To keep up with all this, manufacturers need to turn their data into a competitive advantage by leveraging business intelligence tools. 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 centers, or in post-sale processes. Here are three of the key moments in the manufacturing process that can be transformed by embracing data analytics.

Tracking Orders and Shipments

In 2013, manufacturing firms were responsible for over 60.6 percent of U.S. exports—they were, and still are, a major force in the U.S. economy. To ensure that these shipments are being processed and delivered properly, operation managers need to be able to gather insights from sales and distribution centers 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 fulfillment, leading to increased customer satisfaction.

Analyzing Operations, Costs, and Finances

Today, manufacturing workers are more than 2.5 times more productive than they were in 1987. But how much more efficiency can be squeezed out of the manufacturing process through traditional methods? Adding powerful, advanced analytics allows organizations 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. Organizations can also see how different areas of the business—like budgets, labor costs, or inventory prices—may change as a result of shifts in production.

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.