Data Abstraction (Pty) Ltd


Data Abstraction provides comprehensive consulting with an emphasis on manufacturing and manufacturing related systems.

Consulting engagements are a good introduction to our way of working. They can also identify whether the Cascades operational service broker provides the required functionality to solve your integration needs, or your existing applications are adequate and can be improved through additional optimisation.

Out consulting services include:

Process discovery/validation

Many manufacturing organisations find, after an extended period of operation, that many operational processes and capabilities are embedded as tacit knowledge in the operators and their immediate management.

When changes are planned to a facility or process, it is often discovered that any documentation that exists is out-dated and no longer exactly reflects the actual operations or facilities. Building new processes becomes much higher risk, more expensive and can result in an initiative failing.

Our consultants can evaluate the existing processes to confirm that they are operating according to their documentation, or confirm that there are either deviations from the process, or errors in processing.

These evaluations can often be performed by analysing historical data collected by existing systems. The analysis will result in an as-is process map, along with details on the proportion of cases that do not comply with the officially sanctioned processes.

Incident investigation

No matter how well a process is planned, engineered and executed, there will always be deviations that result in process failures with invariable loss or damage.

Where these incidents are major, only a comprehensive investigation can take advantage of the focus and effort expended on resolving the incident to obtain the necessary information to improve the process.

Incident investigations should be performed by staff not personally involved in the process and with no vested interests in its outcome. The investigation should not be aimed at identifying fault or liability, but an effort to determine the underlying root causes and provide recommendations for correcting these to prevent recurrences.

Often, an incident investigation is the only opportunity that occurs to evaluate the performance of safety critical facilities and processes due to the risk of performing drills at a realistic scale.

Manufacturing system audit

Manufacturing systems have a long operational life-cycle. This is a result of high cost of replacement, risk to operations during change and the wish to retain stability in the production process.

The multiple and varied interaction between the various components of the system make it difficult to easily identify areas of weakness or inefficiency that a broad audit can uncover.

We would provide confirmation of the correctness and completeness of existing documentation, prepare updated details for processes that are not comprehensively documented following changes and suggest areas for improvement in operational processes to align them closer to their intended designs.

Concepts of operation

Many processes are introduced in manufacturing facilities on a regular basis. While operational management has a good understanding of their individual roles in the process, there may not be any single person within the organisation with the background or capacity to consolidate these understandings, and integrate them into an overall concept. Further, given that many new systems are supplied by multiple vendors, there may not be a single source of information for the replacement process.

Our consultants have experience with developing concepts of operation for systems that incorporate large mechanical and electrical facilities with overall information systems control and monitoring. These complex systems-of-systems are novel in that they experience problems not present in isolated machines and need very different analysis to ensure correct and efficient operation.

Trade-off studies

Replacement of large capital equipment or fundamental processes is a complex decision with long-term impacts to operations.

In many cases, the trade-off studies between alternatives is only possible within a single discipline and improvements that could take advantage of newer technologies that may not fit exactly into the current processes may be underemphasised.

A full evaluation of all possible alternatives, including that of doing nothing, is a prerequisite to a rational decision making process that can extract the maximum value from any capital investment in the face of uncertainty in future production volumes and product mixes.

Manufacturing process auditing

Manufacturers operate, of necessity, with staff from many departments making up a single process. This isolation of staff can result in a loss of overall awareness in the process and sub-optimal operation.

An audit of a manufacturing process can provide a snapshot of the current performance of a process, and identify areas for improvement that may require cross-functional teams for successful implementation.

Engaging with Data Abstraction

Contact us by electronic mail or telephone to discuss your needs for manufacturing software services.