If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it, says OneSteel Shutdown Manager and Mainstream Conference speaker Tony Keehn. Measurement is critical for any shutdown, but how you present your data may be even more important.
One of my favourite mantras for shutdown management is “if you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. The beauty of data is it gives us the power to make timely decisions based on accurate information. We all understand that good data could mean avoiding a serious safety breach, staying within your all-important budget, and completing your shutdown on time.
But sometimes the sheer amount of information available to us is simply overwhelming and it’s easy to get bogged down in the depths the detail. Enter the shutdown dashboard, a quick visual representation of your data that immediately shows whether your shutdown is going well (or not so well). It’s a tool I use on a regular basis and I believe is an essential communication tool for all levels of the business.
Dashboards can come from many different areas – you could pull this directly from your CMMS and get some basic information you need. I prefer to use an external dashboard so I can extract the exact data I need and present information aligned with business KPI’s. I run a daily shutdown meeting at 10:00 each morning and the dashboard is always the central focus, so it’s important to get it right. Here are my tips for creating a solid shutdown dashboard.
Make Your Data Timely
One of the biggest problems I see when extracting data, particularly regarding money or resources is processing the data as quickly as possible. In most cases, time sheets will come in at the end of the day and during the course of the following day they’ll be uploaded into the CMMS. Often it’s not until the next day that that information gets reported on. For me this is a day too late – 24 hours is a long time in a shutdown and a lot can spiral out of control during that time.
I think it’s essential to see exactly how we’re performing straight away, so I gather the time sheets from the previous shift at the start of each day and get it uploaded by the administrator as soon as they come in (usually 6am). I now have an immediate cost and resource burn rate as of 10:00 this morning. The whole process probably takes about two hours but I feel it’s worth it to have the timeliest information possible in my dashboard.
Keep It Simple
A good dashboard should give you most of the information you need in one glance so straight away you get an appreciation of how things are progressing. But it also needs to have enough detail in there for people to dig a little deeper when they see a red flag and get an insight into how this is being handled. It’s a fine balance between going too data heavy and confusing your stakeholders, and going too lean on data so people won’t get enough value from it.
Also, don’t under-estimate visual appeal. It has to look attractive for it to be easily read and understood. At the same time don’t overcomplicate it with special features and all the bells and whistles you can find.
Sometimes I’ll throw a photo in the front page if there was something significant happening the day before. Apart from making it visually appealing, it’s goes a long way to engaging people and making them motivated to help make the shutdown a success.
Accountability Is Key
Accountability is the backbone of a shutdown dashboard. By making people accountable for the data you are rewarded with accuracy, without that really you could just make up whatever data you want to make it look good. The way I do this is to assign a particular section of the dashboard to one person. For example my safety manager is solely responsible for entering the safety data into the dashboard and one of my planners is accountable for the planning data (pretty simple).
Because data is so important in our organisation, this responsibility is written into their position descriptions and by formalising it, I know they’ll have the tools, training, mentoring, coaching or whatever support they need to perform that part of their role. I could take this one step further and add KPIs to their PDs but usually I find this unnecessary. Because the dashboard is a focal point of our daily meeting, the people responsible for the data really understand the value of having accurate information in there. When every single person in the room is focusing on the data sitting inside the dashboard they realise what a powerful tool this is and it puts the right amount of pressure on them to get the right data in there. If we only used the data sporadically, I really don’t think it would have the same motivating effect as it does currently.
Align With Business KPIs
There is a lot of data generated by a typical CMMS and therefore a lot you could report on in your dashboard. The simplest way to choose which data to use is to align it with your business/shutdown KPIs. In general terms, most of the companies that I’ve worked for have pretty similar KPIs and therefore data to track: safety, time, money and risk. From there you might decide that you want to take something out and put something in but these four elements I find are core.
Finally, the data that goes into your dashboard must be 100% accurate. This plays into the point above about making people responsible and accountable for the data that goes in. If your people have no faith in the accuracy of your data they won’t respect it. No matter how many hours you put into meetings or creating a great looking dashboard, you won’t see the benefits that truly accurate, timely data can bring to a shutdown.
With thirty years’ hands on experience in maintenance and asset management, Tony Keehn is passionate about perfecting the shutdown management process. He was a featured speaker at Mainstream Conference, the asset management conference for companies that care about leadership, people and culture.
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