IQMS Blog for Manufacturing ERP Expertise

Information Transparency is Key, But Only With Strong Analysis

Posted by Liz Alflen on Thu, May 09, 2013 @ 09:23 AM

paper stack4 resized 600Social media and the authentic transparency of modern communication lend a certain casual intimacy to our information. We already know it all. What is posted as information can be assumed to be true and everyone can look up everything they need to know on the computer. But one still has to use some analytical skills to discern validity and proceed to make intelligent decisions.

This transparency extends to human resources and recruiting, where an Internet search on almost anyone and anything results in some morsel of information. It may or may not be accurate, but any results are considered public and relatively true and authentic. A person is somewhat in control of the "content" (one can even engage a "reputation tracker" to monitor any information posted), but never completely. This transparency also naturally extends to marketing where a company's reputation can be built or destroyed in moments by more or less authentic customer testimonials.

Over the course of the last century (give or take a half-century), there has been a philosophy about the efficiency of the market economy called the efficient market hypothesis. This philosophy states that everything that could be known or assumed was already or instantly accounted for (the market being "informationally efficient"). This is a way of justifying certain stock market moves in advance or in the wake of analyst pronouncements or financial news.

But a skeptical person may reserve judgment on all these topics. People can be very creative when fact-checking is lax (or even when it's strict, as in the SEC's role in the Enron debacle). It's important to read and analyze information on its own merits, rather than ride the bandwagon of organizational group think.

For example, there is a new marketing approach circulating through unsolicited emails that begins with a very friendly tone, such as, "Hi! How are you? It has been awhile since we have been in touch, and I wanted to let you know about (this new development)!" In my case, as I proceeded to read the email, I was met with disappointment. I thought it might perhaps actually be an email from someone I knew personally with whom I hadn't recently been in communication - this heightened my anticipation, and further, my disappointment. The solicitor got my attention by portraying a false intimacy with me, using information about me (my name, company affiliation and email address) to get my attention. However, the attention was short-lived; they did not get any further attention from me on my busy work day.

This led me to consider the assumptions we make when we embrace information brought to us so casually. If an unknown person walked up to us with the same greeting as that email, we would likely step back and ask, "Who are you?" or "Do I know you?" 

While still a skeptic about personal and casual information, I am a fierce and staunch believer in the use of quantitative data to derive important business decision making data. No offense to marketing (or recruiting, much the same), but there is a strong motivation in those areas to get the audience’s attention. There must be content to follow in order to sustain the relationship (between buyer and seller, employer and employee). With business management information, content is primary.

Visibility into your business operations is about data and facts. It is “transparent” in that (according to Wikipedia) it is: “Operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed.”

Visibility and transparency are important, but information is only a key to decision making for business operations. Further analysis, and with experience, good insights lead to a deeper understanding and improved decision making. A good ERP system can give you visibility into your operations, but an excellent manufacturing ERP system can provide analytical tools to accompany the visibility for better decision making. 

Tags: manufacturing ERP software, Human Resources