The Top 3 Manufacturing Dashboards You Need On Your Shop Floor

Shop floor dashboards are not new to the business world. But with factory management teams prioritising digitization, Industry 4.0 solutions are now connecting the shop floor with the top floor. Digital transformation efforts are offering opportunities for all manufacturing roles to collaborate and work more efficiently across their organization. On the shop floor, the best dashboards connect the right team to the right metrics and data that matters most to them. In this blog, we help you understand the pros to replacing time-consuming, manual data collection with real-time digital dashboards, by answering these questions: 

What are manufacturing dashboards?

A manufacturing dashboard displays key metrics and information in a layered and visual way that allows manufacturing teams to measure, monitor and manage the effectiveness of their tactics and progress towards achieving strategic objectives. There are several types of dashboards, each pulling data from a variety of sources and then visualized in an easy-to-navigate format.

What are the three main types of manufacturing dashboards with industrial applications?

The three main types of dashboards with industrial applications include: strategic, tactical and operational dashboards. In the factory setting, there are three significant roles that determine the type of dashboard that can be implemented. A well-structured and customized dashboard helps management, supervisors and operators make decisions with complete and accurate data, and is presented in a way that’s easy to understand.

Many shop floor dashboards are displayed on clipboards or whiteboards and often manually created with data entered into spreadsheets, with 24+ hours of delay time. The result? An inefficient and inaccurate method of solving immediate shop floor problems. The best way for your factory to remain competitive now and in the future is to move to real-time, digital dashboards. | The Continuous Improvement Platform for Industry 4.0
A breakdown of shop floor dashboards used based on role.

Why do I need to move from Excel spreadsheets to real-time shop floor dashboards?

When spreadsheets, pen and paper, and whiteboards are replaced with a digital approach to tracking and reporting, it enables your entire Industry 4.0 tech stack to perform stronger and provide insights to make sustainable improvements plant-wide. By using real-time dashboards, guided actions can be executed to make a more efficient shop floor. There are four reasons why you should make the switch from Excel spreadsheets to real-time shop floor dashboards:

  • Participatory design
  • Visualization of information
  • Learning and development
  • Knowledge sharing and communication

Participatory Design

Participatory design is a concept to describe when operators are engaged and involved in co-designing production processes and reporting methods at their workstation. When management teams include their frontline through the implementation of a digital shop floor solution, workers feel a sense of trust and understand that their overall contributions and ideas are valued — as they are the primary users of the technology. 

A practical use case for involving operators in the design of workstation processes is by empowering them to easily capture production data that they can use to make decisions. For example, implementing a digital solution like Raven helps the operations team to categorize periods of downtime with downtime tracking in real-time, allowing it to be displayed in metrics on a dashboard.

By using Raven, downtime reasons can be customized based on the primary language operators use to provide human context about what’s happening on the shop floor. Their input provides more complete and accurate data, which is often missed when using manual processes or other digital platforms. The operators are enabled to make confident, data-led productivity improvements that open up new capacity on their lines  — and can be monitored using a dashboard. With the touch of a button, Raven makes it easy for operators to input their context, including changeover details.

Dashboard #1: Operations and the Changeover Module

An operations dashboard includes shop floor efficiency and OEE improvement programs and can help pinpoint areas for improvement during, for example, changeovers. Raven’s Changeover Module helps enhance the dashboard by tracking and monitoring changeover efficiency in relation to targets, and identifies areas of opportunity to decrease time wasted on changeover overages. 

Frontline workers need quick ways to collect details and notes on the reasons for downtime in a clear, organized manner that will help provide their teams with the full picture of factory operations. By combining operator input and machine data, Raven helps manufacturers present shop floor productivity in a visual timeline — without the spreadsheets and whiteboards.

Visualization of information

An event timeline where both production and downtime is shown gives shop floor teams the ability to uncover hidden inefficiencies. In cases where there is an immense amount of data from machines (like the ERP or MES), a visual representation makes data a lot easier to digest and understand key insights to be actioned. Raven’s contextualized  timeline accounts for 100% of production time and losses to drive data-informed decisions that solves the root causes of issues. 

Factories with both simple and complex production processes can use a contextualized timeline to highlight constraints, bottlenecks and root causes of downtime at a glance. The timeline is automatically created using valuable human context from operators — only when machines don’t have the answers. As one source of truth on the shop floor, teams get the full picture into their machines’ performance and are able to identify key opportunities for daily operational improvement activities, including: optimising startup times, changeovers and long-term continuous improvement initiatives. | The Continuous Improvement Platform for Industry 4.0
Raven’s contextualized timeline accounting for 100% of production time and losses on multiple lines.

