How Business Intelligence Can Improve The Manufacturing Supply Chain


Business Intelligence in Manufacturing

The manufacturing supply chain is a complex ecosystem that, when done right, can help companies reduce costs, increase efficiency, and improve customer satisfaction — all while creating scalability, decreasing costs, and increasing revenue. In a manufacturing supply chain, collaboration is key to ongoing success, as companies need to continually provide necessary information to each other, often in real-time, to communicate on deadlines, demand, quality issues, disruptions, and other key factors. One of the most important elements of the supply chain is Business Intelligence (BI). With properly implemented BI, companies can analyze their data and make informed, real-time decisions to improve production, inventory levels, warehouse management, shipping priorities, and so much more. But what does that actually mean?

The Current Manufacturing Supply Chain Landscape

Prior to the Covid-19 shutdown, well-designed supply chains were generally efficient and typically enabled Just-in-Time (“JIT”) fulfillment, allowing many mid-market distribution companies to drop ship orders directly to their final destination without stockpiling inventory in a warehouse.  Thus, manufacturers could rely on demand management trending and collaborative relationships with their distributors in their own purchasing activity, materials storage, production planning, and more. However, due to capacity constraints, demand volatility, labor shortages, shipping congestion, bottlenecks, and other issues in the supply chain, manufacturers have had to make significant adjustments to materials purchasing, inventory management, production planning, and delivery models.

Every facet of the supply chain has been impacted by current events and circumstances beyond the manufacturers’ control.  That said, manufacturers who lean heavily on data have been able to create greater visibility to these newly emerging trends and this evolved way of operating.    Those employing Business Intelligence for manufacturing to analyze business performance have an advantage over the competition through agility, adaptability, and informed decision-making.  This enhanced performance allows manufacturers to collaborate more closely with their distributors, thereby creating greater value and a better experience for end customers.

Business Intelligence and Supply Chain

Manufacturing Business IntelligenceBI inventory management

Manufacturers need real-time data to make informed decisions about inventory planning, procurement, material and component sourcing, shipment scheduling, and how much inventory is needed at each step along the way. Accessing the required information to make these critical decisions is possible when one has accurate, actionable data.

BI allows manufacturers to use the information in their ERP systems to quickly identify needs and opportunities.

BI streamlines workflow

Distribution centers should be equipped with solutions that enable end-to-end workflow management and improve data collection, sharing, and collaboration capabilities. These solutions allow accurate supply chain data to be used to optimize decisions across the entire supply chain—empowering planners to solve the root cause of product shortages and other disruptions in warehouse management before they impact production, distribution operations or customers.

In addition to improving supply chain management, business intelligence for manufacturing solutions can also help improve customer satisfaction. By automating workflows and providing real-time information to workers, these systems empower distribution center employees to make the right decisions for their customers—and, in the process, increase productivity and reduce costs.

BI help manage supply chain disruptions

Bottlenecks in manufacturing operations can cause widespread problems for the entire distribution network, which is why it’s so important to maintain appropriate levels of both inventory and warehouse space to deal with these unforeseen events.

business intelligence in distribution

A BI solution can help companies pinpoint the cause of these bottlenecks and take steps to prevent them from happening again. More importantly, a well-established predictive BI tool can help manufacturers see problems before they arise, take action, and avoid issues in production and delivery.  For example, if lead time for a key component of a product begins to increase, a proper BI tool can signal to planners that action must be taken, whether that is a sourcing shift, a production change, procurement adjustments, etc.  With actionable data, manufacturers can avoid being caught up in an avoidable predicament.

Speak with Hartman to Learn More About the Value of BI

These are just a few examples of the true power of a BI tool for manufacturers. Hartman works with manufacturing companies to solve challenges associated with supply chain performance management and incorporate appropriate BI solutions. With more technology in today’s supply chains, BI can help companies be proactive in their approach and use data to make critical decisions. Contact Hartman today to start a conversation about how to improve your supply chain performance.


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