Application Story

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Lab Data Management Using ASAM ODS


Member:  Robert Bosch GmbH

Featured Standard:  ASAM MDF


Summary

Challenge: Bosch has over 350 different validation facilities that cater to various component and system testing needs. The labs are spread across various business units; Diesel systems, chassis systems, power tools, electrical drives, and after market, to name a few. Each lab follows a unique tooling and process methodology for management of their lab and test data. This has resulted in a lot of duplicate and overlapping solutions making it difficult to maintain and improve.

 

Solution: RBEI and CI division of Robert Bosch GmbH are jointly working on concepts that will help the Bosch labs to effectively manage the lab data. The overall goal is to provide a single solution for lab and test management across all Bosch labs and extend the solution even to small labs that currently do not have an IT system for lab data management.

 

Key Benefits: The test processes and metrics can be reproduced across labs. The efforts and costs involved in development and maintenance of parallel solutions is reduced. Test labs can rely on a solution that is already used and accepted by other labs. Productivity of test engineers is improved as they can use a single solution for various test processes.

The flexible ODS data model has helped us capture and centralize all our important process artefacts, e.g. traceability of datasets, lessons learnt documentation, compression of measurement data, efficiency tracking. The solution is not only helping us improve the productivity of our engineers but also has improved our cost savings.

Rajashekar M B, Common Rail System Development, Robert Bosch Engineering & Business Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

Situation

The standard lab information management solution (sLIM), has been developed as a lab data management platform based on ASAM ODS. The overall goal is to streamline the common test processes at major test labs in Bosch in order to have a comprehensive lab data management solution. Common rail (CR) test facility at Bosch, India started a pilot phase to evaluate the potential benefits of the solution. After a successful pilot, the solution is now in pilot phase across various labs in other regions including Korea, China and Japan.

 

A survey of the validation facilities within Bosch indicated that there are over 350 labs that are responsible for testing activities. The labs were spread across geographies in order to cater to the needs of the local market. Many labs have developed their own solution for storing the details of test processes and documents. This approach not only was duplicating the cost and efforts spent on IT across labs but was also leading to islands of solutions, that were specific to domains. Many solutions were so specific to the needs of individual labs that it made the acceptability of solution very low when it was piloted across other domains. Another compelling issue was the lack of huge funds, for small labs in emerging markets such as China and India, for developing a comprehensive lab data management solution. 

 

Success Strategy

The goal was to develop a comprehensive standard lab and test management solution (sLIM) that could be adapted across the various business domains with minimal changes. The approach commenced with the unifying of test processes from multiple labs. The following were the main focus areas:

  • Understand the common test processes across labs
  • Understand the tools that were currently in use at the labs
  • Use a common data standard for storage and management

 

A detailed process checklist was prepared by having a focused workshop with representatives from various business units. The most important features were ranked using nominal group technique. After several rounds of focus group workshops, the following common business problem clusters were identified:

  • Requirement Management – How to manage test requests?
  • Project Management – How to plan projects, test activities and track them to closure?
  • Inventory Management – How to plan the equipment and test resource requirements for testing?
  • Quality Management – How to ensure quality control?
  • Commercials Links – How to control project procurements associated with testing?
  • Management reporting – How to generate metrics that are useful for management?

 

A common scenario that existed in all the labs was the usage of excel sheets with data analysis setup like INCA, LabVIEW, FAMOS etc.

 

ASAM ODS standard was chosen for the data modelling of the standard lab and test management (sLIM) solution. To begin with, a simple application model on ASAM ODS core data model was used to model the data requirements of various processes in:

  • Projects, test organization and tracking
  • Management of inventory and test resources
  • Search and building lab KPIs
  • Integration with post processing

Although, choosing ASAM ODS looked to be an overkill in the beginning, the benefits were soon realized. The application model of ASAM ODS was flexible enough to accommodate major process requirements of the lab.

 

Challenges During the Project

The process requirements practiced by each lab were different. Modelling the unified processes using a common data model was a difficult exercise. The requirements were so wide and diverse that, satisfying one lab meant opposition to another. A common data model and priority processes was shortlisted based on the requirements of the pilot labs in India. The processes were modelled into the ASAM ODS application model. The processes that were not directly mappable to the ASAM ODS model, took the benefit of AoAny application element, for example custom workflows, feature mapping etc. Based on an incremental approach, the lab clusters are identified and the requirements were modeled into the ASAM ODS model.

 

Business Benefits

The solution standardized test documentation and offered time saving functionalities like search. It improved the productivity of test engineers. Project management processes, such as calculation of effort overrun, utilization of lab resources, were standardized, automated and made reliable. This in turn helped to improve the project cost estimation. The hardware investment for storage of measurements were reduced through centralized approach along with techniques like compression. The solution has opened up numerous collaboration possibilities between labs, e.g. resource planning made it possible to share resources across labs improving the cost savings for the department. The management could now derive quantitative figures on lab utilization that was necessary to take critical business decisions. Overheads like user trainings were reduced because of a single solution strategy. The solution is now undergoing further improvements to include automation of part tracking. The overall goal of one standardized lab data management solution is finding high acceptance from labs across different business units and ASAM ODS has played a pivotal in this data centralization strategy.



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