Customer Spotlight:

How Umicore’s Dave Carpels Led the Charge for TrendMiner Adoption


In last week’s blogTrendMiner’s Coach Program – A Change Management Approach for Supporting Its Users”, we explained what our Coach Program is all about. (A real quick FYI: we launched this program in 2019 to accelerate and ease uptake of user knowledge and share user experiences. More importantly, our Coach program is about providing a support system, so users within a company can help other users in that same company.)

Next, we thought we’d show you what it’s like to actually be a TrendMiner coach, so we reached out to Umicore Application Analyst and self-service analytics champion, Dave Carpels.

First, a Little Bit about Dave  

TrendMiner Coach and customer Dave Carpels is an Application Analyst at Umicore – a multinational materials technology company headquartered in Brussels, Belgium – in the Antwerp Metropolitan Area.

Dave graduated as an old school informatician, drawing flowchart analytics with a pencil and writing Assembler and Cobol code for the mainframe. He started working for Umicore as a process coordinator in 1991 and gained a lot of experience in different metal refining flows. Even though he had the possibility to lead large teams in production, informatics was where his interest really lay.

While working as a process coordinator, Dave went back to school to get an additional bachelor’s degree in informatics and worked on several IT projects for Umicore which were mostly process-related. During that time he also completed several Microsoft certifications. In 2011, Dave was asked to start a pilot using the first version of TrendMiner (M2IS) for Umicore Precious Metal Refinery (UPMR) in Hoboken. Since then, Dave has been working and reporting almost full time on OSIsoft PI, M2IS, and Trendminer. Over time, Umicore onboarded over 300 operators and more than 50 process engineers for M2IS.

In 2020, it was the company’s goal to migrate all these users to the new TrendMiner version. To date, TrendMiner and Dave have already trained 30 coaches, 30 process engineers, and about 200 operators. For over 6 months now, UPMR Hoboken has been running the newest TrendMiner version: 2021.R1.

On a more personal note, Dave lives in Hemiksem, Belgium with his wife Cindy, 4 children, and 2 dogs. He is also a board member of the local football club Oxford Hemiksem and coaches the 10-year olds. (Now that is courageous). OK, you know that Dave can coach a bunch of wild rambunctious kids, let’s learn more about how he coaches his teams of process experts….

Find Out What Dave Has to Say about Being a TrendMiner Coach:   

1. What do you see as your main responsibilities of being a TrendMiner Coach?

In my case, one of my main responsibilities as a TrendMiner Coach is to inspire the team, to inspire all the people to use the tool in the right way. I go about this by listening to the users and helping them to solve their issues and by helping them to get a better notice of their processes through TrendMiner. The users come to me if they have a problem, but I also follow up as well to see if they need help. I watch them to see if they are having problems and then I help them.

I work at my company’s Hoboken, Belgium plant where we have around about 300 operators using all of the capabilities of TrendMiner. In addition to inspiring the team, I make sure that the application is completely available and that everything works properly (that the process experts are using TrendMiner properly and fully). These are my biggest concerns, my biggest responsibilities.

2. What are the benefits of being a coach?

The benefits of being a coach, for me, is that I’m much closer to the information from the TrendMiner side, but also from the production side. I’m very close to everything: what’s happening inside of TrendMiner. If I see that we need certain software capabilities for our work, I can contact TrendMiner to request new features or to get extra information on what’s coming in the new software versions. That’s an important, and I think it’s a strong benefit of being a coach.

3. How have the dynamics of your teams changed since you became a coach?

The dynamics of my team have changed. I see they are growing a lot in knowledge and in experience. They have started asking me other questions too. They want to know all about how TrendMiner works, and they ask much more about how their processes can benefit from it. They see a lot of new opportunities through the TrendMiner application. Through using the application, the team’s knowledge and experience have grown. We all get really, really into the process, doing relevant stuff with the TrendMiner application. The team asks about other possible ways to use it. There are still people who need training and who need to learn more about the application, but I see a slight change in this because other people are getting much better at handling the application.

4. What kind of activities have you carried out for instruction/collaboration/team building?

I’ve given a lot of trainings. I’ve also given a lot of demos. And I’ve brought together different users with different insights, so they can inspire each other and help each other in what they are doing in the process. Because, of course, we all have different kinds of processes. But in the end, we all do the same thing: refining metals. I also bring together different users, from other business units, to look at our processes and to use TrendMiner. In Hoboken, the users are mostly operators, but there are also process engineers. We have a little less of maintenance engineers, but they are now beginning to see the advantages of TrendMiner as well.

5. What kind of advice would you give to other coaches or potential coaches?

The advice I would like to give is to always help the users as soon as possible. Immediately if you can; that is the best. Don’t let the users wait or hang around with their questions because they need to solve their process problems as fast as possible. Since the process itself is the most important aspect of work, the priority is to help your people with their questions as soon as you can.

6. What lessons have you learned?

You need to have patience and keep on repeating. It’s repeating, repeating, repeating and then the knowledge and the use comes about. That’s a very important lesson I learned. Don’t give up too quickly. Just keep on repeating, and the users will get it.

7. What has been your impact on your organization’s and teams’ adoption of TrendMiner?

I think I’ve had a rather large impact, not only in Hoboken but as I mentioned before, with the other business units looking at TrendMiner. For now, as for Umicore Worldwide, I think we made TrendMiner as the standard application for self-service analytics, so I think I had quite a part in that. So yes, I had a really good impact on Umicore’s adoption of TrendMiner.

8. What is your overall impression of the coach program?

Well, the coach program has worked very well for us, and it should remain the same for all starting users. But I think we should expand the program for the existing users because we need to give them new information to keep everybody on board, interested, and motivated to use TrendMiner. In the beginning, everything was new, so we got a lot of response. Now, we need to keep the interest by providing relevant and exciting use cases/examples.

TrendMiner Coaches: Inspiring Their Teams to Make Data-Driven Decisions 

Dave is on the ground, in the plant trenches, and as a TrendMiner coach he has had a tremendous impact on its adoption and use. As Dave said, his main responsibilities are about inspiring the team to use TrendMiner and to use it properly to help them with their processes. 

We are psyched along with Dave about inspiring existing users and expanding their knowledge and experience – to share use cases and other people’s experiences. 

Join the Self-Service Analytics Community – Set up a free consultation and demo today.

Additional Resources