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How to develop a dashboard from the manufacturing sector

Reading time of 5 minutes

A good dashboard can help you with the management of your business because it will allow you to have a global view of your organization at a glance. Whatever type of dashboard you want to set up, this guide will give you the direction you need to follow to create a functional and efficient dashboard to help you in your daily life.

 

The 6 main steps to follow to build your dashboard from the manufacturing sector

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#1 Define your goals: be clear about what you are trying to achieve.

Knowing where you want to go will help you determine the route to get there. It is crucial that you clearly define your goals, as this will help you establish a roadmap for your dashboard design.

Consider clarifying why you need a dashboard and define the scope of your project. For example, you may want to assess the effectiveness of some of your processes, or simply track your team’s progress towards a given goal. These are just a few reasons to use a dashboard.

Tip: ask yourself the right questions.

  • What problem(s) are we trying to solve?
  • What do we want to identify?
  • Who is going to use the dashboard?
  • Etc.

By asking yourself the right questions, you will be able to define a clear framework for your dashboard.

openmind Technologies - 5 kpi#2 Build your KPIs: align them with the objectives defined earlier.

Once you have determined your objectives, you can start defining the KPIs that you will highlight in your dashboard. The KPIs will help you access accurate, complete and meaningful information that will help you achieve your goals.

Here are 6 categories of essential KPIs dedicated to the performance of your manufacturing organization:

  • Productivity: to measure the performance of your processes;
  • Processes: to obtain information on each link of your production chain;
  • Deadlines: for meeting deadlines;
  • Inventory and stock management: to have a global view of your inventory;
  • Resources: to evaluate the level of reliability and performance of your equipment;
  • Quality: to measure the reliability of your processes

Tip: Identify, at the same time, the sub-indicators that could be useful to you.

You will be able to display related information that could provide additional information to the KPIs already in place.

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#3 Aggregate data: measure everything that can be measured.

Now it’s time to gather the data that can help you set up your KPIs. With the advent of Industry 4.0, you have a large amount of data related to your business. The most important thing is to know how to use it.

Focus on quality data and automate their extraction and processing to save time and avoid errors.

Tip: Adopt Business Intelligence.

Business Intelligence will help you to efficiently exploit the large amount of data your company regularly generates. You will be able to extract relevant information in an automated way that you can present in your dashboard.

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#4 Choosing the right information to present: take only the most relevant information

Always be sure to ask yourself if a given piece of information really helps the overall understanding of the message you want to convey or not and ask yourself if it is easy for your audience to assimilate.

Too often, dashboards are filled with irrelevant information, which only overloads the user with information. This information will only serve as a parasite and could distract the user’s attention from the main message. It is therefore essential to be rigorous in the choice of information to be presented and to use it sparingly.

Tip: Focus on ease of interpretation.

When looking at your dashboard, the most important information related to your activities should be easy to find, but above all, easy to interpret. Favour between 4 and 7, and make sure they complement each other.

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#5 Visualization and formatting: keep it simple

Having a simple and consistent design will help your dashboard users assimilate the different information presented in it. Also consider designing a dashboard that takes into account the user’s experience.

For example, play with the font size and position of elements to clearly indicate what is most important. This will help to quickly visualize the hierarchy of information. Likewise, it is essential to always remain clear and explicit, so don’t hesitate to use different colors to put the information in context.

Tip: Use a mix of graphs and numbers.

A good dashboard is not just a list of numbers. Be sure to use data tables sparingly. Most of the time, a visual representation can be more informative: to identify trends and developments. A graph will sometimes be more relevant than a hard-to-read table. The most important thing is to always keep in mind the goals you initially set for yourself.

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#6 Choosing the right tool: thinking through the scope of the project

Is the dashboard intended for your exclusive use, or on the contrary, will it be shared with your collaborators? How often will the data be updated, and what data sources do you have at your disposal?

When building your dashboard, you will have to answer various technical questions that you will inevitably have to take into account when choosing the tool you are going to use. Once again, this choice will depend mainly on your needs and objectives.

Tip: choose a flexible tool.

Un bon tableau de bord doit être assez flexible pour être facilement adapté si besoin, et l’outil que vous choisirez pour construire votre tableau de bord ne devra pas être un frein à cela. Privilégiez ceux qui sont flexibles, et qui s’adaptent à vos besoins.

A good dashboard should be flexible enough to be easily adapted if needed, and the tool you choose to build your dashboard should not be a hindrance to this. Favour those that are flexible, and that adapt to your needs.

Repeat the process

Your needs and goals may change along the way, and so will your dashboard. For the sake of continuous improvement, it is then essential to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your dashboard by repeating the above process, as this will ensure that you have a tool with the features that are essential to you at all times.

Article written by:

Sebastien Chaput, Project Manager and Senior Analyst

My versatility as a programmer analyst cumulates more than twenty years of experience in web and application projects. Being involved in projects oriented towards the performance and profitability of companies motivates me to implement solutions beyond the limits of what is feasible.

Contact me now >

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