Building Real-Time Supply Chain Dashboards

Forget pie charts and gauges; get rid of the clutter; find out what info really drives decision; the “business of now”

With all the focus today on “metrics” and dashboards, actually building ones that add real value is a difficult exercise. There are two real issues in building dashboards:

  • What information can really drive improved, real-time decision-making?
  • Understanding that, how can the information be presented in a way that maximizes usefulness?

In this article Chevron’s Mike Brooks highlights some of the important lessons and guidelines as follows

  • Get rid of the clutter: most dashboard tools from vendors have all kinds of “overhead” on the screens that add confusion and make it difficult to find and focus on what’s really important. “Remove every pixel that doesn’t show information” he said.
  • Pie charts, especially side by side pie charts, and “gauges,” really don’t communicate data for decision-making effectively.
  • Work closely with users/execs to ensure the data is truly actionable
  • Visualization provides maximum impact, but again that doesn’t just mean pie or bar charts.
  • Use very clear metaphors – for example, black means above plan, red means under plan. Gets attention very quickly.
  • Focus on trends, and key changes over time rather than absolute precision. You are not trying to satisfy the accountants, but improve decisions.
  • Make the navigation highly simple and intuitive. Strive for a “no nothing” interface.
  • Focus on “now,” not historical data.

What is the key to determining what information can really drive decision-making? Are we really in the “business of now?” Let us know your thoughts.