Keep your eyes on the dials
to monitor processes with dashboard feature
An airline pilot can determine a plane's
altitude and speed, the direction and velocity of the wind, fuel
consumption, terrain information, equipment condition--all by glancing
at indicators that are part of the cockpit apparatus. This phenomenon
is something we all take for granted; a passenger would be shocked
if the flight captain could not instantly report wind speed and
estimated arrival time, or if the information was not up-to-the-minute.
What is routine in both small airplanes and large--the
expectation of data that is presented in a format that is easily
understood--is becoming increasingly familiar in manufacturing and
service industries to those who improve quality using statistical
metrics from process data. Looking at charts provides a wealth of
information about your processes, but easily knowing what a variety
of key process metrics are doing can more effectively facilitate
process monitoring and reduce waste. Like the airline pilot, quality
professionals are finding that a 'dashboard' format helps them do
The newest release of CHARTrunner,
available in August, will feature a dashboard approach that can
be tailored to individual needs. A user can take those key process
metrics that are most useful and display each metric as an indicator
in a dashboard. The dashboard functionality allows one to create
an indicator image displaying a process statistic value that can
be calculated from a chart or entered manually. Indicator styles
include speedometer, vertical bar, and horizontal bar. Many visual
properties of the indicator can be user-specified such as title,
fonts, colors, borders, size, and more. The dashboard indicator
image can be used in PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, web
Since the dashboard feature is totally customizable,
a user may choose to utilize it to peruse process metrics relating
to a specific process, a particular time period, or an individual
part. The collection of indicators that are placed into the dashboard
can be updated at any time.
In a healthcare environment, the dashboard can give immediate access to data relating to length of stay, rates of infection, frequency of specific procedures, bed count, ER wait time, and a host of other key metrics that are important to hospital management. In a given department, a dashboard may be created to reflect data that relates only to that department. A clinical laboratory, for example, may want to track distribution of types of tests given, error reports, peak lab demand times, etc., while the billing office would prefer to examine data relating to length of stay, third party pay, billing errors, cost factors, accounts payable, etc.
In the airline cockpit, a warning light or buzzer
indicates when a process requires attention: a change in wind speed
may demand adjustment of altitude or other decision. In the same
way, the CHARTrunner
dashboard indicators can signal a situation that demands attention.
As data becomes increasingly complex, the demand
for data at one's fingertips mounts. The old days of tacking a day's
worth of charts on the wall--primarily to prove that they had been
done--have been replaced by the need to know. Knowledge of processes
is the basis for improvement, a fact that renders consistent monitoring
After all, you wouldn't want your pilot to announce the estimated time of arrival for yesterday's flight.
Copyright 2006 PQ Systems.
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