Everyone is familiar with dashboards, right? We use them all the time in software, and on the internet—to check on our email (Outlook), in online banking, to run our fantasy (insert baseball, football, or whatever sport you prefer here) team—they are everywhere in our modern, virtual worlds.
Generally speaking, the purpose of dashboards is to provide a snapshot, an overview, of something (a process, in manufacturing), to help you make timely decisions at a glance. Is it time to move money from savings into checking? Is it time to start clearing some space in my Inbox? Is my shortstop hitting well enough to keep him in the lineup? It’s relevant information you can take in quickly and decide whether or not you need to take any action. The dashboard is our friend.
The power of dashboards in Enact®
, the InfinityQS Quality Intelligence solution, is manifold: time savings for both the user and the person configuring the system, consistency, quick and thorough analysis, and adaptability. There are many more, but let’s start with these.
Dashboards in Enact—Saving Time
The number one thing I would say about dashboards in Enact is they are time-savers for users
. To explain, let’s take a quick step back. Everyone in manufacturing quality uses control charts, right? Of course. And think about why. To garner information so you can make a decision
to adjust a process or just leave it be. Make sense?
Well, dashboards in Enact can do that for you. The dashboard, in fact, takes things a step further, offering up charts in a timely fashion that need your attention. Otherwise, don’t worry about it! The user never has to “sift” through control charts. The only things the user needs to see are the data streams that are not meeting your expectations (think statistical and specification limit violations).
Dashboards to the Rescue
This frees you up to decide on what action to take. That’s really the point. Your dashboard in Enact can show you statistical violations, or missed data checks—two very different things, with different actions to take, but they can reside side-by-side on your dashboard. A one-stop-shop, one place to look, big time savings, greater efficiency. What’s not to love?
And the Configuration Team
A major focus of dashboard design in Enact is to make them easy to setup and use for many different roles. Building a dashboard takes almost no time. You decide which tiles you want on a dashboard, move and resize them to meet your needs, determine what data should be displayed (by selecting a parameter set) and…well, that’s it!
Those tiles populate with the data relevant to whichever user is signed in. You don’t need a dashboard for Site A operators and a separate dashboard for Site B operators. The intent is you can make an operator dashboard that works for ALL of your operators. This saves time not only in the initial configuration, but greatly reduces the time to make edits and updates. Why is this important? Because you’ll probably learn something at Site D that will make you say, “Doh! I wish I had that at Sites A, B, and C!” One simple addition means EVERYONE gets the update. That’s saving time in configuration.
Dashboards in Enact—Consistency
Dashboards are shared by users in Enact. Using shared dashboards provides a couple of types of consistency
. First, there’s the consistency of analysis method
. Everyone is using the same metrics
. Are we using yield, or are we using percentage out-of-spec? There's no opportunity for a user to say, "Wait, what? I thought we were supposed to be using Pp and Ppk, but you're using Cp and Cpk?"
The admin who sets up the dashboard adds those items, so everyone is working from the same sheet of music, so to speak, and the system calculates everything for you. (Side note: the interesting thing about Cp, Cpk, Pp, and Ppk is that although they’re common metrics, they aren't universally defined.)
The importance of consistency cannot be overstated. With everyone using the same dashboards in Enact, you are guaranteed that they are all using the same analysis and metrics.
But What About Me?
There’s an interesting dilemma (sort of) that many organizations face when it comes to dashboards and their current system. And that dilemma, simply stated, is this: different regions need to see different data. But that’s not a show-stopper by any means. Not for Enact.
There’s no need to build separate dashboards simply because your region needs to see some data that’s a bit different from my region. The data you see in Enact is dependent upon your role. If your role is, for example, supervisor in the Northeast region, then on the dashboard that everyone uses
you see the data that is pertinent to the supervisor of the Northeast region. I mean, why create dozens of dashboards when the differentiator is just the data trends that are important to specific roles?
No matter what data that different users need to see, they can all use the same dashboard. This is consistency that makes sense and makes Enact easy to set up.
