Having the right data strategy

Publish Date

06 NOV 2021


Kai Beckmann


Only by collecting and analyzing high-quality data ourselves can we use them as a basis for making the right decisions while simultaneously helping our customers reach their goals through the use of first-class data and analyses along the entire value chain.

High-quality data are business-critical

We don’t often think about how much influence data now have on our lives. For example, did you notice that weather forecasts tended to be less accurate during the Covid-19 pandemic? That’s because there were significantly fewer airplanes in the sky collecting weather data.
And it’s not just in weather forecasting where the availability of data plays a crucial role. Companies have to go to great lengths to store, access and retrieve business-critical data. Only if companies have access to high-quality data and are able to handle it strategically can they exist on the market in the long-term.

Our data strategy at EMD Electronics therefore focuses on using data systematically to improve our products, solutions and business processes. In doing so, we want to help our customers to operate more successfully and, most importantly, faster in dynamic markets.

We can achieve this by collecting and recording data from across the company and then making them transparent and accessible across all functions via an integrated data platform. After all, our businesses can only succeed if we constantly analyze these data and use them as a basis for making sound business decisions. Apart from the right tools and processes, it is also essential to empower people to understand and analyze data. That’s why, at EMD Electronics, we’re fostering both the exchange of knowledge and the data handling capabilities of our employees.

Faster, better, cheaper

The digitalization of the entire value chain lets us know at all times where our products currently are in the production and distribution process. This helps us take necessary measures in good time and make precise predictions. The customers will thank us for it.

Quality is also a crucial competitive factor for semiconductor materials and liquid crystal mixtures. Algorithms can recognize patterns in data that are hidden to humans. With the help of data, we can therefore find solutions that would not be discovered through human observation alone. As a result, we can define data-supported process parameters down to the finest detail and predict exactly what parameter will have what effect on the product. With these kinds of precise calculations, the number of test runs can be significantly reduced, and errors can be anticipated early. Of course, this also saves costs.

Data is crucial in all areas

To make sure this all succeeds, we try to make data solutions reusable throughout the entire company across all three business sectors. Valuable synergies emerge from this critical mass of data. The Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany Data Office forms an interface between all functions and harmonizes the data governance of the entire company, among other things. A dedicated Data Office for Electronics was set up to help us implement the strategy in the Electronics business sector and use data systematically for all business processes. The necessary technical investments for this are made via the Data Office. Data platforms and required tools are set up and linked to various systems in the Group. As a leading science and technology company, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany also strategically drives forward the development and use of the latest analytical methods, such as artificial intelligence. Moreover, the Data Office has data scientists who, together with experts in chemistry, physics and process engineering, use the data to draw conclusions that ultimately lead to improved products and solutions. 

In practice, the data strategy of EMD Electronics concentrates on projects that initially build up the fundamental capabilities needed for a data-driven company.

For example, in the Semiconductor Materials business unit, we are equipping all production units with sensors that record raw material, process and quality control data. Of course, visualization of the data also plays a role. High-quality data are valuable only if they are recorded and made available for interpretation and evaluation.

Apart from this general process optimization, our Display Solutions unit is working on a digital analysis tool with which properties of the components of liquid crystal mixtures can be predicted. The objective here is to combine the ideal mixture properties for customer products with the most cost-effective production process for the benefit of both sides.

Empowering people

At EMD Electronics, we have recognized the opportunity that the strategic use of data presents to our industry. That’s why we’re also working intensively on continuously expanding our capabilities in this field. Promoting digital capabilities is an important prerequisite for this. This applies to our employees but also the industry itself. As President of the German Federation of Chemical Employers’ Associations (BAVC) it is therefore particularly important for me to constantly reiterate the urgency of expanding digital education. After all, simply collecting large quantities of data won’t get us anywhere. We need to be able to interpret it. That’s why I encourage everyone to engage with this topic. This will help us to tackle the urgent challenges facing our industry, such as accelerating innovation, high-quality and supply reliability.

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