Enterprise-wide PLM systems hold huge amounts of business data that can potentially be used to drive business decisions and effect process changes to generate added value for the organization. Several PLM users are unaware of the existence of such valuable data, while for others, advanced data search and retrieval can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack due to their unfamiliarity with the PLM data model. Hence it is important to process the data into meaningful information and model it into actionable engineering knowledge that can drive business decisions for normal users. Reporting plays a key role in summarizing that large amount of data into a simple, usable format for the purpose of easy understanding.
Reporting starts with capturing the right data – the most important step and, many a time, the least stressed one. When data is not captured in the right format, it results in inconsistent or non-standard data.
Let’s take a simple Workflow process example: Workflow rejection comments are valuable information for companies to understand the repeated reasons for workflow rejection and to improve FTY (First time yield) by developing training plans to address them. Users might not enter rejection comments unless they are made mandatory, so it’s important to have data-model checks and balances to capture the right data and standardize it through categorization and LOVs (List of values).
The next step is to filter and present the right information to the right people. End Users typically want to run pre-designed reports and maybe slice or dice the data to understand it better. Business Intelligence Designers and Business analysts who understand the PLM Schema and their business relationships are the ones who design the report templates. Report design is sometimes perceived as an IT or software function, and as a result, enough business participation is not ensured, which can have an impact on the effectiveness of the reports for end users. It is important to have business participation from report identification to report design to report usage. Business process knowledge is the key in this area, not the PLM tool expertise alone.
Since business processes get improved/modified based on different market and performance trends derived from PLM reports, it’s important to have continuous improvement initiatives to fine-tune reporting based on these improved processes and new baselines, from data capture to presentation. That makes it a continuous cycle – business processes need to be designed to support reporting and reports need to help improve the process.
Properly designed reports provide increased visibility into shifting enterprise wide status, reduce time and cost for data analysis, ensure quicker response times and faster product launch cycles and improve product quality and integrity.
How do your reports measure up? Do you have any questions or thoughts? Leave a comment here or contact us if you’re feeling shy.