Quality Magazine

Quality Remix: A Very Cool Solution

July 19, 2010
Grayhill’s Key Performance Indicator Dashboard

Last month I participated in a joint Hertzler Systems & Minitab User Conference in Chicago. There is a lot of overlap, at least in the manufacturing world, between our customers and it made a lot of sense to get a bunch of people together. QualiFine Inc., our shared business partner, hosted the meeting.

We had great presentations from a bunch of people, but the show stealer, by far, was by Jamie Dobravec, VP Operations for Grayhill. Grayhill makes switches, optical encoders, joysticks, keypads so forth.

Maybe it was because Jamie was talking about something near and dear to my heart – KPI Dashboards. Jamie has been using a real-time SPC solution for years. As a manufacturing engineer he had became accustomed to relying on it for up-to-the minute shop floor quality and performance data.

All these years later he is now been promoted to VP, and he found himself longing for timely business metrics – things like month-to-date sales performance, gross profit margin, on time deliveries and first pass yield. His ERP system had all this information, but he couldn’t get to it.

Well, that’s not quite true. He could get to it, but it meant manually running nine different queries on his AS400, and then cutting and pasting data into Excel so he could turn it into a graph. The manual process was so time consuming that he just couldn’t do it and do his real job. And like everyone else, he is operating lean – so there is nobody he can throw the work at and say “I need this report every day at 7am.” So in reality, he couldn’t get to it.

He also considered traditional BI and ERP reporting solutions, and found they had lots of zeros in the price tag. Given the cash crunch of the recession, he couldn’t justify the expense. Jamie sat down and sketched out what he wanted with Jay Bronec, President of QualiFine. He said it wasn’t on a napkin, but as close as you can get without lunch. Jay went to work and put together a very cool solution.

Now with a couple of clicks, Jamie gets an up-to-the-minute dashboard of his critical business performance metrics (KPIs). More importantly, he can drill into the raw data and see trend charts or Pareto charts behind the dashboards. It’s all there. Every day he knows exactly where he stands.

You can read more about Jamie’s solution here and here.

What about you? Would a dashboard of your organization’s Key Performance Indicators help you make better, more timely business decisions? Who in your business cares about month-to-date sales performance, gross profit margin, on time deliveries and first pass yield?