January 29, 2019

Why Do Manufacturers Use Business Intelligence (BI)?

Your products may be the star of the show, but there is something else of great value being produced on the manufacturing plant floor:  Data. Big Data. Gigabytes upon gigabytes of it. Between ERP, CRM, and the dozens of other solutions that power the modern manufacturing industry, companies today have an unprecedented amount of opportunities to achieve operational excellence by leveraging all this data.

There’s just one problem.

Enterprise data is messy. It is complicated, scattered, and inconsistent. Too much information is hidden away in isolated repositories under different custodians. Because of this disconnect, companies often rely on cumbersome spreadsheets for analytics and typically experience a time lag in providing insights to decision makers.

Manufacturers need easier ways to extract insightful, actionable information from their data and answer some very big questions:

  • How can we work smarter?
  • How can we improve our processes?
  • How can we maximize revenue and be more profitable?
  • How can we be more competitive?

Enter Business Intelligence (BI).

What Is Business Intelligence?

BI is defined as “technologies, applications, and practices for the collection, analysis, and presentation of business information.” Its purpose is to support better business decision-making.

For manufacturers, BI is a powerful complement to other enterprise solutions such as ERPCRMsupply chainfinancial, and asset management applications.

The application of BI to enterprise data has led to a “new industrial revolution” of sorts in the manufacturing industry. In this new era of data transparency, companies are finally leveraging one of their greatest assets — their data — to overcome inefficiencies and drive improvements.

Areas typically improved by BI include:

  • Margin
  • Quality
  • Safety
  • Efficiency
  • Resource Allocation
  • ROI
  • Risk Abatement
  • Time-to-Market
  • Collaboration
  • Monetization

What Can You Do With BI?

At a very high level, applying business intelligence to Big Data enables manufacturers to:

  • Aggregate & standardize data from multiple repositories across the enterprise
  • Interact with data to reveal links, patterns, and inefficiencies
  • Generate actionable intelligence

Companies can leverage BI to do some pretty remarkable things in many critical areas throughout the business:

  • Synchronize production with customer demand
  • Optimize processes & increase throughput
  • Consolidate & reduce production & operating costs
  • Optimize inventory & conserve working capital
  • Improve cooperation & collaboration
  • Identify your best & worst performing suppliers
  • Identify your most profitable customers, products & channels
  • Get a bird’s-eye view of customer information
  • Pinpoint the metrics & indicators that improve customer satisfaction
  • Improve sales forecasting
  • Reduce the administrative & technical demands of measurement & reporting
  • Quickly model and assess the impact of change.
  • Test alternative strategies with “What if” scenarios
  • Minimize risks along the supply chain

This is only a small selection of examples of how BI can be applied and what it can do. The full truth is nearly every aspect of your manufacturing business can be positively impacted through the intelligent application and analysis of data that business intelligence enables.

Infor + Birst: Cloud-Based ERP Meets Cloud-Based BI

Leading enterprise software company Infor has acquired Birst (a pioneer of cloud-native BI, analytics, and data visualization) to complement and strengthen its world-class CloudSuite™ and analytics applications. We can’t wait to see how this pairing shapes the  future for data-driven businesses using advanced BI, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

Learn More About Birst


Get in touch with Guide Technologies to discuss implementing & optimizing Business Intelligence for your manufacturing company.