Today, even the smallest manufacturers face competition on a global scale. One of the key strategies to help get ahead in a world of increasing competition — for manufacturers of all sizes, but especially small and medium businesses — is to make sure your company is adopting the tools and culture needed to become am agile, data-driven organization.
The ability to adapt as fast as changes occur in the global marketplace is paramount for survival. Business intelligence software for manufacturers helps users glean key insights to react to these changes in real-time. Whether it is a hold up along your supply chain due to extreme weather or a spike in raw materials pricing that impacts assembly line costs, modern business intelligence helps users find ways to lean on data — not just your gut — to make the right decision for your manufacturing business.
Manufacturers can find success with business intelligence technology, whether they are a smaller regional operation or an international organization with products, locations and divisions spanning the globe. A common need for manufacturers of all sizes is to unify the company vision and ensure a single world view for all employees. Many turn to traditional reporting tools in an effort to save money, but often find these systems eventually require too much maintenance and hand-holding for any employees outside of IT.
In contrast, a modern self-service business intelligence tool empowers manufacturers to become data-driven without the need for standard reporting tools, allowing all users to eventually come self-sufficient with data. A good first step to see if these modern self-service tools will work for your business is to begin by running sales and inventory data through the system. Are you finding new opportunities? Perhaps discovering repeated mistakes? If so, other departments, finance to purchasing to operations should also be linked to the system. This results in one, fully integrated business intelligence and reporting system, arming employees with the tools to instantly open an analysis to see how the business is growing on a daily, monthly or yearly basis. For smaller manufacturers, this means a greater ability to compete with global companies, and for larger companies, the chance to find more regional opportunities.
Additional ways to find manufacturing success with business intelligence includes the ability to:
- Benchmark competitors: compare the performance of vendors, products, and all other relative data
- Cut Inventory: modern business intelligence tools help users easily follow inventory turn rates and identify items that aren’t moving and find the right order size and frequency
- Monitor delivery: an agile manufacturer using a business intelligence tool can be notified when a vendor doesn’t meet their delivery rate, check if it’s a reoccurring problem, and then take action
- Eliminate non-value-adding activities: many manufacturers have a stockpile of historical data collected over the years; business intelligence can put this data to work and identify non-value-adding activities, change the process, and monitor the results
- Secure cash flow: Business intelligence tools can even set the right payment terms by your debtor history and monitor the ones that disrupt your sleep
- Improve service: manufacturers can look to business intelligence to streamline service channels by sharing information both up and downstream through reports or a portal.
Beyond all the above benefits, the most important benefit business intelligence tools offer manufacturers is the ability to free key employees from performing trivial tasks and let them innovate business processes and products. In other words, business intelligence tools let the computer take care of monitoring and reporting so employees don’t have to.
So, collect all of your data and look to modern business intelligence technology to help create and share reports, dashboards and analyses to get an eye on exactly what you need to know to grow your manufacturing business. Business intelligence tools aren’t just for large, global conglomerates. This technology is accessible to manufacturers of all sizes and should be considered as a key way to stay ahead of the competition.
Ulrik Pederson is CTO of TARGIT.