Manufacturing BI Solution Requirements
To be truly useful in Manufacturing, BI must be fully imbedded
into operational applications and processes.
The first attempts at business intelligence in manufacturing were
simple standard reports that acted as hard copy dashboards for the
organization. Since these were not customizable, the demand of ‘Export
to Excel’ function became a top requirement in applications.
This spurned the spreadmart chaos which plagues most corporations
Formal Business Intelligence applications provided broader and
more complex insight to help companies understand their current
environment and to predict the future impact of current decisions.
BI functionality included packaged analytics, independent business
intelligence processes, data mining decision support and analytic
BI programs use tools such as neural networks and decision trees
to seek out correlations and patterns in corporate databases, well
beyond what humans could detect.
Most traditional BI systems operate independent of the underlying
domains, relying on business users to correctly interpret the output.
Bottom Up BI
Thus, BI largely depends on the technological skill of users, limiting
execution where this is not sufficient. This has lead to a new wave
of more user friendly BI tools, many with familiar Excel look and
feel, and using the same filter, pivot table type functionality
as MS Excel. Microsoft has gone one step further to provide tight
integration of BI capability with its standard desktop programs.
Whilst this increases the usability and adoption of BI tools, it
does not resolve the issue of ‘correct interpretation of analysis
results’. This bottom up approach to BI is likely to be the
future path of many BI solutions.
To provide a measure of domain relevance in analytic programs,
BI vendors have either packaged their solutions into Industry vertical
offerings or concentrate on point solutions.
These BI solutions provide not only the BI technology, but also
underlying data models and query configurations and reports pertaining
to the industry vertical. Such tools are aimed at operational, not
strategic or power users.
At the highest level, BI tools are integrated into business process
solutions, isolating the need for human interaction or interpretation
at key points along the process chain. This has lead to automated
decision making and process control.
Key vendors offering such solutions include: Cognos, Business
Objects, SAS and Teradata.
Other vendors targeting point solutions include:
Purchasing - Informatica and CombineNet. These tools support decisions
around rapid increases in materials costs, greater deviations in
lead times, and supplier base growth and instability.
Informatica's PowerAnalyzer analyzes purchasing data to ensure
that buyers are fully leveraging negotiated deals by automatically
alerts buyers when they exceed spending thresholds that entitle
the company to discounts.
CombineNet is an electronic expressive bidding tool that gives
suppliers the power to change economic order quantities, product
bundling, delivery routes and timing or other variables to optimize
Broader ‘point solutions’ are being approached from
a configuration perspective. For instance SAS 9, promises "fit
to task" intelligence, with total enterprise data focused to
supporting one functional area of the business.
Typical Manufacturing Info Cubes
- Production Plan-Actual Analysis Views
- Plan/Actual Comparison Order/Material
- Plan/Actual Comparison Operation/Work Center
- Plan/Actual Comparison Material Consumption
These views provide information on:
- Lead time production
- Order release deviations in detail
- Negative and positive schedule deviation order
- Operation time in detail
- Schedule and quantity deviations work center
- Activity deviation target/actual
Periodic-Specific Analysis Views
- Period-Specific Order/Material
- Period-Specific Operation/Work Center
- Period-Specific Material Consumption
These views provide information on:
- Goods receipts quantity and scrap
- Work in process
- Actual activities
- Actual quantity at the work center
- Material consumption analysis
Next: Manufacturing BI Solution Vendors
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More Detail on Manufacturing BI Strategy, Program & Technology
Index | General Sector | SMB
Sector | Contract Sector |
| Technology Used | IT
Roadmap | Business Benefits
| BI in Manufacturing
| Concurrent Manufacturing | BI
Solution Requirements | BI