1 Yes, if decision making ability is defined as implementation of good decisions. In moving from a larger company to a smaller one, I have noticed less bureaucracy and good decisions are implemented more frequently and faster.
2 My observation is that even when advanced analytical tools are available, many managers simply don't want to take advantage of them. They still rely on their gut instinct or their personal experiences.
3 Now most "big decisions" not only take big bosses here in US...but also sign off at global HQ in Europe...who often times respond with "more data/scenarios". They are effectively bringing our business performance to their level...DOWN
4 Since data is so readily available, people are expected to be aware of key parameters 24/7 which causes stress and erosion of trust in the facility.
5 I worked with 3 companies. Mead was good and has got better (MWV). Union Camp was good but got absorbed by IP and it keeps getting worse. James River disappeared. The unit I was part of (JRG) went through several hands, each more interested in cash than re-investment - so decisions there ... get worse from my perspective of wanting to see vibrant US manufacturing. Recently Anthony McLaurin took over Fibermark and rescued it - good decisions there now in a timely manner.
6 Data that clearly supports a decision is now more quickly available. More data can be assembled and formatted for effective presentation more quickly than in the past. As a result, better decisions can be made more quickly than before.
7 Despite OSHA PSM rules, despite mills shutting down, despite obvious deterioration, mills are still making conscious decisions to "put off", or ignore, inspection and maintenance on expensive, long-leadtime equipment. Watching a mill die from the inside out is painful. And all to save a few bucks on the maintenance budget... :(
8 The answer really is yes and no for it depends on the individual making the decision, just as you describe. Many have been able to evaluate a situation more quickly, reaching their conclusion in short order, but there are still those, fortunately only a few, who can't seem to get enough data. I often think this is just an excuse to cover their inability to make critical decisions. The worst example in my experience drove all reporting to him crazy as paper piled up on his desk while he endlessly analyzed, analyzed, analyzed.
9 The ability to analyze and troubleshoot breaks and system upsets has contributed to greatly improved machine availability, acceptance, and overall machine efficiency. Improved data has also allowed up to make huge strides in reducing energy consumption and cost.
10 Strategic plans and business models have focused scope of business and thus enabled more rapid (constrained) decisions to be made. But this has been partially offset by too much data but not much more information.
12 Despite far fewer people, committees are still too common. Members do not value thought and people have less time for it.
13 Scrap Rates have fallen drastically in my mill over the last 11 years - as a result of adding in Scanners with real time data and providing operators with information to make better operating decisions. Of course, people still make lots of dumb decisions every day and tend to ignore data that doesn't fit with their world view - but I do think overall we operate with better info and make better decisions.
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