Do you need to work out a
table of specification...

Putting pen to paper for table of specification brainstorming.

...If you're getting into a machine information systems?

Do you need to do that if you're getting
into a machine information systems?

Well yeah that would be a very good starting point!

Woa heck yes, it is probably the most important thing to do at the outset when looking into any of the information systems around!


Much as people are different, every machine shop situation is different in some way. So I would expect your system requirement specification to be different to the next person(s). Maybe only slightly in some cases, but even so, it would still need to be tailored to your exact needs to serve you well.

So, how do you go about working out your exact system requirement specification? That's quite easy to do, if you think about it, just start at the end result you want, then work backwards.

Table of specification brainstorming.

Aha, what's required now is a bit of brainstorming then. This is to figure out exactly all and which type of system information would serve you best at the outcome. Let's have a little look into it then.

Come then; get some bits of paper and a pencil, not a pen (you might want to rub some things out, (ha ha more than once) and at the top of the page write the words "MIS Table of Specification".

Now throw caution to the wind and tell me (yes say it out loud) all the things that you would like to know about your production machine shop that you don't know now or takes time to find out. Don't worry about whether it's viable or not yet, just go for your life here!

Ha ha, you know what I'm going to say next! Yep, now write 'em all down in a vertical line on the page in front of you, oh go on, this is all part of the brainstorming process so humor me a bit. Besides which this is the first draft which we'll refine and thin it down to be a more realistic and useful table of specification in the end.

Ok, now you've got a list of things like (depending on your business area) production total, waste total, units per hour average, setup time, whose turn to make the tea, maintenance time and so on. Now what we need to do is add some priority and importance to each of the suggestions you've written down.

Obviously, "whose turn to make the tea" goes at the top! But after that, give the rest of your entries a number, one, two, three or four. One being most important to you and four being the the least important.

Now what I'd like you to do is to re-write your list on the left hand side of a new sheet of paper. With all the number one's at the top, followed by the number two's and so on for the rest.

Have you done that now . . .



Now, we need to take your prioritized table of specification and write the most important entries in a column on the right. You'll know the ones I mean, this is all the must have information entries and write them in a column just to the right hand side of this one.

Next, I would like you to write all the highly desirable information entries that aren't in the second must have column you've just written. Write all these down making a new column to the right of the last one.

If you've been following exactly my method here, you should have a page with three columns, with the left hand one containing all the entries of the middle and right columns. Because I forgot to say 're-write Table of Specification at the top' to start with (hee hee). But you can do that now if you like.

Now depending on how many entries you have in your left column, depends what happens next. What we're aiming for here is a short list of say ten to fifteen entries. That's not cast in stone of course, you may want more (or less) data from a machine or management information systems report.

But the more that you desire will affect the overall cost because it will mean more sensors and inputs on a local PLC to gather the information. As well as more programming time to process and display the data within an information system.

This is why I suggest to aim at ten or so individual pieces of data, which is not hard to come up with granted, is it! So now you know, overall cost is the main reason for this thinning of the 'Table of Specification'.

It's an exercise to get down to what you need from a machine or management information systems output. Hey, if you need more than ten don't worry, so be it!

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