iDashboards for Manufacturing Providing Insight for Operational Success

Dashboards can positively change the way we view, disperse and work with information. They allow for a better understanding of data and greatly reduces the amount of time spent gathering and analyzing data. However, as decision makers are presented with such varied information, a key challenge remains in presenting the information. Software companies continually try to improve their report formats, using charts and graphs to provide a user-friendly interface to data and information. iDashboards for Manufacturing Providing Insight for Operational Success An iDashboards Whitepaper “Use of the dashboards has allowed us to identify adverse trends quickly and implement corrective actions to address the problems. This has allowed us to improve efficiency within the plant and drive incre- mental improvement in overall performance.” —Ray Snell, IS Director, Drake Extrusion iDashboards for Manufacturing Providing Insight for Operational Success An iDashboards Whitepaper Contents 1. Overview 3 2. Exponential Growth in Data 3 3. Dashboards for Manufacturing 3 4. Managing Through Metrics 4 5. Dashboard Users 4 6. Differences Between Dashboards and Reports 4 7. Introduction to iDashboards 5 8. Applications of iDashboards 5 9. Empowering Employees 5 10. Key Features of iDashboards 5 Microsoft Excel Integration 5 100% Browser Based 6 Role-Based Security and Privileges 6 Data Drilldown 6 View versus Save Privilege 6 Ease of Use 6 Scalable 6 Data Pivoting and Filtering 6 Real-Time Alerts 7 Real-Time Analytics 7 Reporting 7 11. Software Requirements 7 2. 1. Overview Organizations around the world are rapidly adopting business intelligence dashboards to provide insight into their daily and long-term operations. In recent years, dashboards have become even more common among the public as an increased number of service providers offer dashboards to their customers to monitor metrics such as sales, credit card expenses and monthly bills. By definition, a dashboard is a visual display of the most important information needed to achieve one or more objectives, consolidated and arranged on a single screen so the information can be monitored at-a-glance. Dashboards have become a preferred user interface for presenting information. Dashboards can positively change the way we view, disperse and work with information. They allow for a better understanding of data and greatly reduces the amount of time spent gathering and analyzing data. 2. Exponential Growth in Data Following Moore’s law, as computing power doubles every two years, so does the ability to collect and process greater amounts of data. This in turn has led to growth in the applications of the collected data in every field. However, as decision makers are presented with such varied information, a key challenge remains in presenting the information. Software companies continually try to improve their report formats, using charts and graphs to provide a user-friendly interface to data and information. One offshoot of such innovation is the dashboard. Business intelligence has adopted the dashboard concept of displaying data to the driver of an automobile through a collection of gauges and meters. 3. Dashboards for Manufacturing Manufacturing organizations are increasingly adopting business intelligence dashboards to gain insight into their data and monitor performance. Manufacturers leverage dashboards to track and gain an at-a-glance view of key performance indicators (KPIs), saving time and resources. Dashboard displays can include tables, charts, maps and other innovative visual cues such as thermometers, traffic lights, speedometers, etc. Such a dashboard may also contain links to other pertinent information, summaries, highlights, personalized information and external URLs. Manufacturing dashboards can be customized for each organization, common dashboards utilized within the industry are Production Dashboards, Supply Chain Dashboards, Quality Control and Six Sigma and Executive Dashboards. 3. 4. Managing Through Metrics Successful management requires developing appropriate metrics to measure performance relative to objectives. Creating metrics and aligning them with organizational objectives is key in establishing an effective monitoring system. A scorecard is a popular term for describing such a monitoring system and mapping it to individual responsibilities. Dashboards are particularly effective in delivering a scorecard to a wide audience. It is common to expect that different user groups within your organization will require different sets of metrics and dashboards. The creation of a diverse and rich collection of KPIs makes dashboards an essential driver for change and positive transformation. 5. Dashboard Users Dashboards are not only for top-level executives, even though it is the traditional perception of dashboards. Dashboards are increasingly becoming a tool for tactical and operational levels within the organization. Administrators, directors, managers, executives and IT personnel will find dashboards helpful. However, each department must be able to see the metrics relevant to itself, and individuals within the department must have secured access to the metrics they own. Dashboards must, therefore, be deployed within a framework of relevance, roles, privileges and security. Simply put, each user with access to a dashboard will have permission to view metrics that he or she owns and will not be able to obtain/view information that is unauthorized for that individual. 6. Differences Between Dashboards and Reports There is a common notion that a dashboard is a collection of reports on a single screen. Put together a collection of spreadsheets with some charts in the mix, and it becomes a dashboard. Such a presentation may meet a very basic definition of a dashboard, but it fails in delivering the essence of a metrics dashboard. Dashboards can be utilized as a very effective means of communicating information for which spreadsheets or reports are ill-equipped. Reports may be effective at presenting raw data but fail to deliver dynamic insight into the data. With recent advances in data visualization, new forms of conveying information are available that are far more effective. A well-designed dashboard uses color and graphical symbols to create a whole new paradigm of information portrayal, next to which the reporting paradigm pales. Such dashboards require very little user training and have a much higher adoption rate. They engage the user in an interactive and media-rich interface and deliver information empowerment to business users. Moreover, dashboards provide drilldown into details, enabling root-cause analysis. Such ready access to accurate and in- depth information far outperforms the reporting paradigm to which we have, until now, been accustomed. 