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 most have no unified way of analyzing it, and customers have easy access to information like product reviews and competitor pricing that make competition even fiercer.
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.
As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities for using analytics to streamline manufacturing processes and turn data into a competitive advantage. To learn more about MicroStrategy’s capabilities in the manufacturing industry, check out our comprehensive guide.