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As the Actress said to the Bishop….. “What are your Key Performance Indicators?”

If I had invented the laws of physics, things would have been different. In my car, instead of a gas pedal, I would be simply pressing down to be at the speed I wanted to go. No time lag, just get there. No worries about whether the arrangement of my internal organs could keep pace with the infinite acceleration.

I, like most others, need however to live in a world where mass counts, power is needed. OK, so my ideal car has lots of power on tap to be able to get me closer to my ideal driving experience. I read every month in the car magazines about the new models and how much additional power they have. I wish that there was a simple chart in which I could see which cars have the most power. On second thoughts, it would not be enough though, since power doesn’t really mean acceleration, there is the weight of the car to consider. OK, I need a chart for the acceleration time, 0 – 60. Top of the chart no doubt would be the Ferraris and the like, way outside of my price range. OK, I now need a qualified chart to show me the opportunities that I have within my price range. Hang on though, how good are these cars at going around corners? Aagh!

This is the car buying process in the Michael mind. Other things, like colour (it will be black), how many seats, all of that kind of stuff is just detail. For other people however, it may matter that a car has four, five or seven seats. It may be essential that the gas mileage is within a certain budget, colours other than black may be a consideration, I guess.

A lot of data about cars, a lot of different people with different needs and therefore different points of view. This is why the car magazines list up tables of so many facts and figures every month. Unfortunately, the font gets a bit small, there is a bit of a “sticker shock” reaction about all of the technical stuff, too much information, too technical, too difficult to understand. Perhaps one or two columns were of useful interest, but they are lost to the first glance.

It is the same issue in the world of electronics manufacturing and assembly. There are so many sources of data, performance, execution metrics, material usage, quality metrics, and each one of these explodes into many different pieces of information. There are hundreds of parameters that can be monitored and reported, each on their own, but also each on combination with others to build more meaningful information. The power of a data warehouse with a Business Intelligence reporting system on top is actually a great tool to be able to create the reports, tables and statistics that provide real bottom line improvement opportunity. The question is which of these are the most effective. Though there are recognized standards to define things like Equipment Productivity and Overall Equipment Effectiveness, these are, like the hundreds of other KPIs, defined for a very specific responsibility for a very specific purpose. The ability to dynamically create and use KPIs is a key Industrial Engineering technology in itself. KPIs have to be determined based on the actual needs of the business. Which are these KPIs then? Which are the ones that will help my business?

This opens up some very interesting topics of discussion, which are included in the latest in our Webinar series “Inside Technologies”, our webinar entitled “Achieving Real Benefit From Performance Monitoring” which will take place on the 26th of June.

Having lots of information is one thing, the value comes from making something out of it…. If you really want to know things, these webinars should not be missed!

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About Michael Ford

Michael FordMICHAEL FORD SENIOR MARKETING DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, VALOR DIVISION, MENTOR GRAPHICS Michael started his career as a computer software and hardware engineer in 1982. Working for Sony in the UK, Michael became one of the first successful adopters of computer technology into the manufacturing shop-floor, going on to manage in Japan Sony’s global Lean Manufacturing solutions. Joining Valor Computerized Systems in 2008 gave Michael the opportunity to apply his experience into the main-stream of the industry. With almost 30 years’ experience, Michael’s key strength is the instinct of finding solutions and opportunities where there had been challenges and problems. Michael is currently working as part of the Marketing Development team within the Valor Division of Mentor Graphics, focussing on the realisation of real and practical solutions for manufacturing based on the application of Lean Thinking, end to end, from design through the entire manufacturing process. Visit The Michael Ford Manufacturing Blog

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