Managing Data Analysis in TQM Improvement Project - Tips to Cut Down 80% of Time Spent in Data Entry


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This article is written for team member who are either not formally trained in using the MS Excel spreadsheet or not even read a training manual in using MS Excel. But they are required to deal with data collection and compilation in their routine job or in this TQM Improvement project.

I am sharing this because as a facilitator to TQM Improvement Team, I have seen team members spend unnecessary time dealing with data collected and managing these data. To appreciate the content of this article, reader must understand the basics of MS Excel in terms of terminology, example; menu, scroll bar, cell, row and column etc. I am going to share with your some of the common mistake that my team members did without knowing they can cut down up to 80% of their time. Firstly, I like to cover the following topics.

Layout of the worksheet

Very often, the first row of the worksheet is used up for a title of the spreadsheet. Let’s say we call it “Material Loss Report". In some case, team member use up more than 3 rows. Then several rows are left blank, the title is keyed in say in row 5. Then the first title is keyed into cell B5. Let me illustrate what I meant as follows:-

At Cell:B5,

Date | Line # | Process Name | Loss qty |

12/6/06 | 2 | Polishing | 231 |

Data Entry Method

Having properly designed layout in the spreadsheet would save a lot of time in data entry using some of the build in functions in MS Excel. An effective data entry would result in data accuracy and integrity which is very critical for an improvement project.

Here is what I meant; Often, team members would move their cursor into the spreadsheet to do data entry within the format they created. It is not an issue when the spreadsheet is still small can contain not too many row or column. However, it will become very tedious when the number of row and column increases. Next issue is that data entry into the spreadsheet direct from the format will create data entry error due to fatigue.

What is the option then, it is simple. Use the build in function in the “data" menu, click on the “form". A form will appear that show the title above in the nice format for easy for data entry. When data is completed for one record, you click the close button, the data will automatically updated to the spreadsheet.

While you are still in the form, options are available to add new record, Find Prevrecord; find Next record; or close the data entry form etc. It is a smart and simple build in function to use for data entry.

Please click To View Graphic explanation of Data Entry Form

My next article will share with you tips on how to do a fast quality control with your data spreadsheet.


All rights reserved. This article is written by the author based on his practical application experience. All definitions and interpretation of terminology are his point of view and has it has no intention to conflict with experts in similar topic. The author holds no responsibility for the use of this article in any way.


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About the Author: LM Foong

The author provides consulting services specializing in TQM Implementations in manufacturing and service sector. He provides facilitation workshops and hands-on application in Cost Reduction and Productivity Improvement projects. He publishes TQM articles, ebooks, case studies, trainer manual and presentation slides. Please click To View Free TQM articles or Please Visit my Web Site for other TQM related matters


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