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Customer Story

The PI System helps CEMEX democratize its data

Cemex manufacturing cement
  • Challenge
    Data was not standardized or widely available across the organization.
  • Solution
    Use the PI System to streamline operations data and integrate it with accessible dashboards.
  • Benefits
    Operations data available in real time; the data extraction process went from 740 hours down to one hour.

CEMEX has been using the PI System for more than 20 years. CEMEX’s use has evolved over the years from simple and standalone PI System installations in cement manufacturing facilities to become the foundation of the company's cement production management system. The company recently shifted its focus to democratizing its data, which means delivering operations data to people throughout the company so they can analyze the information without relying on power users or analysts to provide the reports they need. With 70 sites in 21 countries and a growing market for its products, the data centralization project could not have come at a better time.

We want people to be able to perform their own analysis given their own global access, so they can start doing all of their different benchmarks. We want every end user to be able to produce their own.
Rodrigo Quintero
Operations Model and Planning Manager at CEMEX

Context is key

Rodrigo Quintero, operations model and planning manager at CEMEX, described the company’s data situation before the PI System as one that should sound familiar to many large manufacturing organizations. “We had plants, every one of them with different equipment, with different practices. We set out on the journey to begin standardizing the [data] infrastructure, defining standards and standardizing the tag nomenclature. To give you an idea, a regular PI Server has 10,000-15,000 tags for each cement plant––multiply that by 70 sites. It is a lot of information that we manage."

CEMEX initially used the PI System to standardize this data, but still found that it lacked the context needed to make it meaningful to its users. The next phase of the company’s work with the PI System put that context in place using Asset Framework. “The result was we had a standard practice to report all of the information and how all the information was being analyzed not only for reporting but for process analysis and everything,” Quintero said. “That was a big improvement."

If you build it, will they come?

Of course, data and context are only worthwhile if end users are on board with the approach. CEMEX used the PI Integrator for Business Analytics to extract operations data from the PI System and place it into front-facing reporting tools used across the organization. This process enabled the company to meet data analysis demands quickly using systems users already knew. The data integration project freed up the company’s business analysts to do more complex work, rather than running routine reports. It also empowered users across the organization to have more autonomy over the work and the decisions that inform it.

"By giving out reports and different dashboards, people are starting to ask more questions. They want additional analysis, and they want additional data. We don’t have the capabilities to serve 70 sites or the regional offices or country offices. That is where the democratization of data comes in,” Quintero said. “We want people to be able to perform their own analysis given their own global access, so they can start doing all of their different benchmarks. We want every end user to be able to produce their own. That is where we are trying to go here."

PI integrator for Business AnalyticsCEMEX used the PI System to create a central data source that integrated with existing BI tools — a project the company referred to as democratizing its data.
Knowledge equals power

It didn’t take long for the new process to yield results for CEMEX. Its data extraction process went from 740 hours down to one hour, and the Asset Framework structure made it easy to create simple, effective templates. “Since it is not complex anymore, [people] are not overwhelmed or afraid or discouraged from extracting information," Quintero said. "You don't have to wait one month or two months to get results from reports.”

Like many organizations that use the PI System, CEMEX also benefitted from having “one version of the truth” across the organization as everyone works from the same set of data, rather than maintaining individual databases or spreadsheets. "People are starting conversations,” Quintero said. ‘We are tearing down all the barriers across different departments because everybody is looking at the same data...and they are sharing information and experiences."

For more information about CEMEX and the PI System, watch the full presentation here.

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