As a small manufacturing company, you know how crucial it is to stay on top of your operations at all times. While keeping track of stock and manufacturing performance can be straightforward in the early days, as your business grows, the process becomes increasingly complex. This is where manufacturing dashboards come in.
These dashboards allow you to visualize and analyze important data to make better decisions for your business.: when implemented correctly, they are great for providing real-time insights into your production, inventory, and other key indicators.
In this blog post, we’ll cover how to create manufacturing dashboards and highlight some examples to inspire your own.
##What is a manufacturing dashboard? A manufacturing dashboard is a visual representation of your manufacturing operations and performance. It provides a snapshot of your production, inventory levels, quality control, and other key metrics at a glance.
Manufacturing Dashboards are a visual representation of data that provide real-time insights into different aspects of your business. They allow you to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs), identify trends and patterns, and make informed decisions to improve efficiency and productivity.
It essentially provides a snapshot of your production, inventory levels, quality control, and other key metrics at a glance, so you can quickly identify any issues or areas for improvement in your manufacturing process.
How to create a manufacturing dashboard
Creating a manufacturing dashboard may seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s break down the process into five simple steps:
Identify your key metrics / KPIs
The first step in creating a manufacturing dashboard is identifying the metrics that matter most to your business. These metrics should align with your overall business goals and help you measure progress toward them.
Examples of metrics you could consider tracking are production cycle time, inventory turnover rate, and defect rate. As every business is different, so will be their goals and thus the key manufacturing metrics they need to focus on.
It’s important to take the time to get this right before you begin creating your dashboard or finding a software solution.
Once you have identified the metrics, determine how to track them and ensure your data sources are accurate: whether it’s through manual data entry or automated data collection systems.
Choose a dashboard platform
There are many types of manufacturing dashboards, from simple spreadsheets to complex software tools. The type of dashboard you choose will depend on your needs and resources. If you have limited resources, a simple spreadsheet may be sufficient.
Free Download: Production planning template for Excel and Numbers
However, if you have complex operations, multiple data sources, and a need for your metrics to calculate automatically, a software tool may be necessary.
Consider the tradeoffs between cost, functionality, and ease of use when choosing a dashboard tool.
For the DIYers, many tools are available for creating manufacturing metric dashboards from scratch, such as simple spreadsheets like Excel and Numbers, right through to Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, and Google Data Studio.
If you’d like a solution that is more “out of the box”, there are many manufacturing-focused software solutions that include dashboards as part of their feature set, including Craftybase (which we will discuss at length later in the article).
Design your dashboard layout
If you are going to be designing your own manufacturing dashboard, it’s time to design your dashboard layout.
The design of your dashboard is important to ensure that the data is displayed in a meaningful way. Use charts, graphs, and tables to visualize your data and make it easy to understand. Avoid clutter and ensure that the dashboard is easy to navigate and is simple to read quickly.
You may also want to consider the dashboard’s user interface and whether you need to customize it for different users or departments.
Keep the dashboard up to date
Once your manufacturing dashboard is up and running, keeping it up to date is important. Ensure that your data sources are updated regularly and that any changes to your business are reflected in the dashboard. You may also want to consider setting up alerts to notify you of any significant changes in the data.
If you use software that creates manufacturing dashboards for you, this process should be much more automated. However, it’s still important to regularly review and update your dashboard as needed.
Analyze and act on the insights
The most critical step in creating a manufacturing dashboard is using the insights gained from the data to take action - make reviewing your metrics a part of your overall process to make informed decisions about your operations, identify areas for improvement.
Examples of manufacturing dashboards
To inspire your own manufacturing dashboard, here are some examples of dashboards used by small manufacturing companies:
The Small Electronics Manufacturer:
The dashboard for this company includes real-time data on production volume, material stock outs, and defect rates. This dashboard focusses on the production process and highlights any issues that may impact production output.
The Food Manufacturer:
This company’s dashboard includes data on inventory levels, spoilage rates, and sales. It also tracks key performance indicators such as customer satisfaction and supplier quality. This dashboard helps the company make informed decisions about inventory management and identify opportunities for cost savings.
The Textile Manufacturer:
For this company, the dashboard is focused on tracking production efficiency and quality control. It includes data on machine downtime, defect rates, and raw material usage. This dashboard allows them to quickly identify any issues in their production process and make adjustments as needed.
Using Craftybase as your Manufacturing Dashboard solution:
As mentioned earlier, Craftybase is production scheduling software that offers manufacturing dashboards as part of its robust feature set. As a manufacturing-focused solution, it is designed to track and analyze key metrics for small manufacturers.
Craftybase’s dashboard includes real-time insights on production, inventory levels, materials cost, COGS / COGM and more. It also allows for customizable layouts and user permissions to tailor the dashboard to your specific needs.
Manufacturing dashboards are a powerful tool for small manufacturing companies to monitor and optimize their operations.
By choosing the right metrics, designing an effective dashboard, and keeping it up to date, you can gain real-time insights into your production, inventory, and other key areas of your business.
Whether you use a simple spreadsheet or a complex software tool, manufacturing dashboards can help you make better decisions and drive growth for your business.