IT in the Winery...Production Can Get Stomped

Nov. 15, 2005
One of the breakout sessions was Kevin Roach, vice president of Rockwell Software, interviewing Andy Woehl, plant floor IT guy from Clos du Bois winery in Napa, Cal. The first real problem, Woehl said, was with the database. IT had a greatly different definition of database integrity and safety than we did. IT is used to dealing with financial data, which must be protected against loss at all costs. In the case of plant floor history, who cares if we lose a day's worth of data? Finally, we came...
One of the breakout sessions was Kevin Roach, vice president of Rockwell Software, interviewing Andy Woehl, plant floor IT guy from Clos du Bois winery in Napa, Cal. The first real problem, Woehl said, was with the database. IT had a greatly different definition of database integrity and safety than we did. IT is used to dealing with financial data, which must be protected against loss at all costs. In the case of plant floor history, who cares if we lose a day's worth of data? Finally, we came to the agreement that factory information is not the domain of IT. "I created lots of allies in IT," Woehl said. We needed OEE, we needed to know why something is stopped, and we needed to look at uptime. Roach: Did you set any goals? Woehl: We set a team goal of 85% efficiency. The data itself is useless if it sits in the back room and nobody uses it. We found we'd been running the bottling line for five years and didn't really know it all that well. Finally, we found LPS (Line Performance Solution) from PA-- a pre-packaged solution for bottling lines. Because it was pre-canned, we were able to produce metrics to sell the project. It all comes down to people. We are supposed to start at 7. We really don't get going until 8:30-- and efficiency dropped off at lunch every day as the shifts changed. I found that "it isn't just about the machines--it is about the whole system." "We have 9 different PLC systems and 9 different HMIs in the plant. This is NOT easy." The most important thing we did to educate our IT staff was to re-define the terminology. We cross-mapped the terminology from the plant floor to IT. Andy Peters from ARC asked the $64,000 question: "20% improvement sounds like a no-brainer...why was it so hard to get the money to do the project?" Woehl answered, "Other projects are physical and objective...I can't promise anything unless the data gets used-- no so objective as buying a new pump or machine, see? It isn't the data, either, it's the price." Roach: Why didn't you just use SAP? They say they can do all this stuff too. Woehl: The IT guys said that. Why don't you get it all from SAP-- the reasons were that SAP is difficult to use, has a very high cost of customization, and it is completely and totally owned by IT. Now that we've been acquired, we get a new IT department, so it is a good thing that factory data stays in the plant.

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