Tinsley Bridge on a project exploring data-driven manufacturing. Part of this, that we both worked in, was the analysis of existing data sets, with the intention of providing insights into company operations and potential opportunities for improvement, as well as to highlight the value of a data-driven approach to decision making.
We received data relating to electricity and gas usage, as well as anonymised clocking data from which we were able to determine the number of workers on-site at any given time.
As these data sets originated from a domain that was unfamiliar to us, initial efforts focused on exploratory analysis – utilising data visualisations and calculated metrics to give a high level understanding of the data and its general trends, giving us an indication of where we could best focus our efforts for deeper analysis.
Throughout this process, and from coordinated discussion with Alex Kelly, our mentor and contact at Tinsley Bridge, we were able to identify several areas for further investigation that could lead to improvements in operational efficiency.
Recognising the value of the project to Tinsley Bridge, Alex Kelly, IT Manager said, ‘The students came from multiple disciplines. They bring new skillsets and help us innovate, using new ways of thinking and the business has changed. We look at things in a new way as we explore actually introducing some of the changes that the students have suggested.’
We learnt a lot from the process too. Here’s are top three takeaways.
1. Data Analysis and Communication
This proved to be a great learning experience. Our final presentation necessitated the communication of our findings to an audience of varying technical backgrounds. To perform effectively we had to abstract away technical details in favour of key ideas and potential outputs – a valuable skill in itself.
2. Actual Stakes
In contrast to typical university projects, this project involved engagement with a real stakeholder who stood to gain a lot from the output of our project. This was a very motivating factor and one that is often not experienced within full-time education. By having the opportunity to engage with an industry partner we were able understand the value our work could provide and apply theoretical knowledge in a real-world context, strengthening both our practical and interpersonal skills.
3. Self Driven
Overall this project served as the culmination of many skills developed throughout the SELA programme, requiring strong self management and organisation, as well as the development of new technical proficiencies, in order to successfully deliver on the initial goal. The opportunity to exercise the skills we’ve learnt through SELA’s workshops, with Alex from Tinsley Bridge as a real industry partner has been absolutely invaluable. This experience will give us confidence when working within industry in the future; we will know where to apply the knowledge from our degrees, and how to approach industrial problems to create a positive impact through projects. The network of contacts we’ve developed during the project will also be a fantastic help post-graduation.
SELA works in close partnership with industry and our community to enable students to learn through real projects, where they can add value, develop their leadership skills and discover their agency in effecting positive change. Check out this video to learn more, and please get in touch if you’d like to partner with us...