Whoever said that was partially correct...
Perhaps it should be "the first step in managing a process is to measure it".
Unless you measure something, you will never know whether it is getting better or worse. You cannot manage for improvement if you cannot see or analyze what you are trying to improve. Measuring for continuous improvement produces vast amounts of data (e.g. from sensors or instruments, etc.)
In the diagram above, your production facility ① produces vast amounts of data ② about your processes. This data is produced by sensors, instruments, PLCs, etc. In some form or another, the data is stored in one or more data stores ③. In many cases the data stores are simple databases, like Excel, but in other cases they are industrial Tag Historians, SQL databases or even online IoT data providers. The data on its own is not always useful for monitoring whether we are improving or not. It needs to be processed into useful information.
Huge volumes of data are collected into these various data stores ③. What becomes important is how we “see and understand” this data. You may be thinking “Advanced Analytics” or “Statistical Processing”, but these powerful tools are not always necessary. There is a simple and increasingly valuable option, and that is simple effective data visualization ④ that everyone, at all levels and functions within an organization, can see and understand. Applying basic data visualization best-practices provides a quick and accurate understanding of the data ⑤. This understanding creates a “picture” of how the production facility is performing – a “picture” that can be compared to your organization’s goals. This comparison leads to informed action.
The comparison of actual performance to organizational goals allows for better and more frequent decision making ⑥, which leads to improved operational effectiveness. The quicker and more accurately information can be gained and understood from the data ④, the faster the cycle of informed and effective decision making can be iterated, ultimately enabling the organization to achieve and exceed its goals.
By driving this Data to Information to Action cycle, the Flow Information Platform empowers people across many functions and levels in an organization to make informed decisions, more frequently. This results in optimizing the operational effectiveness of new and existing equipment and process investments.