December 8, 2011
But That's Not When MY Day Starts!
ProFicient SPC Software offers a lot of great ways to select, filter and sort data. Users often take advantage of Part, Process, Test, descriptors and time to ensure they’re getting the data they need.
One of my favorites for overview reports are the dynamic date/time selection that can show data for the ‘Current’ or ‘Previous’ day, week, month, etc. These selections allow users to see only the information for time frames like “today” or “yesterday”, which are often the most pressing time frames, especially with process events.
Customers who have selected the current or previous day will notice that ProFicient assumes that the day starts at midnight and ends at 11:59:59 PM. For those customers who run 24/7, this definition may or may not be accurate. What if the workday at your company begins at 6:00:00 AM and ends the following day at 5:59:59 AM? Are you just out of luck? Not at all! There are some options that can be added/modified in your public IQS_SYS.INI folder that allows the definition of when a day and week begins.
Before you tear off and try the items in the following paragraphs, please think about the changes being made and whether these changes should apply to all ProFicient workstations. The settings in the public IQS_SYS.INI file apply to all workstations, so extreme care should be taking when enacting these changes. Also, will this new definition of a day and/or week apply to all workstations, or does the definition change plant-by-plant (if you’re in an enterprise-wide database) or department-by-department? Most likely, the answer is "no", but it’s important to think these things through before making changes like the proverbial bull in a China shop!
If you do have different definitions for the starting of a day/week, contact InfinityQS technical support to discuss how this can still be accomplished. Assuming you want these changes to apply to all workstations, let’s proceed.
Making the Changes
The IQS_SYS.INI file located in the public folder (typically in a network location, ask your InfinityQS administrator) controls many aspects of how ProFicient “behaves”. The IQS_SYS.INI file can be opened in any text editor, with Notepad being the most common application users tend to use. Upon opening the file you will find many sections, navigate down the file until you find:
; Data Access Options
The ‘DATA_ACCESS’ section controls aspects of how data is accessed from ProFicient-- imagine that! Look for the following entries. If you can’t find them in the ‘DATA_ACCESS’ section, they can be created by typing or copying/pasting the following text.
; Modifies the starting time (hour) for the beginning of a day.
; This affects the behavior of the data selection when Current or Last Day is used for data selection.
; The offset is from Midnight and is specified in number of hours. Value can be negative.
; Default=0; no offset specified.
; Modifies the starting day for the beginning of a week.
; This affects the behavior of the data selection when Current or Last Week is used for data selection.
; The offset is from Sunday and is specified in number of days. Value can be negative.
; Default=0; no offset specified.
The content after the semi-colons is not required, they are notes for the user’s convenience and the semi-colon is used to indicate they are comments and won’t be accessed by ProFicient. Notice that the default for both ‘DS_DAYOFFSET’ and ‘DS_WEEKOFFSET’ is zero. A day is assumed to stat at midnight and a week is assumed to start at midnight on Sunday. Offsets to both of these can be made to get the desired effect.
Notice with the defaults of zero for each item, my date range for the current day and week begin at midnight and midnight Sunday, respectively.
Changing the settings for each of these items to reflect days starting at 6:00:00 AM and weeks starting on Saturday will result in the following values.
The DS_DAYOFFSET indicates how many hours from midnight the start of a day should be shifted. Positive values will move the starting of a day forward, which means the day will start after midnight. Negative values will move the starting of a day backward, which means the day will start before midnight.
The DS_WEEKOFFSET indicates how many days from Sunday the start of a week should be shifted. Positive values will move the starting of the week forward, which means the week will start after Sunday. Negative values will move the starting of the week backward, which means the week will start before Sunday.
For this example I wanted days to start at 6:00:00 AM and the week to start on Saturday, so I had to use both positive and negative values. Did it work? After restarting ProFicient, because the IQS_SYS.INI file is only read on launching the application, the same date range selections now result in the new values.
That’s it! The change made to the public IQS_SYS.INI file will be reflected for all users the next time ProFicient is launched and the week now begins at 6:00:00 AM on Saturday.
How is this option used?
The most common use or need for this option is when a site wants to report on items on a daily work weekly basis. Questions like, “How many spec violations have we had today?” or “What are the line capabilities for last week?” can easily be answered using these time definitions. Some customers find it convenient to setup Process Event Paretos or Capability Reports with defined time frames for easy access by supervisors, managers, engineers, etc. The following image shows how charts configured for specific time frames can provide a quick reference when summary information is needed.
Of course, these reports are only the beginning of the analysis that ProFicient can provide and can serve as a starting point for the user to determine which other charts and reports to utilize.