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FLEXO Magazine : October 2013
PLANTS & PROCESSES good in, great out Got Data? Now You Need A System By Brad Vette Much has been covered on methods of collection of pressroom, graphics and brand specification data. With many types of data collection tools on the market, the key is not collecting data, but using it for effective decision making. The effective use of data comes through functional access and analysis. Without this functionality it is nearly impossible to correlate and cross-check data to ensure a broad yet accurate vision of what it can tell you. This article will discuss the fundamentals of how to create data function- ality through the use of an integrated and evolving system that allows for a profitable combination of talent and information. YOUR DATA CART • Complete—comprehensive in covering the operation of interest • Accurate—provide a reliable and valid representation of reality • Relevant—can be applied to a specific situation or opportunity • Timely—available when it is needed credibLe dAtA Data collection is an important aspect of any type of decision-making process. Inaccurate data collection can impact a project or operation and ultimately lead to invalid results. Accuracy is an absolute, but when it comes to data quantity, it is not that simple. Unfortunately, with too little data, it won’t be possible to make any concrete conclusions, and with too much data, relationships that aren’t real or relevant may begin to appear. It is absolutely true that “analysis is only as good as the data on which it is based,” which is another way of saying, “Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO).” GIGO was most popular as a warning in the early days of computing, but it applies even more today, when increasingly more efficient computers can spit out gigabytes of erroneous information in the blink of an eye. This is compounded by a more recent evolution of the acronym: “Garbage In, Gospel Out.” It is a comment on the inclination to put excessive trust in data and on the tendency for individuals to blindly accept what the data says. Because if data comes out of the system, people tend to believe it is true and accurate. Lenny Bastidas, director of operations at Clear Lam Pack- aging, a Chicago-based printer/converter of flexible packag- ing, says that, “At the heart of this challenge is the need to look at how we can help establish the credibility of data used in decision making.” To ensure the reliability and credibility of the data that is being collected, we need to qualify data so that it is of value to decision makers; therefore, it should meet certain criteria. Decision-making data needs to be: • Accurate; it should provide a reliable and valid represen- tation of reality • Timely; it should be available when it is needed • Complete; it should be comprehensive in covering the operation of interest • Relevant; it can be applied to a specific situation or op- portunity “Any drive for success should demand a guarantee of accurate information,” says Bastidas. “This data is critical to continuous improvement of any business process.” integrAted sYsteM Now that we have qualified the data that we collect as ac- curate, timely, complete and relevant, the challenge is how to gather it and make it functional. To make the data functional requires either a lot of staff pouring over spreadsheets and communicating smoothly or the creation and utilization of an integrated system. Business systems take many forms: supply chain manage- ment, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship Clear Lam Packaging, near Chicago, IL, believes accurate data is critical to continuous improvement in any business prospects. From QC labs to production floor, it gathers and collects data and concentrates on making it functional. The focus is on combining the best people and technologies with the most effective processes. As the business changes, so should the integrated systems that impact so strongly on the quality of product put out. 32 FLeXo OCTOBER 2013 www.flexography.org www.flexography.org OCTOBER 2013 FLeXo 33 “Data is becoming the new raw material of business.” Craig Mundie, head of research and strategy, Microsoft “Data is only as good as the system that collects it.” Anonymous