F1 can teach lessons on data analytics, conference told

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
17 November 2014

Do not overburden people with data if you want them to operate efficiently, a conference was told.

Mike Phillips, business director at McLaren Applied Technologies, said collecting data was important but it was necessary to only give people the information they needed.

Speaking at the IGD Supply Chain Summit, Phillips presented an example of a real F1 incident in which Lewis Hamilton suffered damage to a tyre.

Phillips said the incident was one of many scenarios that had been modelled prior to the race, with data used to identify the optimum response in terms of the replacement tyre and how much refuelling should take place during the pit stop. However, to drive the car efficiently, Hamilton did not need to know all this data.

“We bring data-led design analytics and operational excellence to a range of industries,” said Phillips.

“Crunch with the big data, but people can’t cope with it: present them with small dashboards.”

Phillips said it was important to identify clear goals in a business setting, as opposed to F1 where it was obvious who crossed the line first. “What does winning look like?” he said.

He said plans were necessary but they had to be flexible in the face of unpredictable events. “Have a plan, but realise it’s wrong,” he said.

Phillips also made clear that using technology and data was not automation, but it did require new ways of working. “We are giving people the right information to make decisions,” he said.

“Technology always requires new ways of working, otherwise it’s just an expense. If it doesn’t change the way you do things, there’s no point using it.”


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