Monday, September 05, 2005





Mapping Software: Putting Data Visualization on the Map








Information Technology

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Mapping Software: Putting Data Visualization on the Map

Author: Joe Miller



Mapping Software Improves Data Visualization



From the outset, it is important to clarify exactly what mapping software is and what it has to do with data visualization. If you are looking for driving directions for your next road trip, this is not the article for you. If you are looking for a tool to organize and bring to life complex levels of information which revolutionizes tracking and reporting, then you have come to the right place. Data visualization used to be visual organization of data in simple bar charts, pie graphs, or some form of mapping until mapping software enabled data visualization to simplify complex levels of interactive information.

Mapping Software Tools



The reason why mapping software is able to make so much information interactive is that it interfaces with so many interactive mapping tools commonly used in the business world. Any report, map, chart, or graph used in tracking, reporting, presentations, or research will benefit from mapping software. The following is a brief explanation of many of the tools used in mapping software.

Flash



Flash technology streamlines information by making visible only what you are looking for. For example, you may move your map from the �home� link to the �about us� link of a website and see the �home� menu disappear and the �about us� menu pop out. What you are looking for appears, everything else disappears.

Java



Mapping software also interfaces with Java technology, allowing networks to benefit from mapping software. Each manager, employee, and customer will be able to interact with the company information they need.

HTML



Mapping software interacts with HTML in order to provide interactive information to the broadest number of businesses and consumers. Using HTML enables the entire World Wide Web to receive and convey interactive information.

JSP



JSP technology uses java for web page content, and when teamed together with mapping software, each web page comes alive. Interactive data is able to work with any server, from the WWW to the remotest consumer.

PHP



PHP technology is server-side coding which interfaces with HTML. ASP, Perl, and Cold Fusion technology interact similarly with HTML, which means they work similarly with mapping software to create dynamic pages.

.NET



Even WWW networks using TCP/IP network protocols using .net technology can interface with mapping software to bring .net charts, .net graphs, and .net maps to life both within the business and among clientele.

PDF



The concern of businesses using any of these networking or programming technologies is based on long experience of not being able to convert HTML, Java, JSP, ASP, Perl, Cod Fusion, .Net, PHP, or any other type of interactive information into a printable copy. Mapping software provides a solution by allowing any of these technologies to convert to PDF.

Mapping software has benefited companies as diverse as airlines and chambers of commerce and people as different as a 6th grader and a CEO. The diversity of mapping software lies in its interfacing with common business and educational technologies.


About the Author

Joe Miller is an author of informational articles and online advertisements on business software. Find out how your business can use Mapping Software at Corda.com.

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Lean Manufacturing Through Factory Floor Innovation








Information Technology

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Lean Manufacturing Through Factory Floor Innovation

Author: MDSS-Machine performance

Taking the concepts of the Toyota System and enhancing them with today�s information systems technology has been the key to allow some manufacturers to unlock the door that leads to a short-cut in process improvement projects. They are rethinking the good ideas of lean manufacturing and are using today�s factory floor information tools to quickly and easily improve factory floor performance, customer responsiveness and their bottom line.

Process improvement through a leaner approach and finite scheduling for the factory floor can be demonstrated in a number of ways:
Minimize cycle time
Minimize inventory
Meet customer expectations in quality and delivery
Look for ways to improve changeover
Empower the workers
Create a culture for continuous improvement

Creating a �culture� for continuous improvement can be realized through another lean concept� the use of visual aids. By making the factory floor activity visible through the use of the Manufacturing Execution System (MES), and measuring the flow times of parts on a continuous basis, the factory has a benchmark from which to identify areas that need improvement and the system to demonstrate those improvements.

For example, of the factories that are moving to lean manufacturing, how many have put a machine monitoring equipment in place to measure the flow time of a part? If there is a system that allows this basic metric, how many can tell the percentage of time that parts are being �value-added� verses the waste (or non value-added) time? Time is wasted during a downtime occurrence, waiting for a tool/die/mold or other necessary piece of equipment. Other examples of waste are times spent waiting for a quality check or unnecessary time in changeover/set-up.

With information systems for factory floor data collection, the analysis of the factory floor processes and the flow of parts, sometimes referred to as a �current state map�, can be made visible. If your company is going take action to improve the process then why not make the process flow visible and available all day, everyday. If improvement is truly continuous, then why make the evaluation of the flow episodic.

So why not think creatively from the get-go and put a factory floor information system in place that can help you and your company move forward with Lean concepts of identifying problems, the flow of parts, and measure change over times? Just because Toyota did not use electronic information systems, does not make it wrong to install them on the floor. To the contrary, it is the American Manufacturer that has the opportunity to improve on these Lean concepts with information systems that can be married into a Lean process improvement program.

1. Make sure the entire factory floor is involved with the system and that they are empowered to identify problem/alert situations.

2. Allow the system to provide a JIT production approach, which is dynamic and can be reactive to customer and floor demands.

3. Find a way to record changeover times tracked to specific assets and people.

4. Identify the opportunities for process improvement and keep a record of it.

5. Allow the floor personnel access to better communications like email where appropriate.

6. Improve the operator�s access to data by providing electronic �paperless� display of current, as well as, newer style electronic image and video documents.

7. Make the quality checks part of the process and capture it electronically so alert conditions of non-conformance conditions can be captured in real-time.

Implementation of Lean Manufacturing through a factory floor system can save time and money and put you in the driver seat towards more profitable production.

Think creatively. Use information tools creatively. Use the information tools that are designed to improve the process.

For more information, visit MDSS-manufacturing shop floor software company

About the Author

About MDSS:
Since 1984, MDSS has been a leader in the development, implementation, and support of software products for manufacturing companies. MDSS sells products that help manufacturers better manage inventory, shrink cycle time, and increase productivity. The current focus of MDSS is on FACTIVITY, a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) with modules for time and attendance, shop floor management, machine monitoring, and more.

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