Dr. Toni Ehrig, Co-founder, Linda Klepsch, Managing Director, Dr. Norbert Papenfuß, Innovation Manager and Michael Just, Head of IT
Data is the proverbial driver of the automotive industry, taking control of the wheel to make the industry smarter, agile, and more competent. Despite this understanding, the lucrative data is often not explored to its fullest potential by the automotive OEMs. The reason? The power of the data mostly gets hidden because of the siloed OEM workflow and infrastructure, where neither the automotive manufacturers nor its suppliers get a 360-degree view of their data landscape.
It is particularly prominent in the product development stage, where the exchange of information between the design and engineering teams and the other teams is pivotal to make critical decisions. Alongside this, an automotive OEM also has to deal with a diverse range of suppliers who have abundant data – pertinent for different stages of development. Hence, there is always a vast amount of data and data sources available at various points that are to be collated together to make wiser judgements on how to streamline the entire workflow. If the automotive manufacturers and suppliers have the right tool to leverage such data and add traceability to it, it would enhance the transparency of the entire process, and subsequently, productivity.
WIAM is a software provider and consulting company that boasts more than two decades of expertise in developing software and databases for manufacturers and suppliers across several industries to document, maintain, and structure all their data for improved material and product development. WIAM helps manufacturers and suppliers centralise interdisciplinary R&D data by creating powerful, uniform, and customisable databases – making it easy for various departments to collect, research, visualise, and compare the data. “Our software can organise and visualise a wide range of data, including engineering data of products and materials, parameters for simulation and calculation, information on product usage and testing, evidence for compliance and standards, and much more. We support any aspect of digitization and automation within R&D from the lab to simulation up to the overall product design,” says Linda Klepsch, Managing Director of WIAM.
WIAM makes this data centralisation possible through its comprehensive, highly flexible, tailor-made data management system – WIAM® ICE. With an intelligent and intuitive data interface, WIAM products offer simple and customisable UIs and dashboards that can map all possible data structures for OEMs and suppliers, and provide comprehensive reports with different visualisations and charts. WIAM software also has provisions for versatile user management. It supports a wide variety of user groups, both internal and external, with each group able to view their corresponding data. At the same time, distinctions can also be made while allocating administrative rights to edit data, and different filters can be placed within the groups to restrict or limit the views. However, the system also facilitates the sharing of interdisciplinary data. “Our unique network graph featurevisualises relationships between different groups and their corresponding information to quickly find the correlation and understand the full picture of a development project,” adds Linda.
With such great data management competencies, WIAM effectively brings together engineering, IT, and management operations of a company under one roof. “When we onboard a client, the team at WIAM makes a stakeholder analysis to find out how data should flow within the company and who should be allowed to view what,” says Dr.Norbert Papenfuß, Innovations Manager at WIAM. Based on that, WIAM’s software allocates different spaces to different departments where they can store all their data. Consequently, WIAM streamlines the dataflow within the organisation, bringing about an effective collaboration between several departments for R&D. When required, like for simulation-based testing or while auditing, the data can be easily pulled out from the database. Additionally, WIAM’s software can also be combined with other corporate software, tools, and databases to ensure an automated data exchange without redundancies.
That’s not all! WIAM has a Dataportal with vast information regarding different types of materials as well as a software product MaterialsHub including material data for metals, plastics, additive manufacturing and surface engineering. WIAM also has an extension LabDataHub that goes beyond the scope of a conventional laboratory information management system (LIMS), which is managing the R&D tied to the laboratory side, and focuses on the evaluation and virtual product protection perspective as well. “We approach data resources and management not only from a testing perspective but also from a development perspective and we strive to build a continuous data process across all departments within R&D,” asserts Linda. Moreover, WIAM’s API has quite extensive functionalities and offers a great deal of flexibility for engineers to connect their existing tools. While its REST API enables the building of data and search interfaces for other internal corporate systems, it also allows client-specific implementations on WIAM’s software. And to make tasks a lot easier for the different teams, WIAM’s software also features a workflow engine that enables the clients to develop customised workflows or processes within the software.
Today, riding on the coattails of these extensive functionalities of WIAM’s software, many big OEMs and tier- 1 suppliers, along with smaller companies, are driving their success stories. And while WIAM’s expertise across industries is enabling them to maintain a synergy between different sectors, it is particularly utilizing the experience to make automotive industry data more transparent and proficient. To that end, WIAM is working with the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) and other representative bodies to ascertain a seamless data process between the OEMs and the suppliers. While basking in the glory of such capabilities, WIAM is also committed to expanding its product portfolio. “We are constantly looking to innovate the space, and in turn, broaden our approach to support more and more use case scenarios in product development and engineering across different industries,” concludes Linda.