Get the most from real-time stock dashboards
By Andy Houghton
In food manufacturing, when it comes to deciding what level of data needs to be collected and how best to turn data into meaningful analysis, my advice is to always keep it simple and focused. And one of the best ways to present this information is by using Active Dashboards.
In SI’s latest We Think Food guide, as guest editor, I explain how and why many of our customers have moved up from standard dashboards to Active Dashboards.
The guide contains plenty of hints and tips, customer stories, and videos about real SI implementations. It explains how every food processor’s data analysis can be transformed through the use of Active Dashboards.
Stick to the golden rules for data analysis
Food manufacturers will get the most from their data when they keep breaking data collection down into manageable and recognisable areas.
For instance, Consider your stock, production, sales, QA areas and labour. Now, without thinking about the detail, within each of these areas, ask yourself –
“What information do I need to know that will tell me what’s happening within that area?”
The likelihood is, that if your food manufacturing business isn’t using any kind of dashboard software, you’re probably reliant on running several reports and managing numerous spreadsheets to unearth this information.
However, when information is easily available, understandable and delivered in real-time, food manufacturers can make informed ‘in the moment’ decisions, to improve both business outcomes and profits.
But how easy is it to get to this point?
Let’s take a closer look at stock control
A simple and well used method of managing operational stock is to break it down into raw materials, WIP, finished goods and packaging.
Ask yourself the following:
• How much stock is available as a total, i.e. raw materials, WIP and finished goods?
• Is any of my stock approaching its use-by date and, if so, how much?
• How much stock has QA put on hold?
• What are the top/bottom 10 stock items?
• When was the last stock take? What were the results?
• How many pallets or cases of stock are available?
Of course, the total number of pallets provides a useful measure for assessing available capacity. This measurement could help you assess how many trailers would be needed in the event of an immediate move of stock, or if a business is looking into increasing capacity.
When total stock position is shown in real-time, the result is transformational
When integrated with SI’s renowned shop-floor data capture applications, Active Dashboard provide “one version of the truth” as it’s constantly processing numerous streams of data.
For any food manufacturer, being able to interpret stock control data and view it in real-time, without having to run reports or manage spreadsheets, is transformational.
Just think of all the advantages you would have if all of your stock information was instantly available on one screen, particularly when it comes to ensuring 100% of orders are fulfilled.
When is a dashboard not just a dashboard?
For many of SI’s customers, using our shop-floor data capture modular applications and food ERP, we’ve been able to integrate this data into Active Dashboards. Then, by applying in-built filters, drill downs and dynamic charts, these Active Dashboards interpret their key information and KPIs in a graphical and engaging way that benefits every operational area, and report in real-time.
With Active Dashboards in place, the need to hunt through reports and spreadsheets, then find the time to interpret information yourself, is eliminated.
With an Active Dashboard visualising your real-time stock position, the power of the data is in your hands; it’s down to you to select the best ways to present your data driven insights. Options include:
- Multiple charts, gauges and lists,
- Colour accents to present RAG warnings or alerts.
- Drill downs for the times when you want to get to the finer detail behind the visual summary.
- Know that the information displayed is always up to date.
Want to discover more about Active Dashboards?
If you’d like to find out more about how SI can help your food manufacturing business harness the power of Active Dashboards, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, if you’d like to download my interactive guide to Active Dashboards, simply click on the link.