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Data Analytics in the Manufacturing Industry

Manufacturing industry is one of the oldest and probably the last few who have jumped onto the IT bandwagon. The adoption of Information Technology (basically computers !!) and later the widespread implementation of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) packages are from my perspective are the most important phases for the popularization of data analysis in this industry. Although, I feel data analysis is not too new in this sector due to the early adoption of quality tools (these are also hugely data driven) like TQM, JIT etc…however the business benefits that the “Big” Data Analytics can offer is just immense. The implementation of ERP and the use of sophisticated IT enabled machinery has made available huge amount of data to this sector. Hence this move from data analysis to “Big” Data analysis for a manufacturing company from my view could be an evolutionary shift rather than a revolutionary one.

In recent times, this industry has seen a slowdown irrespective of the geography or the type of industry. All the CXO’s are faced with this complex task to sustain their organisations in these difficult times as well as to gradually bring them back on track by being more agile and innovative. While Innovation and agility are the current buzz words, these organisations have begun to realize that this is the right time to look at the humungous amount of historical data that they are sitting on and perform the Big Data Analytics – to be able to predict the markets to approach and the products to launch - kind of decisions. More and more awareness of the Big Data analytics and what it can offer to bring them out of this slump is understood very well. Many business trends—such as globalization, vertical integration, and margin pressure—are forcing manufacturers to find new and innovative ways to improve decision-making and boost performance. Big data Analytics can really help these organisations to achieve their business goals.

There are various areas in this sector that Big Data Analytics can help to add value. Few of them where Analytics can provide actionable insights are decisions like

  • Which product families are yielding lower margins?
  • Which suppliers are most likely to disrupt our production?
  • What is the competitive landscape on sales incentives for specific products?
  • How can we predict and manage the levers that drive sales revenue?

Since products are typically at the core of a manufacturing business, the initial wave of analytics is often targeted at improving product development. 

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Tags: industry, manufacturing

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