If you search on “the six signs” you will find references to a fantasy novel, “The Dark is Rising Sequence” by Susan Cooper. In this fantasy work there are six signs: wood, bronze, iron, water, fire and stone. Their purpose has something to do with driving away the Dark. Here is a quote from the book that puts these six signs in some context:
When the Dark, comes rising, six shall turn it back;
Three from the circle, three from the track,
Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone;
Five will return, and one go alone.
OK, back in the real world the six signs can mean other things. In the case of yield management, yieldHUB recently published a piece called 6 signs you need to invest in a YMS. A lot of companies face this decision. Often, they pull the trigger on more formal yield management capabilities too late, resulting in a lot of growing pains. So, having a way to “read the situation” can be very, very helpful. Here is a summary of the six signs that you need a yield management system. Watch for them. Not heeding the six signs may not cause the end of the world as we know it, but it will certainly cause a lot of missteps as your organization grows.
1) Your team spends more time gathering and converting data than analyzing and solving problems
This is a really easy trap to fall into. Gathering, collating, validating and cleaning data before you analyze it is a natural instinct. Often, product engineers do this work to facilitate analysis and optimization (the important stuff). From a pure resource management point of view, having highly skilled product engineers collecting and organizing data isn’t the best use of their time. A yield management system (YMS) will do this task automatically and never miss a beat.
2) Your teams work in different locations
Given the COVID world we live in right now, it’s almost guaranteed that your team will be working in different locations. This issue goes beyond face-to-face access, however. The key point is communication of timely, relevant and actionable information across the enterprise. Sending spreadsheets via email is bound to propagate out-of-date information and confusion. If your team is located in different countries, language will be a challenge as well. Sending graphical reports often helps to get everyone focused on the right thing but preparing those reports from spreadsheet data is time consuming and it’s hard to keep everyone in sync.
A cloud based YMS will tie everyone together with up-to-date information and easy to generate reports. The “single source of truth” refrain about networked information is very relevant here.
3) Storage issues
This one is easy. Large data logs take a lot of bandwidth and this slows your servers down. If getting your information in the right place is taking too long, you may need that cloud based, single source of truth YMS system.
4) Data archiving
I’ve touched on this one in a prior post. If you have customers with long shelf-life products (any infrastructure gear qualifies), they will expect you to have detailed product information available on a moment’s notice, should a field problem crop up. This will likely wind up in your contract with them. A cloud based YMS is the best way to have this key data be persistent over time.
Maintaining this information can also be a competitive advantage. If you have all the history for the prior designs, you have a better chance of winning new designs.
5) You need to do Characterization or Gage R&R
First a quick definition. I hadn’t heard the term Gage R&R. In case you’re like me, it means:
The terms stand for gage repeatability and reproducibility. It is a statistical tool that measures the amount of variation in the measurement system arising from the measurement device and the people taking the measurement.
Essentially, a way to measure your measurement systems. This kind of work requires assembling and correlating data from many sources. If you’re not careful, you’ll spend more time collecting the data than analyzing it. A good YMS will offer these tools.
6) You should invest in YMS if your team needs to receive alerts
This is really just about everyone. Test results go out of spec, lots get put on hold and sometimes things get a lot worse. You need to be in front of these kind of trends, and automated alerts is the way to do this. A good YMS will allow you to subscribe to the kind of alerts that you need and opt out of the ones you don’t need.
So, there are the six signs that you need a yield management system. Ignore these signs at your own peril. The article from yieldHUB provides more detail and context. You can find the article here.
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