Business intelligence tools are applicable and valuable for every type and size business, and every vertical. When a manufacturing or supply chain company considers BI tools, they often fail to realize the true value of the data analysis and information they can glean and the improved business decisions, course corrections and customer, supplier, and partner satisfaction they can achieve.When an organization manufactures a product, it spends time, and resources to get that product out the door. In order to make money, the business must complete the process – get the product out the door, into the supply chain and into the hands of its customers, and other stakeholders. Perhaps that product will be combined with another product to produce an end result that is purchased by a customer. Perhaps, the product will fill the shelves of a retailer, or be used in a service industry, like auto mechanics.


Whatever the product, manufacturers, supply chain managers, warehousing professionals and third-party logistics companies must understand what their customers need, what their competitors are doing, how well their products are satisfying the market need, whether the products are arriving on time, how much product is back-ordered, how many shifts, resources and parts they need to satisfy seasonal needs or new product requirements, etc.

Every year, quarter, month, week and day, managers, and employees must have access to crucial information to ensure that they are meeting objectives and goals and to capitalize on opportunities and solve problems before they become real obstacles. When the business is planning and executing on plans, it cannot afford a misstep. Business Intelligence reporting should provide self-serve, customizable reports, alerts and dashboards that allow each person to see data and analysis in a way that is meaningful to them and to fulfill their roles and responsibilities with complete transparency.

Depending on the segment of manufacturing and fulfillment you serve, you may have governmental, industry or security regulations to satisfy, as well as schedules, production numbers, new product design schedules, quality assurance and many other factors. What if a supplier is not meeting obligations? How will that impact your ability to deliver on your own obligations? With the rapid pace of business today, most companies do not have time to hire programmers or analysts and wait for data and analysis. They need to know what is happening before it happens.

Forecasting, predictive analysis, what if analysis, balanced scorecards and other BI tools and features can help you forecast results, plan for product pricing, and objectively measure results against goals, in a self-serve, mobile environment that is usable by everyone in the organization – no matter whether they are an IT professional or an average user, manager or executive.

Performance-driven decisions and businesses are more successful. If you can integrate data from ERP, SCM, CRM and other systems, you can use that data to create and analyze reports and alerts and stay abreast of daily and long-range initiatives. Many manufacturing and related businesses believe (wrongly) that BI tools have to be expensive and that they will take a long time to implement and adopt. But, today’s business intelligence solutions are more accessible and affordable than ever. So, there is no excuse for waiting! If you really want to make the right business decisions, empower your employees and hold them accountable for goals, and (even better) get ahead of the competition, you need to embrace business intelligence.

BI benefits include relationship management, training and resource management, supply side management and all manner of business factors. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will give your management team the tools they need to clearly see and adjust activities, schedules, tasks, products, and other business conditions and outputs.

In short, there is no reason to wait for business intelligence. Manufacturing verticals and related industries can adopt and personalize these tools within weeks to suit their needs and every user will have access to the right information at the right time.