Put business intelligence to work in manufacturing

Manufacturing is experiencing a great deal of growth lately, and business intelligence tools may prove useful in helping companies make the most of this expansion. According to Recruiter, employment improvements in this industry rose for the ninth consecutive month in March. With more employees, manufacturing companies may need to reevaluate their operations and strategies to ensure all resources are being put to good use. By collecting and analyzing data in real time, business owners and managers can gain insight into how their various departments and processes are working with a larger staff and increased production.

Improving manufacturing climate
The latest Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index revealed that this sector is seeing a continued expansion of jobs, despite a moderate slow-down in hiring. Other areas of the manufacturing industry are seeing improvements as well, such as the rates of new and export orders and the quantity of purchases, which have all been expanding at a faster rate in April than in March.

"Companies are taking on staff to build operating capacity in the face of an increasingly favorable outlook," Chris Williamson, Markit's chief economist, said in a release. "The April survey recorded ongoing job creation in the region of 10-15,000 per month in the good producing sector."

Data collection needs
To get the best, most accurate results from business intelligence tools, manufacturing companies need to ensure they're using the right data. Manufacturing Business Technology reported that a 2011 BI report by Ventana Research found many manufacturers don't have up-to-date information, rendering their attempts to improve through business intelligence unsuccessful. Of manufacturing businesses involved in the study, 59 percent said they felt their data was at least partially inaccurate. Nearly half of respondents said their regular reports tended to be completed at least a week late.

For 48 percent of these respondents, part of the problem may come from using spreadsheets to map data analytics. With Panorama's latest software, Necto 14, companies can access the latest information about their operations. The BI software even offers suggestions for which data to explore when conducting an analysis into any aspect of the business. Then, it helps users take that data and convert it into easy-to-understand infographics that make sharing data discoveries with various employees and departments a much simpler process.

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