Manufacturing Dashboard using SAS/GRAPH

“SAS/GRAPH for great dashboards – Can SAS really do that?” Yes. If you license BASE SAS and SAS/GRAPH, you may already own the most powerful dashboard software in the world. You would never know it from the examples published by the SAS Institute, but SAS/GRAPH can render virtually any graphical display with high resolution and great fidelity to the design.

That’s the provocative start to a great post by Dashboard Spy reader, Neil Dulohery of Whitmarsh Associates as part of his blog, AutomateBI.

We’ve seen some wonderful examples of SAS/GRAPH dashboards by long-time Dashboard Spy contributor Robert Allison, but until now, he’s been practically alone in his pursuits. We’re glad to see our ranks of SAS/GRAPH dashboarders swell!

Take a look at the manufacturing dashboard provided by Neil Dulohery. It monitors the procurement of raw materials:

SAS/GRAPH dashboard for manufacturing

As Neil explained to me “Here is a manufacturing dashboard to monitor procurement of raw materials. The Lincoln Mill is fictional. All of the information is simulated. The real project in production for a number of manufacturing plants across the U.S. The project was developed in SAS/GRAPH, version 9.2. It is deployed as a set of interlinked web pages that refresh at 30 minute intervals. Users can drill down from dashboard indicators to supporting detail. My original post explaining the dashboard is available at SAS/GRAPH for Great Dashboards.

Here are some excerpts from his post explaining his dashboard. Be sure to visit Neil’s post to get the full details.

In Stephen Few’s Book, Information Dashboard Design, all of the designs he proposes can be fully automated in SAS with excellent visual fidelity. One can further enrich the user experience in SAS/GRAPH with customizable, context-sensitive tool tips that appear when hovering over any feature of the dashboard. Drill-down is possible from any context, including individual data points, whole graphs, an any other dashboard feature. The behind-the-scenes engines for data access and analysis enable the most sophisticated merging, processing, and refinement of information before presentation.

The dashboard below was adapted from one recently placed into production for a manufacturer with plants across the United States. The purpose is to monitor the process of procuring and delivering raw materials. These dashboards were developed in cooperation with local and corporate procurement managers. The intent of the project was to improve awareness of how the organization was performing relative to its own targets and recent history.

The most common comment I heard from this group is that they simply had never seen so much of the information they need presented in one place before. Speaking of one of the drill-down views, a procurement manager said that while other aspects of the dashboard were only 3 or 4 times better than anything he had seen before, that particular view was 1,000 times better because it put everything he needed to know about the subject onto a single page. The word, “Holy Grail,” was even mentioned. That remark lead me to believe that dramatic perceptual gains are indeed possible when a lot of related information is presented in a single well designed view.

Tags: SAS/GRAPH Dashboard, sas dashboards, manufacturing dashboard, procurement dashboards