Interview with Dr. Irina Hondralis about her role as Digital Consultant in Singapore

Innovations bring progress - but also challenges. In the new Heraeus Innovation Experts series, Heraeus talks to innovation experts about current trends and their impact on companies. Today's topic: Digitalization projects in Asia.

Dr. Irina Hondralis is a Digital Consultant in Singapore and works with her colleagues of the Heraeus Digital Hub Digital Task Force to develop digital solutions for local Heraeus' businesses.

What her role entails, why she was drawn to Singapore, and what the current trends are in the digital sector in Asia, she reveals to us in this interview.

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Hi Irina, I'm glad you found time to talk to us about digitization today.

I'd love to. I'm glad to be here.

You're a Digital Consultant in Singapore, what does that role entail?

In the digital area, we deal with digitizing analog processes. This means generating data and insights from these processes and making them available to the business.

As a digital consultant, I am involved in understanding the problem that the business units have and finding a digital solution to that problem and then tailoring it with the business to that use case, that problem, and also implementing it.

In doing so, I went to Asia for Heraeus to support and drive the digital transformation in the business units in Asia.

And why Singapore, what motivated you personally to go to Singapore?

Asia is a fast-growing market and also an important market for Heraeus, since we generate 40 percent or more of our revenues there. Singapore is a kind of hub or gateway, since Western and Eastern cultures combine or merge there, and many large companies also have their locations there - as do we at Heraeus.

Asia has always interested me. I've backpacked through many countries and I love Asian food and I find the culture there fascinating. Going to Asia was of course a unique opportunity professionally, to broaden my horizons and also to keep up with the growth in the region in terms of my professional development. So it made sense to go to Singapore and work from there.

Now from your personal motivation to your current projects. Would you like to give us an insight here?

Very much so. With the one project, I'm dealing with visual inspection - as Heraeus, we have to ensure for the customer that the product quality is always very good, and that often means that we have to separate good parts from bad parts.

This means that we often place these parts under a microscope and inspect whether they are good or bad parts. We at the Heraeus Digital Hub are working on an algorithm that automatically distinguishes between these good and bad parts, so that we can reject these bad parts directly and save ourselves this manual production assurance process. In this way, we also hope to increase customer satisfaction, since we only deliver good parts to the customer.

This algorithm also makes this whole process less subjective and requires less training from our colleagues in the field.

Another project that comes to mind is the OEE project. This is about increasing equipment efficiency, i.e. the productivity of the machine. We collect data about the machine in order to understand what the reasons are for this machine to stop and to combat and address the causes of these reasons - together with the engineers on site.

What current trends do you think companies in the region should not miss in the digital sector?

For me, end-to-end digital transformation is an important trend. It's about gathering data from the customer's initial inquiry to product delivery, linking these insights together and optimizing this entire process, this journey that the customer goes through, and gaining insights for the future. Of course, many functions are involved and there are data silos in all of these functions.

A big challenge is to break down these data silos, to connect this data and change management also plays an important role.

Thank you Irina

Very much