Clarity, vision, foresight

It’s understatement to say that these are distracting times. While I felt out of sorts considering the many ways we might jump start the economy, 789 billion ways has my head spinning. (Did anyone ask the grandkids if that was OK?) If the U.S. economy had dashboard software used in manufacturing, the outcome would have been different.
By Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief March 1, 2009

It’s understatement to say that these are distracting times. While I felt out of sorts considering the many ways we might jump start the economy, 789 billion ways has my head spinning. (Did anyone ask the grandkids if that was OK?)

If the U.S. economy had dashboard software used in manufacturing, the outcome would have been different. The gauges might still be running in the green instead of printing green. Software with dashboard capabilities provides an overview at a glance (often with drill-down capabilities). It enhances clarity, visibility, and foresight into operations, allowing decision-makers to respond to changing variables more quickly, so everything runs closer to optimal.

Three questions to ask if you’re considering implementing a dashboard:

  1. How will you manage operations differently with the data it provides?

  2. What will you measure and how? A few key performance drivers (KPDs, such as downtime) might be a lot more effective than a lot of key performance indicators (KPIs, such as operational equipment efficiency, OEE).

  3. What is your philosophy? For instance, a continuous improvement approach is likely to be more effective than a project-by-project view.

This advice, offered by Wayne Morris, CEO of myDials, echos a well-known mantra: Get the right information to the right people at the right times, and great things happen.

Beyond that, the tools will show you what might happen and advise appropriately. Or change a parameter or two to see the resulting scenario. Do you want your fuel-efficient, consistent, high-speed train plunging into the canyon or switching onto another track, avoiding the washed out bridge, and diverting to a safer, more profitable destination ahead of schedule?

If revenue isn’t where it’s supposed to be, Morris says, a reaction can be to complain to sales. But what’s the order status? Is it an inventory challenge? Where’s the visibility into the process to find the root cause and cure? The dashboard links to appropriate context and leads to action, leading to the best decision to match goals in real time.

Dashboard software can be implemented in less than a month—even considering all connections across locations. In the end you’ll have one version of the truth to compare units, lines, and plants. So, stop walking around thinking it should be easier than it is. Instead, look at the clarity, vision, and foresight gauges on your dashboard.

MHoske@cfemedia.com

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