Continuous improvement through customer collaboration

John Downing

Technical Marketing Communications Specialist

mi-data-2-thumbnailWhen it comes to software development it is revolution that often grabs attention. An example here at Granta might be the recent new MI:Explore web app interface. But constant evolution is perhaps an even more important part of the story. Granta is constantly in collaboration with customers, industry consortia, and the education community with the aim of continuously improving solutions. After all, who knows better about their                                         specific needs than the users themselves?

To understand more about this continuous improvement process, I had a chat with Dan Williams, the GRANTA MI Product Manager, about the latest enhancements to the GRANTA MI™ system (see July’s press release).

Dan is responsible for planning development work to meet, for example, the requirements of project managers at user organizations who are planning large-scale roll-outs of materials information management systems. One of their key concerns is ensuring a good user experience, so that their engineers adopt the system. In particular, they ask: “How quickly can a user get in and out to access the data they need?” Based on this input, the development team has made sure the latest enhancements halve the time to access a datasheet.

July 2015 blog - continuous improvement

GRANTA MI 8.1 has improved performance for data access and management

Deployment is another key concern, Dan explained: “Common questions are: how can we manage users? How will we control access? How will we ensure scalability and adequate performance?”

So new tools have been added to manage ‘who sees what’ via an in-built app which, critically, was developed with week-by-week review and input from users. Organizations can control access to information according to different users’ needs, for example, materials experts, engineers, designers, procurement, etc.

mi-diagram-475

                     GRANTA MI captures all materials data and information in one place

Each organization has specific data management requirements and many manage proprietary data alongside a library of reference data and create bespoke links to materials in Granta’s database. Updating links when new data is published could be very complicated and time-consuming, but GRANTA MI includes new tools to simplify and speed up this process. This was another problem where development had to be tested, in collaboration with customers, on real user data.

One forum for reviewing enhancements is Granta’s consortia – industry collaborations focused on materials information technology that meet regularly to review progress, share experience and guide development priorities. The latest GRANTA MI developments will be reviewed when the longest-running of these projects, the Material Data Management Consortium (MDMC), holds its 26th Meeting at GE-Aviation in Cincinnati, Ohio, next week. And the feedback from that meeting will feed the next cycle of development, driving on-going continuous improvement.

Dozens of major enterprises worldwide, operating in many sectors, already realise multi-million dollar returns by using GRANTA MI. But in maintaining these benefits and bringing them to more people, close partnership with customers is vital – the devil really is in the detail!

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