“The correlation between IT and factory costs is seen principally in terms of eliminating wasted time and effort. ‘Ahead of the game’ installations offer huge time and labour savings,” said Ian Roper, divisional director, supply chain solutions at Access Group. “Manufacturing and Supply Chain IT systems are not just a business cost – they are a vital tool in controlling and reducing other factory costs. But in a fast moving environment this can only be sustained by continual review, renewal and reinvestment.”
Business intelligence in manufacturing has a broad range of benefits. The most common and favoured benefit of having an integrated business intelligence solution is the ability to become proactive. This eliminates the risk of having to deal with rush jobs in a reactive approach, but also extends business development.
Business intelligence helps to increase the value of customer and business relationships. This can be solely down to the ability to produce and generate quick, accurate reports to stake-holders or business affiliates, offering a much valued insight into the road ahead or past activity.
Not only can reports be offered to boost relationships and trust, but also predict emerging trends, or key market behaviours. The ability to take reports and analyse patterns can boost production whilst working on efficiency. This is all down to informed decisions based on integrated data.
What this can further allow organisations to do is reduce the amount of stock they carry, as notifications can be cited for rising or shrinking trends in market behaviour. This can further improve planning, scheduling and production timing. In turn this can strengthen and add value to customer and business relationships, again being able to generate accurate reports on business behaviour.
There could be significant consequences by not having adequate insight; delivery of production or services could slip. This would not only disrupt the flow of an organisation, but also have a substantial affect on customer or business relationships. For many working in the supply chain sector relationships are built on trust. If this ethos shows signs of weakness they could have a ripple effect for every party involved. This can then potentially cause avoidable strain on your work force and organisation.
The strain on your organisation and workforce is an instance that will cause waves and disrupt your wider supply chain. This can be avoided with the right set of tools and the right insight to proactively see trends emerge. But with tools, such as, business intelligence, you can view, in real-time business analytics, insights and trends, allowing you to act to your advantage.
Having an insight tool in your supply chain could also secure further relationships with organisations when used as an insurance policy. The ability to deliver annual activity or reports can help various members of the chain drill right back to manufacturing, as well as providing solid foundations to conduct market research with like for like comparisons on customer planning and scheduling to predict sales forecasts.
With the correct tools, this can enable businesses to reduce burdens, risks and help strengthen relationships, whilst ensuring that the most pro-active, cost efficient and productive approach can be taken into consideration when planning and monitoring processes. Business intelligence should be used as a sword and a shield.
More information can be found in the whitepaper, Crunching factory costs with supply chain IT.