In addition to recording and visualising downtime, operator dashboards can be used for self-moderated performance and skill-building.

Learning and Development

The top reason frontline employees stay at their workplace is because they enjoy the work they do (83%) — and making work engaging is a huge part of that. 

Learning and development plays an important role in work-life satisfaction on the shop floor. When operators have real-time dashboards at their workstation, they know where they stand on their day-to-day responsibilities and feel more confident in their tasks because they:

  • Have a snapshot of their production targets
  • Can easily visualize their work progress
  • Use the data that matters most to them to make continuous improvements

When your frontline and operations teams have the tools to track their production progress on the shop floor, they’re empowered to make their own data-led improvements to hit targets.

Knowledge sharing and communication

In addition to learning and development, Forbes states that teams who score in the top 20% in engagement realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and 59% less turnover. Engaged employees show up every day with passion, purpose, presence, and energy.

By placing dashboards in easy-to-view locations on the shop floor, progress statuses are available for every team member. An end-of-line dashboard, for example, is perfect for both operators and supervisors to have the metrics that matter to them top of mind for target progress and important conversations with their teams.

Dashboard #2: Ahead or Behind

The Ahead or Behind Module is part of an operator or supervisor dashboard that easily monitors the status of line schedules. The customizable dashboard displays target progress, production tracking and changeover monitoring.

Ahead or Behind Operator View

With performance metrics top of mind, the frontline knows how their work is impacting plant goals, and brings meaning to their day-to-day. | The Continuous Improvement Platform for Industry 4.0
Raven displaying the count and target status for current hour and shift.

The largest section displays the count and target status for the current hour and shift. The green color represents an above expected target, and red represents a below expected target. The smaller section at the top displays the count and target for each historical hour during that specific shift. 

The ahead or behind view allows operators to assess whether or not they are on track to meet their hourly and shift targets and provides positive feedback (green) when production targets are met. Tablets can be located at an operator’s workstation or on large screen displays on the shop floor. 

Ahead or Behind Supervisor View

The ahead or behind view on supervisor dashboards displays all of your machines’ schedules. It allows supervisors to assess whether or not they are meeting targets for each production process. Historical timelines for every shift allows this dashboard to easily identify any processes with systemic and real-time issues, and get maintenance teams to resolve them quickly.  

Supervisor dashboards can be viewed from anywhere, on desktop or mobile, for supervisors to stay up-to-date on shop floor happenings. | The Continuous Improvement Platform for Industry 4.0
Raven displaying machine and line statuses.

When teams are in the green and hitting targets, they celebrate their accomplishments together. When teams are having troubles with their targets, they can use the visual dashboard to drive collaborative and insightful conversations around how they will get there – leading to more exciting wins! This can be done through leaderboards along with some friendly competition.

Gamification on the shop floor using leaderboards

Manufacturers approach gamification in a way that covers production goals, employee needs and values. Gamification is often used in the form of a leaderboard, with a reward at its completion to feed our natural hunger for competition.

Dashboard #3: Leaderboards

manufacturing leaderboard can be a list of employees, groups, or shifts that are ranked in order to identify levels of production or completion of targets. They are usually designed with a competitive progress indicator and shared for both comparison and motivation. | The Continuous Improvement Platform for Industry 4.0
  •  Praise and celebration
  •  Points, ratings and rankings
  •  Awards, rewards and prizes
  •  Pay raises and promotions

Gamification through the use of technology needs to be human-centric. Below are some examples of gamification that could be used in your manufacturing plant. Each example can be applied as a gamified element and displayed on a leaderboard to boost your frontline engagement, with some friendly competition. 

Enhance Decision-Making 

  • Display the completion of finished work
  • Display the comparison of planned vs. finished work
  • Compare with previous work
  • Compare with previous teams

Improve Quality 

  • Percentage of correctly produced parts

Personal Progress

  • Number of set tasks
  • Goals planning to meet

Leaderboards bring both shift and personal recognition to the shop floor with a focus on bringing a more human, enjoyable work experience. 

When the shop floor is engaged and motivated and we can tap into the competitive fires we all have, teams feel a greater sense of accomplishment and are more willing to go the extra mile. By using technology to stimulate teams and make their jobs more fulfilling, targets get hit and results spike.

From whiteboards to real-time manufacturing dashboards on your shop floor

Learn how you can improve your own production efficiency on the shop floor, with automated processes and real-time dashboards.


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