Batch manufacturing of chemicals entails many distinct phases. Chemicals manufacturers, therefore, strive to cut as much time as possible from each phase of the batch process. Shaving off even a small amount of time from a phase results in increased production, directly driving significant improvements in profitability.
A large chemical manufacturer was struggling to analyze batch phase times for process improvement using Excel spreadsheets. Spreadsheets have limitations that make them unsuited to this level of analysis. It was extremely difficult for the process engineering team to accurately define phases and idle times to pinpoint where to focus their process improvement efforts and capital deployments. Often, phase definitions were too complicated to analyze properly and resulted in capturing the wrong period, a frustrating waste of time. Analysis done on a spreadsheet was not easily sharable to others on the team.
It was also difficult if not impossible, to scale the analysis to all batches completed for more holistic insight. To perform cycle time analysis, an engineer would have to go back through thousands of batches in history to determine if the phase definitions were accurate for all phases of all batches, making it effectively unworkable.