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Creating Departmental Dashboards
For HR, Manufacturing and Operations

by Shadan Malik, www.idashboards.comWednesday, May 2, 2007

Dashboards are a flexible business intelligence tool that can be used in any organization, department or division. In the previous issue, dashboards regarding the sales, marketing, finance and supply chain were reviewed. The following departmental dashboards will be discussed:

  1. Human Resources
  2. Manufacturing
  3. Operations

Human Resources

A human resources dashboard contains relevant metrics for managing the Human Resources department. Typical human resources metrics would include employee retention, employee turnover, employee training, skill gaps, headcount, travel costs, overheads, and human resources scorecards.

Depending on the level and area of an individual's responsibility, the metrics would be presented for that area at appropriate aggregate levels with security to block non-privileged metrics. The following are some of the human resources areas that may be included within a dashboard:

  1. Turnovers, new hires, and layoffs
  2. Skill gaps and training
  3. Employee satisfaction surveys and feedbacks
  4. Per-head productivity and revenue
  5. Employee costs, overheads, and benefits
  6. Full-time, part-time, and contractors

Human Resources Dashboard Scenario

The Vice President of Human Resources requires a dashboard with headcount summary by department, broken out into segments of full-time versus overall. She requires total employee costs by each department along with a comparison of the variance against the previous year. She also requires skill gap and turnover ratio information by each department.

The design of an effective dashboard in this scenario would require application of appropriate chart types such as column and pie charts along with speedometer charts. For example, headcount summary by department may be displayed through a pie chart, with separate pie charts for full-time versus overall headcount. Employee costs and quarterly variance by each department may be shown as a combination chart (column and line charts combined), where the line shows the variance. Skill gap and turnover ratio information may be effectively displayed on speedometers, with thresholds to indicate the relative performance of these metrics. The bands within the speedometers indicate the ranges for industry averages for the corresponding metrics. This would help monitor the company's workforce satisfaction as compared to similar companies within the industry.

Human Resources Dashboard
Human Resources Dashboard Showing HR Metrics for the Organization (Courtesy: iDashboards)


A manufacturing dashboard contains relevant metrics for managing a manufacturing operation. Typical manufacturing metrics would include capital expenditures, manufacturing costs broken into cost components, production times, production batches, real-time production status, and manufacturing scorecards.

Depending on the level and area of an individual's responsibility, the metrics would be presented for that area at appropriate aggregate levels with security to block non-privileged metrics.

Manufacturing Dashboard Scenario

The Vice President of Manufacturing requires a dashboard with manufacturing costs broken out by material cost, labor, overheads, and depreciation. He needs to monitor the monthly trend of manufacturing lead times in number of days and manufacturing batch sizes. He also requires three-month performance of capital expenditure against the budget.

The design of an effective dashboard in this scenario would require application of appropriate chart types such as stacked charts, trend line, and pie charts. For example, the material cost, labor, overheads, and depreciation metrics could be charted in a stacked bar chart. Capital expenditure could be shown as a monthly trend as compared against the budget. A trend line chart may show the manufacturing lead times trended over a three-month period and broken out in segments by the duration of manufacturing period (in days). Total manufacturing volume might be broken out by batch sizes and displayed in a pie chart to show the volume distribution by batch size.

Another function of a manufacturing dashboard might be to monitor daily operations with production volume by shift, downtime, and interruption monitoring. Below is a manufacturing dashboard with operations metrics for daily shifts and a description for production line interruption, if any.

Manufacturing Industry Dashboard
Activity Monitoring Dashboard Displaying Key Metrics for Daily Shifts in a Manufacturing Assembly Line (Courtesy: iDashboards)

Operations Management

An operations management dashboard is the most diverse of all divisional dashboards. It is unique to each organization and how it manages its operations. In some ways it is similar to the enterprise performance dashboards, except that there may be separate operations dashboard for each major area of operation within the enterprise. For example, a large retail chain may have its operations divided among stores, online, catalog, specialty, merchandising, and so forth. Each of these operations may have full-fledged departments of their own, and therefore they may not be viewed within the perspective of departments as discussed in this chapter, although these separate operations may share some common administrative departments such as Finance, Human Resources, and Order Fulfillment.

Operations management dashboards are for the senior managers responsible for the overall operations. Because the perspective of operations may widely vary by organization type, the key focus in each case must be to capture the metrics that reflect operational throughput. The following are a small sample of disparate operations types requiring operations management dashboard:

  1. Manufacturing and/or assembly operations
  2. Retail operations
  3. Services and consulting operations
  4. Call center operations
  5. Software development and testing operations
  6. Health care service operations
  7. Public service operations (government organizations)
  8. Charitable or social operations

Operations Management Dashboard Scenario

The director of a call center requires a dashboard with performance metrics for all call center staff members and the ability to compare each staff's performance against team benchmarks. She wants to view the weekly performance at a glance with key metrics such as number of calls handled, call handling time, and wrap-talk.

The design of an effective dashboard in this scenario would require application of appropriate chart types such as stacked column and trend line charts along with pivoting capability. For example, the talk time and wrap time may be charted as relative to each other using stacked column charts, and call volume may be charted as a separate three-dimensional column series. The individual handle time may be compared with the team's handle time as a combination chart (column and trend line combination) to easily show the relative performance of an individual as compared to the team. Pivoting capability is key in an easy comparison of a given individual's performance against the team's or any other staff member with a similar type of call handling situation.

These are just some of the various departments that dashboards can be applied. Visually displaying departmental metrics in a dashboard is an effective way to inform members in each department of their key performance indicators.

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