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# What is The Data Collection Equation

The data collection equation is the formula on which factory floor data collection is based. Since the beginning of the computer era in the early 1960s, this equation has gone largely unchanged. Whether the computers involved were mainframes or desktop units, the elements of the equation have remained the same.

## Gathering Data

The first element of the data collection equation is gathering data. Most frequently, data has been gathered by operator observation of a process or condition that is then recorded on a form or check sheet using a pencil or pen. This is inherently a slow process subject to operator error and incorrect reading or interpretation of recorded data.

## Data entry

Data entry is the second element of the data collection equation. It involves entering the collected data via a keyboard into a computer, either at a mainframe terminal or a desktop workstation. Again, it is a time-consuming procedure, often performed by dedicated operators who must interpret thousands of hand-recorded entries during a single shift.

## Error

Based on these first two items, error becomes the third element of the equation. Because of the human inputs involved, error is unavoidable. Data has either been mistakenly recorded at the point of entry, or mistakenly entered at the computer keyboard. The majority of these errors are not discovered until the entered data is reviewed, either at a computer terminal or in printed reports.

## Data Re-entry

This leads to the fourth element, data re-entry. Errors discovered following the original data entry stage must be corrected. This involves repeating the labor-intensive step of keyboard entry to ensure that the correct data becomes part of the record and is available for review.

## High Cost

Of course, all of these elements add up to the sum of the equation, the final element of high cost. This cost is a result of the number of labor-intensive steps involved in the data collection process. Beginning with the area of data collection for Statistical Process Control, DataMyte has been dedicated to automating the data collection equation for over 35 years.

The goal of automated data collection is to re-write the data collection equation. With automated data collection, the equation has only two elements: Gathering Data and Data Entry. By using a computer-based data collection device with electronic data collection forms, drop-down menus, and pre-determined pick lists, the chances for operator error at the data gathering stage are greatly reduced. The second element, data entry, becomes completely automated. Data is sent electronically, either via a cable hookup or wireless transmitter, directly to the computer system used for analyzing and reporting the data, thus eliminating completely the chance of human data entry error.

DataMyte currently markets data collection systems for the traditional SPC (Statistical Process Control) market, as well as data collection systems for broader applications in manufacturing and commercial environments.