Manufacturers have been looking for a way to replace static product quality reports for a long time. And now that the reporting dynamic has abruptly shifted due to the pandemic, that need has become imperative. Delivering information to the user is key to your manufacturing quality control efforts. And it’s essential that the information be accessible in real time, whether your users are onsite or working remotely.
Modern, cloud-based quality management software enables this instant enterprise-wide visibility through the use of dashboards. Three characteristics of dashboards make them invaluable to manufacturers:
- A visually compelling delivery system
- Reporting made easy (with the help of a centralized data repository)
- Role-based alerts and notifications
1. Visual Delivery System
So, what is a “visual delivery system?” It’s the way your SPC-based quality system displays information, how easy it is to get to what you need, the timeliness of the information, and how easily you can convey that information to upper management.
The visual delivery system of a dashboard presents an easy-to-use, easy-to-understand, interface. And it’s tailored to each individual user’s role and needs.
Get Operators What They Want and What They Need
A customized dashboard delivers what we call prioritized, or tailored, content. It’s the information that you, the user, need to see. Without all the other extraneous stuff that can distract you. And it’s not just your dashboard, it’s also the notifications that you need to see.
That “need to see” information is prioritized data—the information that requires your attention. This could be exception reporting—like specification violations, statistical violations, and so forth. The dashboard could prioritize data collections that require immediate attention because they are due soon. Or it might organize data streams in order of violations.
All this is designed to reduce the information you must absorb before taking action—while still making the rest of the information available for browsing.
2. Statistical Analysis Methodologies and Reporting Procedures Made Easy
I think we can all agree that reporting is important. Modern SPC has made it possible to improve your data collection, analysis, and overall quality management. But, understandably, you also need to be able to communicate your findings to upper management.
Dashboards simplify reporting for quality professionals and enable easier communication and analysis for corporate executives.
For Quality Professionals
Typically, manufacturing quality professionals are creating reports on a periodic basis, which might be weekly, monthly, or even quarterly. To do that, they have to go out and find all the information they need, wherever it may be. Usually, that information is spread out in different systems. A cloud-based software solution brings all the information you could possibly need for your reports into one place.
Once your quality professionals get all the information they need together, they must put that information into a format that means something to the audience they’re presenting it to: upper management. As you can imagine, this type of work is time consuming. For even a small organization, this type of activity can take a whole day or more—and that’s in the hands of an experienced quality pro!
For Upper Management
Dashboards take a lot of the burden of analysis off the plate of upper management. When the quality pros use a dashboard, the reports that upper management receives are no longer stacks of spreadsheets they need to pore over to glean any information.
Old fashioned reports are a static snapshot and are out-of-date the moment they’re produced. With the passage of time, they only get more and more out of date. If upper management has any questions or concerns, they must talk to the original author—and that person usually ends up doing more work to arrive at what is asked for. It’s a time-consuming process, to say the least.
The power of the dashboard for upper management lies in what they end up looking at: up-to-the-minute information. And when they see something of interest, they can drill down into the details of it with a click. Instant answers and insights, and therefore quicker changes. That’s power!
Centralized Data Repository
An important aspect of the dashboard is it gives you complete visibility into your quality data. This is done via centralized data, and by delivering access to targeted data, filtered by role so that users get just what they need when they need it.
Regardless of the data source, a modern cloud-based system stores all your data in a central repository from which it can be configured, aggregated, analyzed, and compared. Centralized data can be analyzed in aggregate across the company and compared between lines, departments, and sites to optimize insight into manufacturing operations.
Ideally, a dashboard consists of customizable tiles that provide data at a glance and allow users to drill down into details. And after a dashboard has been created, users with different roles and access levels can customize it to meet their needs, without affecting the dashboard for other users. That way your organization can reap the benefits of standardized analysis while still giving users the tools they need to improve the quality of processes and products for which they are responsible.
Standardized dashboards are important because they promote consistent practices and standard operating procedures across the company. With everyone using the same tools to look at data from a central repository, users with different roles can make consistent decisions to benefit product and process quality.
3. Notifications: Process Control and Monitoring Made Easy
Too much data makes it difficult for users to filter out the noise and focus on the priorities they need to pay attention to. A dashboard’s highly visual user experience streamlines delivery of the specific information that each user needs.
By automating notifications, such as when data collection or compliance checks are due, you are helping your operators—the frontline soldiers in the war against rising costs and manufacturing imperfections. Providing automatic reminders takes the guesswork out of when they need to gather data. It means that they don’t have to keep checking the clock on the wall or continually glancing at their wristwatch. And it means that there is little possibility of forgetting a data check or violating critical compliance requirements.
Made for the Enterprise—No Matter the Size
So, what does all this about easy reporting and a centralized data repository mean? It means that cloud-based quality intelligence software is perfect not only for smaller companies trying to get a better handle on their processes, but it’s also perfect for larger enterprises, too.
This level of data access and customization is a highly practical solution that can relieve the intense pressure that manufacturers are under during the current crisis. Even better, it is a way to transform the way you do business going forward—by seeing the big picture of how your processes work across the organization.
To generate big returns on your SPC quality software investment, you need to focus on the big picture. Look at data that represents quality information across multiple production lines, shifts, plants—across the entire enterprise. Data aggregation—rolling up data across your manufacturing enterprise—enables you to uncover where the greatest opportunities exist for reducing waste, reducing costs, and improving quality. This is how you get a huge return on your SPC investment.
Dashboards in a Quality Intelligence platform make life easier for everyone.
To support the manufacturing community during these challenging times, InfinityQS is offering our cloud-based Quality Intelligence solution, Enact, free for 3 months. To learn more and enroll, visit our website.