Business intelligence is now the ultimate solution for almost any business line and every industry. According to a recent report by Techjury, as much as 33% of top-market enterprises worldwide will practice data-driven decision-making baked by business intelligence. In this article, we’ll spotlight the role of business intelligence technology in the Manufacturing industry, describe what types of BI solutions prevail there, and define their core benefits for manufacturing companies.
The Role of BI in Manufacturing
The core sense of using BI tools in manufacturing lies in the fact that it provides you with deep data-based insights into the whole production process, including the supply chain, the production itself, third-party participants’ actions, and post-production operations.
Business intelligence tools can have different functionality depending on the chosen business line, but basic features usually include:
- the ability to assess the manufacturing process;
- tracking and understanding uptime and downtime;
- monitoring production performance and scrap rates;
- detecting errors and bottlenecks in real time.
Types of BI Tools in Manufacturing
Although there is a great variety of BI tools and technologies, producers typically use the following 3 types of BI solutions for getting insights:
- Spreadsheets: this is the most traditional way of gathering data, but it can be really slow, inefficient, and difficult to scale. Plus, it lacks structure and can’t produce reports and alerts on bottlenecks in real-time.
- Prebuilt manufacturing analytics: it typically comes with preconfigured dashboards and settings and has powerful functionality, but it can be too costly as a company should pay even for those functions they don’t need;
- Custom-configured BI solutions: flexible tools which can be tailored ideally to your business needs, so you pay only for features you actually use.
The major factor in choosing the proper solution type is defining how difficult it can be to install and use them in daily operations. Sometimes even top-market solutions from major BI providers like Tableau or Oracle can be difficult to grasp and use, as they require some technical background to make them work properly. We would rather recommend choosing a custom-configured solution from a reliable BI provider: thus, it will be extremely flexible functionally and fit your needs ideally.
Why is Manufacturing Business Intelligence Important?
BI, using the data generated by your manufacturing process, significantly helps in analyzing your production efficiency. It identifies ways for improvement, shapes your daily routine, and even predicts and eliminates possible force majors. Below we’ve collected the top 7 advantages of using BI in your manufacturing process.
1. Boosted productivity
One of the core benefits of using BI, is, of course, boosted productivity: with BI you can track uptime and downtime per any department, employee, or even machine you need, plus, you can clearly identify what should be improved in order to raise efficiency. Moreover, with predictive analysis in hand, you can see potential production bottlenecks even before they happen and prevent them.
2. More accurate demand forecasting
Of course, it’s almost impossible to predict the level of demand ideally, but with BI you can make your forecasts much more accurate. Using real-time metrics for each relative period, you can effectively plan the rate of purchasing for the next decade, calculate your production capabilities, and include all the inventory needs there.
3. Improves supply chain management
BI tools help companies get more transparency over their supply chain, as with real-time analytics managers can know exactly what materials they need, how much, and by what time. Thus, they can always have the needed materials on hand, and, what’s importantly, control transportation and supply chain costs, the rate of materials usage, and the overall efficiency of supplier performance.
4. Smart alerting
It’s of crucial importance to be notified when errors or unexpected situations occur. With BI tools, you can set automatic alerts for certain conditions, for example, inventory drops, and quickly react to negative changes.
5. Better quality control
Intelligence tools can also significantly improve the quality of the products you produce, as they help identify and track defects at any production stage. Moreover, with the help of deep customized analytics, you can get detailed reports on returns rates and the level of customer satisfaction.
6. Transparency in financial management
Analytics tools can provide you with 100% transparent financial management. You can use BI to calculate your budget, cut unnecessary costs, and even make forecasts on which KPIs you will have in the next decade, including production itself, sales, and clients, and how to increase them.
7. Enables faster decision making
BI tools collect and analyze data without any break, so you always have fresh reports and deep customized analytics at hand to quickly react to any operational issues, force majors, or market changes that happen daily.
Driving the Line
BI is a powerful software technology that is widely used by almost every industry and enterprise. In manufacturing, it’s predominantly used to boost productivity, increase transparency over production processes, and prevent bottlenecks. Every year business intelligence algorithms become more sophisticated and powerful, so even small companies can enjoy the benefits of this robust technology to improve their KPIs. Choose a trusted BI provider, build your own business-tailored BI solution that fits your manufacturing needs ideally, and benefit from the advantages it offers.
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