Dashboards in Enact—The Power of Analysis
I think the most interesting aspect of dashboards is that you don’t have to feel like you’re wallowing in the details all the time. You can rise above the nitty-gritty of the data that’s flowing into your system, easily make comparisons across different products, product lines, sites, or even regions with an Enact dashboard.
Using control charts, it’s a lot more involved. They just weren’t designed to do that; it’s not really the right tool. With control charts, you’re supposed
to be in the details, in the weeds. With dashboards, you float above.
Dashboards enable the kind of analysis that manufacturers can really appreciate. Rather than take an exorbitant amount of time with paper and pencil, you can make the kind of comparisons you need to make with a dashboard in a few clicks of the mouse. And that can only be better for your operations; rather than slogging through compilations and calculations once a quarter to see how everyone is doing, isn’t it better to just keep an eye on things all the time and know how everyone is doing at all times? That’s power.
For example, you’re experiencing an issue in your operations, having a problem with this product at this site right now. You use the same suppliers for raw materials at our other two sites. Are they having the same problems or not? It might be a raw materials thing. It might just be something that happened at this particular site. You can start to do that sort of analysis, and the dashboard helps to highlight that. It's what makes the data come alive
Dashboards in Enact—Adaptable and Powerful
Even though dashboards are designed and created as a common tool—giving everyone the same starting point—they're also designed to accommodate what you might need to be looking at right now to solve a specific problem
. One way you enable that in a dashboard is with filters:
Here's the parameter set I use to look at all the data for the last week. Yeah, but I just want to look at yesterday. Great. Go to the time filter and select yesterday. There you go.
You didn't have to go through a whole bunch of crazy steps to do something. You can easily get down to the exact data that you want. And the person who configures the system for the users can easily set up, say, a Box & Whisker plot and let everyone know, "This is how you should be looking at the data down to these four levels." Perhaps it's by the feature and then by the process, and then parts, and then maybe by the shift.
Let’s say, as an operator, you are thinking, "Today I'm having problems between machines 1, 2, and 3, and lots 1, 2, and 4." On your dashboard, you can easily add another layer to that Box & Whisker plot that is set up by lots. And here’s the kicker: we have designed our dashboards so that when you go in and add that level of analysis, it doesn’t mess up the dashboard for everyone else. It only adds that level for you.
And if you navigate away from the dashboard and come back, it remembers your selections, so it allows you to still be flexible. It allows you to still do what it is that you need to do—but using one common tool. And then, when you’re done with that and can’t really remember exactly what you did, you can go quickly and easily up to the top and select reset dashboard—and it takes things right back to the way that the person who configurated things originally set it up.
Or, let’s say you want to change the selection of columns displayed because, although normally you don't need to see “min” and “max” on your Box & Whisker plots, today you do. Or, for today, you have a change of responsibilities. This changes the notifications you see on your dashboard. You see all the problems you’re having with this particular set of responsibilities. Today you’re on line one. Great. Enact will show you just the notifications for line one. But sometimes things change, mid-day, so: "Oh wait, now line one and line two." No problem; Enact will expose those to you.
What we’ve done is taken to heart the concept of a centralized dashboard—
so you don't have to build a million dashboards. But you still need to do what you need to do.
One last word about adaptability in Enact. We use responsive design. And it’s a game-changer for devices. We use tiles on the dashboard, for instance, so that you don't have to make a separate dashboard for a PC versus a tablet versus a smart phone. You can use that one dashboard and it will just “reconfigure itself” to the device you’re using. That’s pretty powerful.
As you can see, the power of dashboards in Enact comes in many forms: time savings for both the user and the person configuring they system, consistency, quick and thorough analysis, and adaptability.
I like to think of it as sort of an extension of the dashboard in my car: how fast am I going? How much fuel do I have? How many miles have I logged? I get all that information in a glance or two. With Enact, you get all the information you need about how your processes are performing in just a glance or two…and so much more.
Please read these other blogs about dashboards:
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