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How is Business Intelligence changing the manufacturing industry?

The manufacturing industry is one of the most complicated and demanding industries due to the complexity of operations and production. Many companies strive to simplify the systems to minimize the costs and increase the returns. This also includes reducing the waste of time, efforts, and inventory. So, it has become imperative to use big data and data analytics to be more data-driven. This approach provides you with insights into your system and processes for better decision making and problem-solving.

Challenges faced by manufacturing companies

Manufacturing companies face many challenges and concerns which ultimately slows down their operations and affects their ROI. Here are a few of the top challenges that manufacturers are dealing with.

  • Keeping the production costs low
  • Maintaining the product quality at lesser costs
  • Sustaining the quality of after sales services
  • Dealing with the complexity of operations and processes
  • Keeping pace with modern technologies
  • Complying with laws and regulations

 

Why adopt Business Intelligence in Manufacturing?

The manufacturing industry is constantly changing due to technological advancements. Companies are searching for ways to gain a competitive edge against their global competitors. Data-oriented systems are taking place of the traditional ones. As companies are facing more and more challenges as mentioned earlier, the demand for simple, data-driven insights is greater than ever.
Manufacturing companies are very data-intensive but often they are not able to use the data wisely. Huge piles of data lie idle with the companies. Business Intelligence (BI) boosts the potential of these companies to make use of the collected data in a productive way. BI can simplify decision making and problem-solving. All the areas of manufacturing get transformed in a fruitful way when BI takes the reins.

Here are some functions which gain the most out of Business Intelligence in manufacturing.

1. Increases Operational Efficiency

With the help of BI, you can not only access but also understand huge volumes of data so that you can accelerate the pace of your operations and processes. With all the insights in hand, you can easily analyze the team performances and take corrective measures in case of any discrepancies. Incorporate financial and product models for in-depth analysis of product development and financial measures. Be it making sales strategy, forecasting or meeting market demands, BI can do it all and that too with more transparency and simplicity.

2. Streamlines Supply Chain and Logistics

With BI in place, you can evaluate the supply chain logistics daily and analyze the data to ensure timely deliveries and high-quality service. You can optimize the value of suppliers by giving them timely and insightful feedback on their services. With the fluctuation in supply and demand, you can keep a track of freight costs. With greater insights into each shipment, you can assess shipment performances and accordingly negotiate contracts.

3. Allows Informed Decision-Making

With multiple sources of data, manufacturing companies have loads of data tying idle. This asks for proper management, storage, and application of all these data. This is where BI comes to your help. With Business Intelligence, you can access large, cumbersome database and transform it into insightful and easy-to-understand pieces of information. BI tools present this information in the form of visualizations like graphs, trends, charts, etc. so you can take more informed and concise decisions. BI also helps you in forecasting and testing ‘what if’ scenarios.

4. Helps in Inventory Control

For manufacturers, inventory of finished goods in hand is the biggest asset. They also have an inventory of raw materials, replacements, spares, etc. which is crucial to manage too as inventory regulates the performance of the company. With BI, you can track and reduce the inventory costs across location and time. Keep a track of turnover rates, product margins, and defectives too. This will help you in inventory forecasting too.

5. Optimizes Financial Management

Business Intelligence in manufacturing can be used for various analysis like P&L, sales, inventory, assets, etc. Thus, you can get an idea about exact ROI from each stage. Maximizing profit margins is one of the most important yet complicated goals of manufacturing companies. You can do this by both external profit building and internal cost reductions. BI helps you in identifying new ways to generate revenue and save costs by providing an in-depth cost-benefit analysis. With dashboards for various elements like Account Receivables and Payables, Sales, Purchases, Asset Management, etc., you can have in-depth analysis of each of these factors.

Conclusion

The manufacturing industry is increasingly adopting BI in all its operations. The role of Business Intelligence in manufacturing operations is becoming significant. Companies are searching for solutions that optimize their complex processes while maximizing their profit margins too. BI in manufacturing companies is opening ways of making the manufacturing intelligence more acceptable. Business Intelligence enables you to do with what you have on hand for taking your business forward.

Agile, Waterfall and Hybrid framework: Which one to choose?

ERP implementation is a tricky thing. There are many methods of implementing an ERP project but to decide upon a method that suits your project the best is not easy. As per a report, from 2012 to 2016, 55% of project implementations exceeded their planned budgets and 66% took longer than planned. While the reasons for this statistics can be many, the one reason that stands out is project management. And more specifically, what is the best strategy for a successful project implementation. As ERP implementation projects progress, the main question that project managers must ask themselves is ‘Which project implementation framework best fits my project – Waterfall, Agile, or a hybrid one?
Let’s discuss in detail about these project implementation frameworks – Waterfall, Agile, or Hybrid

Waterfall

Waterfall framework is a traditional approach of project implementation which was adopted by companies with simple static business processes. It is a sequence of implementation stages that flows downward in a series of phases with deliberate deliverables in each phase. Typical phases are Feasibility > Plan > Design > Build > Test > PROD > Support. The emphasis is on design and requirements documentation to follow that offers relatively clear benchmarks to measure progress. These documentations are followed strictly with little flexibility. So, handling changes and issues is a tough task.
Here, any alterations in project scope, processes that didn’t make it into the initial planning, or any deviation from the original plan will cost you extra time, efforts and money.

Agile

The agile framework is based on an incremental and iterative approach. Here the software delivery is done incrementally from the beginning of the project rather than delivering it all at once near the end. So, the changes or alterations over time are possible keeping in mind the user feedback. As per a report by the Project Management Institute, almost 71% of organizations report using Agile approaches sometimes, often, or always. Agile methodology reduces waste by focusing development efforts on high-value features and reducing time-to-market. Also, rather than tight processes and rules, interactions and people’s involvement is encouraged.
Here, design and documentation are sometimes neglected so the chances of changes in scope, process and timeline are high. Continuous testing and iterations can prove tiring and time-consuming.

Hybrid framework

Both the methods have pros and cons. A hybrid approach takes the best of both the methods. Defined work, defined phases of project development and high-level requirement setting is taken from the waterfall approach. Regular iteration, testing, and stakeholders’ interactions are added from the agile framework. Combining these, you can take the advantage of a more practical and clear project roadmap with tangible and achievable goals. This makes it easy to track the progress and tackle any unforeseen deviations or changes.

Choose the best fit

Choosing the right methodology is of utmost importance before ERP implementation. Choose waterfall method if you have a small project with clear and defined goals and if you are sure that there would be almost nil deviation. However, if your project is large and complex, the agile method will be ideal. If you are not sure yet, go for the hybrid model that offers you the best of both the methods. Since each method – Agile, Waterfall, and Hybrid – has its own positives and negatives, analyze them carefully to choose the best fit for your project and business needs.
Planning to implement Microsoft Dynamics ERP and not sure how to proceed? Contact our expert consultants who can assist you right from your business study to support.

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