Customize Dashboards for Individual Needs

Aug 30, 2006 11:12 PM  By

You should create multiple “dashboards” in your facility, signs or screens each customized with metrics and information for a particular audience. Senior management will be most interested in getting a view of how the entire facility is doing. An area supervisor will want to know how well he is doing keeping up with the work for that area, while an individual associate will want to know how he is doing today and with respect to his peers. In addition, in each area and for each associate, keep track of daily, weekly, and monthly trends, and have a way to summarize these results visually.

Displaying dashboard information – In order for dashboard information to be useful, metrics need to be easy to see and understand, and the information should be updated regularly. You can use whiteboards, chalkboards, hand held displays, computer screens, or electronic scoreboards. In the case of manual systems, updating takes time and effort, but the effort you make to keep information updated will send a clear message to your people. If you have a central database, software systems are available that can extract the data, and display key performance indicators automatically in real time. Finally, facility “electronic scoreboards” can be connected to these systems to make it easy for everyone to see what is happening.

Dashboard for senior DC management – At the highest level, DC management wants metrics telling them how the operation is doing, and letting them keep track of performance over time:
Labor cost per order
Labor cost per pick line
Shipping cost per order
Accuracy per order
Inventory accuracy
Area by area averages

Dashboard for functional work areas- For a particular work area (such as order picking, packing, or returns processing) metrics should be customized for the job being done. Here are some general examples of information that you can track:
Orders pending
Orders completed today (or shift)
Orders per hour
Lines per hour
Quality measure (accuracy, damage, etc)
Week or month to date summaries

Dashboard for individual associates – For individual associates, provide information on how they are doing compared to any established standards and compared to others. They should also get an idea of how they are doing over time:
Individual production rate (orders/lines)
Individual accuracy or quality measure
Daily, weekly, monthly trend
Performance compared to standard
Performance compared to peers

Sam Flanders is president of Durham, NH-based Warehouse Management Consultants. To learn more, go to