builders iWay Service Manager to obtain log files of sensor data, which are sent to a central data centre for processing.
As Martin Gauthier, IT director, Enterprise Architecture, at Cascades, explains, “Our sensors detect slight variations in the production process and we must make sure that these parameters are in an acceptable range. People on the shop floor need this information to monitor production. We use iWay to send this information from Proficy to a reporting tool that produces operational reports.”
As part of its enterprise-wide strategy to integrate essential business functions such as production planning, plant maintenance, warehouse management, procurement, purchasing and financial information, Cascades implemented SAP R/3 enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications at dozens of its mills, plants and paper manufacturing facilities.
Data from sensors only adds value when it is used to support decision-making. To enable all employees to access the right information, Cascades used Information Builders iWay to integrate sensor data with enterprise data from its SAP ERP system and connect with its AS/400 system, along with other business applications. By standardising on iWay to monitor variables within the production process, exchange real-time data on plant floor processes and purchase of raw materials, Cascades is able to consolidate results for offline analysis.
This real-time data exchange allows Cascades’ maintenance personnel to keep shop floor equipment running optimally, as well as monitoring the quality of finished goods coming off the production line. The integrated data source also allows managers to improve forecasting, run payroll and identify where efficiency gains can be made in the supply chain.
Martin Gauthier comments, “iWay is integrated into our core processes. It gives us real-time data about the operation. Without it, we would not be able to integrate legacy application information with SAP information and we would lack total visibility into production, distribution, finance and other business processes.”
It is crucial that employees are able to trust that they are working from a reliable information source when making on the spot decisions that could affect an entire batch of products. Machine-generated data generally provides more accurate data, because it is not subject to data entry errors.
While everyone can make use of the information from machine sensors, data scientists are few and far between. Therefore, providing employees with clear graphics that use machine sensor data to explain the status of production line equipment, warehouse humidity levels and stock levels, goes a long way towards supporting intelligent, timely decision-making which optimises production.
Using the integrated data from sensors and other business applications, Cascades Tissue Group managers have an accurate, real-time view of the operation. In keeping with its just-in-time production strategy, the SAP ERP system boosts efficiency by reducing in-process inventory and associated carrying costs.
Cascades uses real-time information from iWay to keep its production equipment running optimally; monitor the quality of its finished goods; improve forecasting and remove waste from the supply chain: supporting prompt and accurate production and delivery of its products to customers.
The continuous stream of data enables plant managers to take action immediately if anything falls outside of acceptable parameters. The manufacturer also has a more accurate view of costs because managers can track real-time sales and production data and make decisions based on full visibility of the operation.
By Kabir Choudry, SVP of Global Field Technical Services and Customer Success, Information Builders
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.