Modern SPC solutions act as business intelligence tools—enabling your manufacturing teams to make informed decisions based on real-time production data.

With this intelligence—which includes features like dashboards, reports, and discovery tools—you can extract valuable insights from your data. The result is improved strategic decision making, which gives you an advantage over competitors and helps your bottom line.

Let’s explore the business intelligence found in modern quality management solutions.

Quality Intelligence

A modern quality management solution, like those InfinityQS offers, integrates business information across a range of systems—such as Enterprise Resource Planning systems (ERPs), Manufacturing Execution Systems (MESs), Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs), custom database systems, and their data sources—in a way that allows the information to be presented as needed by the different business audiences and helps improve strategic decision-making.

A foundational essay in the journal Information Technology describes five key stages of business intelligence:

  • Data sourcing
  • Data analysis
  • Situation awareness
  • Risk assessment
  • Decision support

You’ll find all those stages supported in a modern quality management solution. It provides business intelligence, surfaces important information where it’s needed most, and helps manufacturers continuously improve, maintain compliance, and grow their business.

Data Sourcing

Business intelligence is about extracting information from multiple sources of data. The key to data sourcing is to obtain the information in electronic form.

Typical sources of data might include scanners, gauges, scales, digital cameras, and other measurement and data collection devices.

With InfinityQS quality management software systems, data can be input manually, semi-automatically, or fully automatically. Two important InfinityQS tools, Data Management System (DMS) and Data Collection Service (DCS), automatically feed data into the system.

  • DMS receives data values from equipment like checkweighers, text files, databases (ERP, MES, CMMs), and OPC servers.
  • Once DMS “harvests” data from equipment sources, DCS standardizes it for use in our quality management solutions—Enact® and Proficient™.

By utilizing both DMS and DCS in your quality system, you can marry all the separate, disparate data together and then display it in a useful, easy-to-understand fashion.

Data Analysis

Business Intelligence is about synthesizing useful knowledge from collections of data. It is about estimating current trends, integrating and summarizing disparate information, validating models of understanding, and predicting missing information or future trends.

InfinityQS quality management software is known for data analysis—powered by data aggregation and prioritization.

When data is aggregated, you can review quality performance across production lines, shifts, facilities, and geographical distances. This “bird’s eye view” is critical for prioritizing process areas that your team can improve and make the biggest impact.

Extracting manufacturing intelligence from the quality data you already collect is not hard. You just need a system that will support shop floor, enterprise-wide data collection. It needs to aggregate that data and make it easily consumable for managers, engineers, and quality professionals.

Aggregating data across your enterprise is important to continuous improvement. By aggregating you can integrate and summarize disparate information and predict future trends. That higher-level view enables you to effectively prioritize tasks for improvement.

Situation Awareness

Business intelligence is about filtering irrelevant information and framing the remaining information in the context of the business and its environment. To understand and make decisions, a shop floor operator needs relevant information and summaries that are syntheses of all the relevant data.

Exception reporting is an InfinityQS capability that enables that kind of situation awareness. Operators are busy and can’t waste time constantly staring at charts, waiting for out-of-spec events to occur. Exception reporting filters out irrelevant information and surfaces only the pertinent information—for this particular user and their assigned responsibilities—such as quality events or issues that need to be addressed.

That way they can focus on performing the most important aspect of their job—manufacturing consistent, high-quality products.

Risk Assessment

Business intelligence helps you understand potential actions and find the best course of action based on factors like risk, cost, and benefits. It is about inferring and summarizing your best options or choices.

With InfinityQS quality management solutions, once data has been gathered across your plant, multiple plants in a region, or entire enterprise, you can perform “post-data entry analysis.” In other words, you summarize all the data that's been collected, and allow the software and statistical tools to provide insights that you can use to make high-level quality improvements across multiple plants.

This type of data aggregation and high-level analysis can help you direct Six Sigma teams to areas where their actions can generate the greatest quality benefits for your company. Strategic decisions like this minimize risk and reduce costs.

Decision Support

Business intelligence is about using information wisely. It warns you of important events, such as takeovers, market changes, and poor staff performance, so that you can take appropriate steps. It helps you analyze and make better business decisions. That can improve sales, customer satisfaction, and staff morale.

InfinityQS quality management software is business intelligence for manufacturing. The software presents information your operators and quality personnel need when they need it. With it, you can make strategic decisions to ensure your processes are optimized.

When your professional analysts— Six Sigma teams, managers, engineers (and others)—look at summarized data, they distill the information down to a point at which they can tell where your organization has the greatest opportunities for improvement. Defects, costs, overruns, overfills, underfills, too much scrap—these are the kinds of insights that come from the data that companies gather, aggregate, and analyze.

Business Intelligence Delivers Meaningful ROI

The biggest return on investment you can achieve with your business intelligence systems are found in summary data. If your teams don’t stop and analyze lots of data on a regular basis, you are missing out on the biggest opportunities for cost savings and quality improvement. InfinityQS quality management solutions are here to help cut through the noise and identify continuous improvement opportunities.

Curious what a modern, digital SPC shop floor looks like? Visit the InfinityQS website to see the benefits of adopting a complete quality management solution.