What is IQ-Fusion and what does it do?
IQ-Fusion is a new kind of Operations Performance Management platform that translates detailed manufacturing production data from your plant into financial terms. So it helps you
- Identify what your most costly production problems are
- Know exactly where, when, and why they are happening, as they are happening, and
- Take immediate action to resolve them, resulting in improved performance, value, profitability.
IQ-Fusion doesn’t just give you data like many solutions on the market. It goes a step further, assigning financial values to your data, then calculating the dollar value of how your production operations are impacting your business finances. So you immediately see the issues that matter most to your company’s bottom line.
How is IQ-Fusion different from other manufacturing software?
For starters, it’s delivered online, so it costs a lot less than buying and installing software in your plant(s). It is accessed via a web browser, and there are no user limits, also cost-effective.
- IQ-Fusion doesn’t just deliver raw operations data. Rather, it automatically calculates what that data means to overall business performance and shows it in dollars (expense or profit). Since the number crunching is automated, your engineers managers, IT staff or analysts, don’t have to do a lot of manual spreadsheet manipulation. And that means that they are freed up to concentrate on innovation, education, and other “human” improvements that no system can make.
- IQ-Fusion is equally effective for managing the entire value stream in one plant or across the entire enterprise in a multi-plant environment. The Cloud makes it easily and cost-effectively scalable.
- From the VP to the Manager down to the floor staff, everyone sees the same easy-to-understand screens that show the financial implications of action — or lack of action — on the plant floor. (This is great for educating employees to the impact of their behavior, and then influencing that behavior.)
- Engineers love that IQ-Fusion is non-proprietary and works with any equipment or system you have, regardless of age or point of origin.
- IQ-Fusion provides real-time, instant access into the production detail that helps you explain and address production issues. You can even drill down by each product code.
Why would I need IQ-Fusion?
If you have ERP and MES as well as HMI/SCADA, you may think that you already have everything you need since you collect production data now. But all the data in the world won’t help you if you can’t translate it to insight and strategic action. For example, do you need a whole team of people in your company to make sense of the reams of raw data coming off the PLCs? Looking at even one production line can be a challenge, let alone trying to broaden to an enterprise view across lines, products, and plants. And what about reconciling that data to the financials coming out of your ERP system? It may take your team hours, days, or weeks to put the data together in a way that provides usable insight to the executive level. And still it won’t include information on the non-automated work centers, the human part of your operations. So operations teams are then tasked to go back after the fact and address a problem that surfaced a month ago, without sufficient data to know how to fix it.
IQ-Fusion automates the hard work of turning data from your equipment, your systems, and your people, into a concise summary view, so you know where attention is needed in real-time. In contrast, companies who don’t have the benefit of IQ-Fusion may not even realize they have a problem until days or weeks after the problem occurs, at which point thousands of dollars have been lost.
With IQ-Fusion, you can literally watch to see where dollars are leaking from your value stream as product is moving through your production line. Most production operations have several loss points, or constraints. Often, the squeakiest wheel gets the grease, but it isn’t always the real problem. IQ-Fusion empowers you with the knowledge of what the most costly problems are. That means you can take quick action to address the issues that are most relevant to profitability. Bottom line: IQ-Fusion lets you get more value from your people and your production assets.
Does my factory need to be automated to use IQ-Fusion?
If you have multiple plants and they all look different, you’re not alone. Most manufacturing operations in North American are hybrid or manual. IQ-Fusion works equally well in automated, hybrid, or manual plant environments. In fact, our speed and accuracy in configuring hybrid and manual operations is one of the things that sets us apart from the competition. Most software companies are technology-centric. They come into your plant, install their software, and leave. Then it’s up to you to figure out how to make it work in your operation. IQity is operations-centric. We were founded by operations management professionals who are well versed in lean, continuous improvement, and performance management principals. Our creators understand how things operate on the front lines in a variety of plant types–and we deliberately had our software engineers build the product to be flexible enough and easily configurable to a variety of situations and industries. We excel at coming into any plant environment and getting all the parts to talk with each other, and IQ-Fusion was built specifically to accommodate that disparity.
How does IQ-Fusion collect data from all these sources?
Our engineers have developed something called the IQ-Connector. It’s like the brain of IQ-Fusion in your operation that takes in all the information you have and intelligently sorts it, sifts it, packages and sends the relevant data as it happens. The IQ-Connector – basically an app that you download and install yourself — unobtrusively sits on one of your servers and collects the data. It comes ready to receive data from a variety of sources – from a network, from any OPC-compliant device or equipment, from PLCs, mobile scanners, push button input, manual data entry to a web form, etc. Then, it sifts through and buffers the data, using sophisticated algorithms to identify and send only the relevant event-based data to IQ-Fusion, where it undergoes an array of analytics.
Is there a bandwidth issue?
No, the IQ-Connector is not a bandwidth hog. It is programmed to be as unobtrusive as possible, and generally stays off your network except for pre-determined visits to receive data.
It sounds like IQ-Fusion would mean adding another system?
If you’re thinking “I’m juggling enough systems already, I don’t need more,” you are in for a pleasant surprise. Rather than adding another layer to an existing disparity of systems that don’t communicate effectively–IQ-Fusion relieves that pain by acting as a virtual keystone that makes all the other systems click. With IQ-Fusion, there are no special hardware requirements and little to no software you need to install, since it is accessed via a website and the application itself is online. IQ-Fusion is deployed as a cloud-based (or SaaS) business application, and combines the enterprise-wide breadth and financial insights of Business Intelligence (BI) with the detailed, real-time production data of Operational Intelligence (OI), delivering them via intuitive graphics accessed via a web site.
Is IQ-Fusion an ERP solution?
IQ-Fusion includes some elements of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), but there are significant differences. Depending on your company’s size and needs, IQ-Fusion may complement an existing ERP or lessen the urgency to acquire an ERP system. Both types of software integrate a variety of management information about an enterprise. The differences:
- ERP systems focus on transactional data like accounting, production scheduling, and order management. ERP reports reflect historic conditions (i.e. they are generated well after the actions in question have transpired). ERP systems are typically complex and time-consuming to install.
- IQ-Fusion focuses on detailed manufacturing data from the production value stream for each product. IQ-Fusion generates dynamic reports in real-time, as production is occurring. Accessed via a website, IQ-Fusion is not installed on your local network, so implementation is relatively painless.
Should I install an ERP solution before considering IQ-Fusion?
That depends on your business goals. ERP solutions typically require large capital investments, and take 15-18 months to configure and install. After about 2-3 years they start delivering benefit in the form of historic insights. IQ-Fusion does not require large upfront capital expenditures, typically takes 4-8 weeks to configure, and begins generating actionable insights within 3 months. Our clients have identified up to 6-figures of recoverable value thanks to insights from IQ-Fusion in the first two quarters of operations. Generally, installing IQ-Fusion as early as possible in the process means faster value recovery.
My [ERP/HMI/SCADA/MES/PLC] vendor tells me they do the same thing.
They don’t. Independent industry analysts have confirmed that no other solution does what IQ-Fusion does. You may be hearing from large, enterprise software vendors who sell modular systems, and expensive customization services, that they can now incorporate shop floor information. But they don’t provide the detailed production insight that IQ-Fusion does. You’re probably also hearing from manufacturing software specialists who are trying to extend their niche products up to the enterprise level. They can’t offer the business insights and executive operations perspective of IQ-Fusion. Only IQ-Fusion was built specifically to address the business performance implications of detailed production processes in financial terms and in real time.
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