Author: Ryan C Weiss
Garbage In, Garbage Out
How often have you looked at a data sheet and wondered if the calculations were accurate? When people see statistical data, it is often assumed that it is accurate. Numbers don’t lie… or do they? What happens if the people entering the data were distracted and entered data after the fact?
Data can only tell us so much. If the data is not properly entered, it will not reflect accurate information. Data does not always reflect proper context, leading to potentially inaccurate assumptions. When a company is working from inaccurate or incomplete data, it can decrease effectiveness, waste time, and negatively impact profits. Do you know where your data is coming from?
A printing factory was struggling to understand the data behind machine downtime. The data appeared to be showing problems with the amount of downtime in their machines. The company called in a process improvement expert, expecting him to instantly analyze the data they had collected and fix the problem.
Before looking at the data the company was providing him, the process improvement expert wanted to know where the data was coming from and how it was entered. The expert watched the processes of data collection during the downtime of the machinery.
Throughout an entire hour of downtime, no data was entered into the computer system. In fact, the computer screen savers never even went off. This meant data was being entered after the fact, creating unreliable data.
If data is not inputted accurately and in a timely manner, it becomes garbage. Any data provided is unreliable if not accurately entered. It creates a potentially false narrative as to why processes are not working. This then creates assumptions on how to resolve a problem when the real problem may not be portrayed.
Garbage data creates garbage solutions. When working from inaccurate or incomplete data, processes are missed, and time is wasted. People become disconnected from the processes, wasting time on a garbage solution. This can negatively impact employee morale and waste time. Wasted time becomes wasted money.
This method of data collection happens more frequently than people realize. People are multitasking and take notes so they can fill in the gaps later. The biggest problem with that scenario is memory is not always accurate, so those fillers can become false information. It may not start as intentionally falsifying information, but before you realize it you have forgotten the actual sequence of events.
There is no Magic Blue Pill
Before relying on data and assuming it is true, take into consideration how that data is collected and where it comes from. When data is not inputted as something occurs, such as what happens during machinery downtime, a false narrative can be created. The data can become unreliable.
There are solutions to resolve entry distraction and it does not come from a magic blue pill. It requires evaluation, patience, and understanding of the people and the processes. There is no quick fix and sometimes the problem is not noticed because people are too close to the situation.
If you are unsure where exactly your data is coming from, let the experts help!
Contact Effective Performance Strategies today to get you on your way to a more effective and efficient company by ensuring everyone has the proper tools and skills to ensure your data is not suffering from ED (Entry Distraction). Interested in learning more? Check us out at effectiveperformancestrategies.com or download your ebook at http://www.ryancweiss.com/ebook.