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Data Analytics for Manufacturing

17th November 2016

Data Analytics for Manufacturing

Over the past decade the manufacturing industry has gone through some huge changes. The forces of globalization have continued to put pressure on manufacturers to reduce production costs. Manufacturers are inundated with data, but many have no unified way of analysing it, and their customers have easy access to information like product reviews and competitor pricing that makes competition even fiercer.

To keep up these mounting pressures, manufacturers need to turn their data into a competitive advantage through the use of Business Intelligence. By integrating advanced analytics into their operations, companies can find significant and truly innovative insights into the various areas of their business—in the design process, on production lines, in distribution centres, or in post-sale processes. Here are, for example, three of the key moments in the manufacturing process that can be transformed by embracing data analytics.

1. Tracking Orders and Shipments

Manufacturing firms are major contributors to the economy both internally and through what they export to other countries. To ensure that these shipments are being processed and delivered properly, operation managers need to be able to gather insights from sales and distribution centres at a moment’s notice.

By applying analytics to their data, manufacturers can more efficiently manage inventory materials and boost on-time deliveries. At any moment, distribution managers can:

  • Tap into insights that improve performance
  • Reduce costs and mitigate risks
  • Check their inventory in real time

Production managers can also make quick decisions that improve order processing and fulfilment, leading to increased customer satisfaction.

2. Analysing Operations, Costs, and Finances

Manufacturing workers are, of necessity, becoming more and more productive over time partly through streamlined working processes and partly through the use of technology in manufacturing processes. But how much more efficiency can be squeezed out of the manufacturing process through traditional methods? Adding powerful, advanced analytics allows organisations to gain better insight into all the different areas of manufacturing performance. With mobile tools, manufacturing managers can pull up their cost analysis at any time, track materials anywhere, and weigh the impact of alternative options from their phones or tablets.

Manufactures can also improve the efficiency of their operations by running “what-if” scenarios on supply and demand, and forecasting demand based on historical information and trends over time. Organisations can also see how different areas of the business—like budgets, labour costs, or inventory prices—may change as a result of shifts in production.

3. Improving Product Quality

Manufacturers have an abundance of operational data, originating from distributors, suppliers, vendors, and customers themselves. Data analytics helps manufacturers blend information from various sources and provide a holistic view on areas to focus on to improve overall product quality.

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