4. Overwhelming spreadsheets Visually rich, graphical dashboards 7. Introduction to iDashboards Through award winning engineering, and patented technology, iDashboards is making it easier to understand your data. iDashboards offers easy-to-build, dynamic dashboards that create context for any user – in any organization – so they can draw real meaning from raw data. 8. Applications of iDashboards Given the visual power of iDashboards to take raw data and convert it into user insight and knowledge, the applications are as diverse as an organization’s needs. The following are some sample application areas: • Cost of Materials Analysis • Average Time to Ship • Fill Rate • Downtime Costs Per Plant • Units Per Distribution Center • Production Per Shift iDashboards can easily communicate and extract data from any standard data storage, including relational databases, flat data files, Microsoft Excel, XML, legacy data systems, etc. This provides iDashboards the ability to serve as the common user interface on a layer of diverse and disparate data sources. 9. Empowering Employees With a clear definition of KPIs, manufacturers are empowering employees to optimize across various organizational objectives. The visibility of performance through dashboards allows everything to be out in the open, with employees working toward the same goals as management. 10. Key Features of iDashboards iDashboards supports a rich collection of data-viewing capabilities using patented Visual Intelligence technology. Users may customize their views with its library of chart types, including tables, 3-D views, geographic maps, metric tickers, animated speedometers, thermometers, presentation charts and customized data displays. Microsoft Excel Integration iDashboards supports the import and export of data to and from Microsoft Excel. A user can import an Excel spreadsheet into any data window within iDashboards and display that data using any of the different data visual formats. The imported data and its associated display preferences can then be saved within iDashboards for future reference and for sharing with other authorized users. 5. SELECT CUSTOMERS 100% Browser Based The iDashboards client application functions completely in a web browser. It is developed using Adobe’s Flex technology and the dashboard interface is presented through the Flash player. Over 98% of installed web browsers already have the Flash plug-in, and it is a free download. Role-Based Security and Privileges iDashboards requires user-authentication before allowing application access. It supports multiple levels of user roles: • Viewer: Ability to view and interact with dashboards in categories they have permissions to open. They have no chart customization privileges. • Business User: All the abilities of the Viewer, plus the ability to customize chart characteristics for themselves. • Analyst: All the abilities of the Business User, plus the ability to create new charts/dashboards that point to live data sources. • Admin: All the abilities of the Analyst, plus the ability to create and manage users, assign privileges and control user access. Data Drilldown iDashboards supports data drilldown through tables, charts and maps. Any data point displayed in a report or chart within the dashboard can be connected to a different chart or report. Similar to a hyperlink, when a user hovers his or her mouse over the linked data point, the cursor changes to indicate that further information can be viewed by clicking (drilling down) on the data point. There is no limit on the levels of drilldowns (such as drilling down through data based on year, quarter, month, day, etc.). The retrace path is intuitively presented to the user through each step of the drilldown. View versus Save Privilege Categories are like folders, with several dashboards contained within a category. Administrators can assign a user to have view or save privileges to a category. View implies that the user can simply view the dashboards and associated charts within that category. Save implies that the user can create new dashboards and charts, or modify existing dashboards and charts within that category. Ease of Use iDashboards is extremely intuitive and user-friendly for all levels of users. It can be deployed to a large user base with very little formal training. Scalable iDashboards can be deployed on a small scale for ten users, or on a large scale serving thousands of users with a single iDashboards deployment. The plug-in-based Flash Engine is designed to provide a fast response with an interactive user experience. The visual displays and graphics are generated in real-time within users’ web browsers by the iDashboards Flash Engine. The communication between the iDashboards Flash Engine and the iDashboards Server is through XML. Data Pivoting and Filtering iDashboards provides the capability to create a pivot within the displayed charts and reports, which is effectively a data filter that is presented to users. By selecting any value displayed within a pivot drop-down, the chart or report is instantly refreshed with data applicable to the selected value. For example, the drop-down could display years and the chart could display percentages or performance metrics. This feature could also be used to represent dynamic cross tabulations. 6. Example of a drilldown. The Northeastern Distribution Center can drilldown by month. In this case, the second image shows a drilldown into the month of July to show units, units/hour, cases/ pick and cases/hour. Real-Time Alerts Dashboards can provide a new level of activity monitoring that has historically been beyond the reach of business users. With real-time alerts, dashboard users are able to configure alerts based on desired thresholds for the KPIs. Such alerts monitor the data at specific points in time and send an email or SMS text message when those thresholds are reached. Whether a user is logged into the dashboard or not, they will be notified instantly when a problem arises. This introduces a whole new level of information leverage that end users may achieve from iDashboards. Real-Time Analytics Real-time analytics provide the user with the ability to perform dynamic calculations on real-time data. Conditional logic may be applied to real-time data to derive new indicators (for example, pass or fail). Analytical results are delivered with intuitive visual displays. Reporting iDashboards allows the user to get a reporting view of the dashboard data. Drilldown from a dashboard to a report can be viewed in HTML and PDF. The user may schedule a PDF report to automatically email designated recipients using a custom schedule. The user may also perform basic summary statistics (mean, median, count, etc.) within a report. 11. Software Requirements There are 3 requirements to deploy iDashboards: 1. On the Client side: any web browser with the Adobe Flash player 10.0 or higher. 2. On the server side: a relational database, such as Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and MySQL. 3. On the server side: a J2EE web application server such as IBM Websphere, BEA Weblogic, Sun ONE, Apache Tomcat, etc. The Apache Tomcat application server is bundled with iDashboards. iDashboards Server can be deployed in a Windows, Unix or Linux environment. See it in action. Download a FREE 30 day trial at 7. Real-time analytics provide the ability to perform dynamic calculations on real-time data. This example is designed for a manufacturing facility and allows for cost analysis on specific materials. Example of a pivot.