Dashboards, when it comes to Six Sigma, are short summaries that illustrate the health of a process or operation at a glance. Like the dashboard of your vehicle, the viewer can quickly determine if the indicated values are within the target operating range. The indicators displayed on a dashboard are fed by a detailed dashboard summary.
A dashboard should not be confused with the more detailed dashboard. A typical scorecard will present all the critical measures of daily operations and is the mechanism that drives the dashboard. Both of these tools serve a viable role in measuring our process and generating the resulting reports. They inherently have a degree of overlap, but they are not the same tool.
Dashboards that are loaded with all the reports in a dashboard can become too cumbersome for top management and customer use. A dashboard presented as a dashboard will likely display too much information and make a quick review difficult. Dashboards are typically internal management tools, while the dashboard reporting tool is frequently shared with the external customer. Most of the time, it is a version of a dashboard that senior management and our clients prefer to see during their high-level reviews of the operation.
During the course of a Six Sigma project, the team will identify the few critical root causes that influence the goal (y) of the project. In the analysis and improvement stages, the team gets a clear view of the drivers known to influence the performance of the target. Finally, in the control stage it is possible to measure the success of the implemented changes. These key influencers are the critical process measures that need to be monitored through the effective scorecard and then integrated into the dashboard. A vital component in our Six Sigma process is the identification of critical measurements and the established means of capturing and reporting them on the scorecard. Once the correct measurements have been implemented, a dashboard can be added with little effort and will report process successes and / or problems to management and clients.
Dashboards function as early warning systems by representing real-time measurement of critical factors. The real-time nature of the scorecard tool will enhance the process manager’s ability to monitor process performance and intervene quickly if necessary. The detailed nature of the scorecard will facilitate your ability to identify which areas to focus your attention on first. Dashboards allow rapid response to process-related failures if properly designed and monitored frequently. Process owners often use their scorecard as a guide for implementing focused and successful process adjustments as the operating environment evolves after the conclusion of the Six Sigma project. They can then use the dashboard to report the overall progress and health of the company to their internal or external customer.