The Problem with Real Time Information in the Real World

People today especially those in business, want information as fast as they can get it, the closer to real time the better. The problem is that more information does not equal more knowledge. People often make the mistake of thinking they have too react to the information as fast as they get it. They often do not take the time to separate what is important from what is not. Many people especially those in business expect immediate answers to questions. If those answers are not available immediately, they become angry and frustrated.

My husband works for a traditional manufacturing company. His company doesn’t make the parts, it makes the material that makes the parts. The core of what his company does hasn’t changed in a hundred years. They melt material and create blocks, tubes, and pipes out of it to be used by someone else. What has changed is the amount and speed of the information that is available to management. This has led to the problem of managers wanting and expecting information at all times whenever they call. They spend their days in front of their computers, watching the numbers go by them. If your department numbers don’t match what is on their screen, then you are the one who gets yelled at. Those departments who are good at manipulating the computer system have a distinct advantage over those who are not. For example one department has their computer system set to show any product that they are working on out of their department and on to the next as soon as they are finished with it. In the computer it looks like the next department has the product, even though it maybe 30 miles away from them sitting in a yard. Any problem with that product is also moved to the next department, even though they haven’t taken possession of the item.

It would be nice if this story was unique to the company my husband works for, but I suspect it is not. This is clearly a case where the technology is way ahead of those who are using it. I believe it may take a new generation that grows up with real time information to understand how to properly use it. What do you think, do you have similar problems at the company you work for and have you found a solution for it.