During a recent client engagement, at a global network power connectivity supplier, I ran into a common theme, one of which I have experienced many times over – providing visibility, transparency, and insight into their operations. I was there to implement a data visualization environment into the manufacturing operations on several LCDs, within various functional areas of the production environment. Management’s goal was to provide more visibility, accountability, and ultimately improve the efficiency of their operations to decrease the time to customer (TTC).
After working with the MIS department on the development of dashboards and scorecards designed to cycle through, and depict real-time KPIs, on various LCDs located on the production floor, I noticed an immediate reaction from the employees. The reaction was “all eyes on me”; I could tell that they now had a new sense of accountability that had not been there for years. After implementation, management was very complimentary of their team as they began to see the real story behind production metrics such as:
- Time from customer order to attaining parts for build
- The timeframe of actual / budgeted time for part build at each production station
- Where the bottlenecks existed
- Why the bottlenecks existed
- Final assembly and quality assurance
- Time to ship from QA to logistics
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As a result of these metrics, management had a new sense of visibility that a weekly 50 page PDF report couldn’t clearly outline – and the light bulb went on. Little to my knowledge, there were many corporate managers in town and a key reason was to develop a strategy to improve their manufacturing process on an engineering level. After seeing the benefits the LCDs were providing on the manufacturing floor they began to explore whether or not a BI tool would also provide insight into their engineering and operational challenges.
Ultimately, they found that data visualization, the ability to perform analytical scenarios, and real-time alerts would provide engineering and operations with the visibility to better control the overall operations and customer satisfaction. The knowledge I gained from this experience is that data visualization speaks a common language, a clear concise message that the traditional reporting methods lack, where root cause analysis is difficult to decipher, and even more difficult to predict future trends.
Andy Jesudowich– Technical Consultant, iDashboards