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Using the appropriate monitoring tools is essential to improving the quality of supply chain processes. However, using a BI application in the supply chain process is of no benefit if you cannot use the data to make strategic and tactical decisions, or to establish processes for correction or improvement. And of course, you will not improve overall supply chain performance simply by virtue of having access to large amounts of data; it's also a matter of being able to easily access and interpret the data.
The following principles can serve as guidelines to designing accurate visualization of supply chain process performance and quality:
• Less can do more. When designing an executive dashboard or scorecard, bear in mind that the only metrics that are truly relevant are those that measure the performance and quality of the supply chain process. Dashboard data clutter can result in an information overload problem.
• Develop a coherent structure. A scorecard or dashboard needs a meaningful structure. Clear charts and graphics, along with the correct subject relationships, is an important element of accurately understanding data and transforming it into valuable information.
• Make sure results are clearly presented. Results must be clear and visible. Avoid any distraction from the key issues. Irrelevant data or information can pervert the interpretation of results.
Another important consideration is that a balanced scorecard strategy must track a limited number of metrics or indicators. This can facilitate the alignment of metrics with strategic objectives.
In 2010, many organizations will adhere to these three design principles of insight into supply chain performance by implementing alternative BI tools, including gadgets, interactive reports, traditional office applications enhanced with analytics capabilities, and improved dashboard and scorecard tools. Organizations that do not apply this kind of BI functionality risk diminished supply chain process performance-the problem being that they may not even be aware of it.
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