It’s not often that we quote ancient Greek playwrights, but this morning I’m thinking about Sophocles. One of the 3 greatest Greek tragedy writers (think Oedipus Rex fame), he’s credited with the quote “look and you will find it – what is unsought will go undetected” and it’s making me think of confirmation bias in the workplace. Today, we’ll look at it on your shop floor.


We’ve been talking about speculation a lot internally at CIMx. When a customer or prospect asks for something, we often think about, and sometimes opine on, why they want or need it. We are an organization that provides you with the data you need to make decisions and yet we understand, too, how it is far too easy to let opinion and personal positions into the decision-making process. We encourage our team and yours to take “data breaks” to find the information needed to support or deny the question at hand.

Getting back to our man Sophocles, however, we also understand how very difficult it is to get the information you need.


Do you have accurate SHOp information?

This morning, as you walked around your plant, was there information that you wanted or needed that you couldn’t readily find? Did you ask someone for help and get an answer from them with either a cursory search on their part or no search at all, as they answered off the top of their head?  Are you sure the answer was correct?  There is an easier and more reliable way to get accurate production information when you need it.


Manage and Leverage Production Data with Quantum  LEARN HOW HERE


Data-based decision-making or data-driven decision-making (DDDM) is, at its core, the process of gathering enough information to be more accurate in choosing one thing over another. It’s using facts, metrics, and data rather than intuition and common knowledge or common sense. Data is much more difficult to come by than opinion. This is especially so in manufacturing.

This is also where confirmation bias comes in.

You go to the morning huddle. The board looks good. (We’ve been here before). Things look like they’re on track. Production’s steady. The entire team is here today. No late orders are posted on the board. Two thumbs up?

Not quite. Bob in Work Cell 1 can’t find the material he’s looking for and Stacy in Quality is measuring quality checks off the wrong version of your check sheet because she didn’t get the new copy.  Neither one of these is earth-shattering in and of itself unless Bob’s issue turns out to be that you are short a ton of inventory you need for production today.  Or, it turns out that Stacy misses the one new check that was brought about by a customer turnback.

The day continues and so do you. You think everything’s under control because, back to Sophocles, you’ve stopped looking for issues. Everything looked good on the surface. They will go undetected because you are not looking for them and you don’t have a system that is quietly looking for them for you. The huddle board confirmed what you went into the room both expecting and hoping. You didn’t have anything on fire when you went in, and nothing appeared on fire as you stood there. You were right.

Really? What about those hidden data points that you have neither the access to nor the inclination to look for? The board is telling you that things are good, so you assume things are good. Your bias is proven out.


See How Production Management  Works in Quantum  CLICK HERE


dig deeper, challenge assumptions

Let’s shift gears and take the example of a prospect. Our sales team works very closely with our prospects. They begin to learn about their processes and how they do business. During a product discussion, we often look to the sales team to provide the answers we’re looking for to support why or how we need to do something for the customer. In this conversation, it’s easy for the team to combine several customers’ needs or issues into one story and we could move forward with that unless we double-check the source.

Overcoming confirmation bias is often achieved by looking at things differently. It’s very challenging to push on your own assumptions and beliefs, so this will often be done by getting someone else to provide feedback. Choose someone who does not come in with an opinion or a small amount of information and make it the reason to act. Often, we find we need to go back to the customer to ask specific questions to get the data we need. Where do you turn?




manufacturing execution system intelligence

If you had a manufacturing software system, a true MES that tracks all the work that needs to be done and where it is in process, you would have that valuable source at your fingertips. A routing is not enough; you must go deeper. Build-books on workbenches with a job sheet from the ERP can’t handle this. You need something that double-checks the data reliably and regularly. You need a system that can alert you when the data says things aren’t going well, even (and most especially) when all looks calm on the surface.

Because only a manufacturing software system can be your eyes and ears for the information that most worried our friend Sophocles. You will leave no stone unturned in looking for and through the information because a structured system is doing it for you automatically.  

Ready to move forward faster? Engage with us to talk about leveraging real-time shop floor data to increase accuracy with MES Intelligence for complete production control from work instructions through shipping.  We’re only an email away,

Contact CIMx Software to see how a Manufacturing Execution System can improve production control for you.

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