An ERP dashboard is an easy-to-understand, visually intuitive graphical representation of key business performance metrics, easily accessed by users from a single screen. Color coded bar charts, graphs and other visual depictions of data give users a fast look at key metrics important to their functional area.
2) What do dashboards have to do with ERP?
It’s important for ERP users to access dashboard metrics that help track and measure key data that ultimately leads to business process improvement.
Reports include anything related to how the business runs. As an example, a dashboard might display downtime monitoring, production rates, maintenance needs and other real-time reporting. Dashboards summarize the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) with charts that are easily interpreted.
3) Who in the organization usually benefits from access to a dashboard?
For small to medium manufacturers, the data visually displayed in dashboards can help keep everyone in the company focused on performance. A comprehensive dashboard should track data by roles, in terms of designing displays by most relevant KPIs.
For instance, the production or operations staff would use a visual dashboard to track inventory accuracy, quality achievements, production measures, and more. The shipping manager might use a dashboard to track on-time shipping completion percentage and premium freight costs. The key is that every role tailors the dashboard view to track those key performance metrics that are critical to their functional area.
4) Why are dashboards important?
We’ve written about the importance of ERP dashboards and real-time metrics before. By making mission-critical metrics available to the entire enterprise – in real-time – companies have a better chance to take action about decisions for a more competitive business process.
Dashboards provide a context for business process reengineering. They are important since they provide a visible, real-time measurement to enable a feedback loop that encourages functional areas to focus on the tasks, accomplishments and targets that organization has chosen to highlight.
5) What information should an ERP dashboard provide?
If a manufacturer uses many IT systems to track business operations, an executive dashboard should pull data and ERP reports from separate systems for an integrated view of the operation. Dashboards are part of an overall business intelligence strategy.
Because dashboards are role-based, they also deliver the security that users only see the charts and graphs that are relevant to their specific areas. It’s important to build dashboards so they accomplish the following:
- Display mission-critical information needed on a real-time basis to run the business
- Provide interactive user selections to manage time frames and risk assessments.
- Provide the ability to drill down or drill across from the dashboard to better assist in the decision-making process
Keeping dashboards relevant and helpful to decision making might require changes to the dashboard. As an example, some manufacturers that team with our independent ERP consultants find it useful to use dashboards monitor physical events in real-time (receiving, production, inventory status changes, scrap, subcontract, shipping, etc.)
Dashboards should offer the flexibility and ease of use to be a powerful management tool.
Do you use dashboards? Share your comments and experiences below.
Contact our team of consultants to see how business intelligence tools such as dashboards can benefit your organization.