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It’s Not The End Of The World!

Oh boy, the 21st of December is the end of the world. Again. I think in this case, we can be pretty sure that it is not going to happen. Apparently there were errors in the way that the calculations were done with the Gregorian calendar meaning we probably should already have disappeared.

Data can be quite misleading, as can selective interpretation. It happens all over the place, including on the shop-floor. Systems that collect data can be easily misinterpreted. Sometimes it is accidental, a genuine misunderstanding, or perhaps a case where the data or understanding of the data is not explicit enough. In other cases, the meaning of the data can be manipulated to fit or show a particular pattern from which a story can be told.

The stories about the end of the world have not affected me. I don’t believe them, irrespective of where they come from. We see reports however where people do believe, and make huge changes in their lives as part of the preparation. The damage to such people’s lives is incalculable. The shop-floor by comparison is not going to seem so “life or death”, but relatively equal damage can be done.

I have heard in my experience so many comments about “flavour of the month” where the focus is on a particular topic that is felt to be important, to the exclusion of all else. A month later, a different flavour. What happened as a result of last month? Sure, some numbers improved. Some other, perhaps ignored numbers, got worse. The flavour changes. Was there really an overall benefit? A year from now, the changes fade away. It is very frustrating. Data can lead us down so many incorrect routes.

As with the “end of the world”, people are looking for the “truth”. My own area of expertise is the shop-floor, so I can only comment on that. We need to understand the whole picture, how things relate to other things, how things combine to create challenges or opportunities. We need to define what control is, what is in control, and what is out of control. We need to be alerted when things go out of control, and take timely controlled action. We certainly don’t need a dramatic off the wall interpretation of isolated data to kill us all off.

This is a large part of the value of reporting from an integrated system such as our  Valor product in that the complete visibility of all aspects of the operation is available. No more flavours of the month, no more crazy end of the work scenarios please…….

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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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