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Written by

Anne Mulvenna

Why Use Business Intelligence in 2020?

Genius ERP: ready out-of-the-box for custom manufacturing.

What is Business Intelligence?


Business intelligence (BI) is the process of turning raw data into meaningful and actionable insights about your organization to make better, more data-driven decisions. BI solutions include the tools, technologies, and practices that are used to collect, analyze, and organize your data to give you a comprehensive view of your organization, and allow you to use your data to drive change and eliminate inefficiencies.


What Role does Software Play in Business Intelligence?

BI is made up of multiple processes and activities, including, for example, data mining, online analytical processing, performance metrics, querying, data visualization, and reporting. In order to perform these complex tasks, manufacturers need to rely on software. Manufacturing is actually one of the most data-intensive industries out there, so the right business intelligence tools are needed to sift through all of this data, to perform data analysis and help manufacturers pull out actionable insights and make better business decisions. 


As most manufacturing companies use an ERP system to manage their operations, manufacturers already have a system in place that acts as a central repository for all of their data, making it easy for manufacturers to use business intelligence to improve their operations. In the past manufacturers needed to comb through numerous spreadsheets and systems to pull out relevant data, and then analyze the data to create meaningful reports. But now, the right ERP will not only house all of your data in one place, but will have built-in BI tools to analyze data and create powerful reports to help manufacturers become more effective and productive. 


And you don’t need to be a data scientist to understand the information ERPs will give you. With a quality ERP system, you can take advantage of a full range of reports at your fingertips—invaluable when it comes to analyzing operations—making it easier to keep on top of your key performance indicators (KPIs) and attaining your objectives. Live dashboards display all the information your organization needs to stay on top of your operations and make better decisions.


How Business Intelligence Relates to Growth

Business intelligence can help reduce operational inefficiencies, improve decision making, and boost productivity—ultimately letting you grow your business. Learning to use business intelligence to sift through and analyze your data will help you become a more efficient, leaner and more productive organization. Your data can show you where there are gaps or inefficiencies in your production line, and help you improve your manufacturing processes.


Data from live dashboards will give you all the information you need to set the right priorities to get jobs done and out the door on time. For example, through using dashboards that show real-time results, your production manager can keep a better eye on your shop floor, and make quick adjustments if, for example, a bottleneck occurs or the scrap rate becomes too high. Having access to real-time data gives decision-makers across your organization access to the data they need to make the best decisions they can to move your organization forward. BI can help improve your production scheduling, inventory control, financial management, and more.  


BI also gives senior management the accurate facts, figures, and information they need to make strategic decisions and set your company in the right direction. Arguably the biggest factor in making good decisions is having access to the right data—data that you can get from your ERP’s built-in BI tools. 


Using BI to improve your operations can have a major impact on your profit, setting you up for growth. ERP software that provides accurate, real-time information about daily operations help companies reduce operational costs by 23% and administration costs by 22% The bottom line: today's most successful manufacturing businesses are built on a foundation of good, strong data. 


Mistakes You Can Avoid by Leveraging Business Intelligence

If you are using an ERP to manage your custom manufacturing shop, you already have access to connected real-time data for your shop. But, unfortunately, when it comes to BI and analytics, many manufacturers still rely on manual processes and Excel spreadsheets to sort through data and make critical decisions. Learning to use the built-in BI tools an integrated solution like an ERP has will make your shop run smoother and more efficiently.


Failing to use BI strategy to guide your organization means you may be ignoring important market trends, failing to implement efficiencies that will let you remain competitive, and making poor strategic decisions. Many manufacturers have been sitting on reams of data coming out of their machinery and systems for years, but don’t know what to do with it. Learning to understand how to use this data, and mastering BI in your shop will set your organization up to be more effective, productive, and competitive.


How to Implement Business Intelligence in Your Shop

Like many big changes, you will have to overcome resistance to change among employees to effectively roll out business intelligence tools in your organization. Maybe your general manager has been making important strategic decisions and setting the direction of your shop on gut instinct alone. Although she may have invaluable experience and knowledge about your company and industry, relying on gut instinct alone is risky.


When implementing BI, you should first analyze the way you make decisions and consider what type of information executives and key decision-makers need to make faster, and more confident, decisions, as well as the best way to present the information (i.e. reports or dashboards). These discussions about the type of information you need to improve operations will drive what data you need to collect and analyze.


Like many technology projects, you won’t reap the benefits of business intelligence if users feel threatened by, or are skeptical of, the technology and refuse to use it as a result. Ensure you have key stakeholders, and a project champion in place that can effectively facilitate the adoption of your new BI tools. 


For many manufacturers, putting in place a BI strategy will involve learning to use and implement their ERP system to its full potential. Today’s ERPs have powerful built-in BI tools, so manufacturers need to take the time to learn the full capabilities of their system, and work closely with their ERP provider to take advantage of these dynamic tools. Once mastered you will be able to pull out valuable insights, create dynamic reports to better understand your business, make better business decisions, achieve your goals—and ultimately grow your business.


Get your shop on the right path today by learning more about the many benefits of Genius ERP’s business intelligence and analytics tools for manufacturers. Book a demo today!


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