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Manufacturing - Business Intelligence Guide


Traditionally, manufacturing refers to factory floor activities - direct production, cutting, grinding, fabrication, and assembling of materials. In reality, it also includes many of the decisions, processes, and activities that occur both upstream and downstream of factory floor activities.

Other associated processes include:

  • Strategic - product costing, strategic planning
  • Development - e-business, product design, process development
  • Operational - Plant design, capacity management, supply chain management, performance measurement, plant scheduling, interplant coordination, quality management, workforce organization, equipment maintenance, product distribution


Manufacturing Sectors

There are several manufacturing sectors, each with their own risks and issues:

  • Large Mass Manufacturing
  • SMB Manufacturing
  • Contract Manufacturing
  • Outsource Manufacturing


New Processes and Materials

New processes and new materials are driving new manufacturing sectors such as nanotechnology and biotechnology. Production, product innovation, value creation, and market control are intertwined with retaining competitive edge.

The strategic place of production intellectual property rights contests that of product design. New business models and partnerships are emerging to absorb science-based engineering knowledge and techniques and collaboration with academic channels is not uncommon.

Such technology driven production is not readily contracted out, meaning as businesses evolve their technology, new processes and materials and new kinds of production skills must also evolve. Outsourcing risks transferring core product/process knowledge.

Digitally focused online sales, marketing and supply chain management changes the links between a business and its customers and suppliers. As development and production processes become more entwined, speed to market improves.

Such a complex evolutionary system is more than a procurement process for obtaining components – it has a larger element of value add and must therefore be retained in house. As production evolves to rapid turnaround and custom activity decisions around production location, diversified quality and functional flexibility forges even tighter links between development and production.

Thus manufacturing is become more dispersed, more custom-product focused, is diversifying through digital production into new business and industry models and is speeding up time to market through component based manufacturing and lean efficiency focused processes.

This combination of complexity and speed requires a support system that enables rapid decision making, but with reduced risk. This is where business intelligence becomes invaluable to this sector.

Before we delve into the technology used by manufactuers, and how business intelligence solutions are driving major changes, lets take a look at the main manufacturing sectors, to gain an understanding of the challenges each sector is seeking to overcome.

Next: General Manufacturing Sector Profile

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Get More Detail on Manufacturing BI Strategy, Program & Technology

Manufacturing Index | General Sector | SMB Sector | Contract Sector | Business Solutions | Technology Used | IT Roadmap | Business Benefits | BI in Manufacturing | Concurrent Manufacturing | BI Solution Requirements | BI Vendors

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