Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence for Manufacturing in 5 easy steps

Many manufacturing companies use Oracle JD Edwards ERP software for managing and planning their production processes. This puts the provision of operational information in order, but most professionals want more than just that. They wonder how they can interpret the production data correctly and analyse it over the long term. They want to use the data to look ahead and anticipate the future. They also want to examine how they can evaluate the efficiency of the production processes and how they can recognise new trends. Business Intelligence (BI) can help. Read on to find out how.

Before you start implementing a BI solution, it is important that you follow a detailed plan and create a team that brings together the stakeholders from IT and the target groups who will go on to use the BI solution. To draw up an action plan, follow the following steps:

1: Objectives

First, formulate the objectives and determine who the stakeholders are. You can approach the implementation of Business Intelligence for manufacturing from a number of perspectives. For example, you may wish to gain more insight into the transition from production to your sales and inventory strategy. You may also want to know whether you are producing in accordance with your internal norms and agreements with sales. Another perspective is the use of BI as a reporting tool for the rollout of an operational excellence programme and to support the analysis of yields and wastage. Or you want to know whether your production processes meet the internal quality standards. Formulate the objectives as carefully as possible and implement them in a plan for the medium term.

2: Determine infrastructure

The choice of the BI infrastructure is less important for the users, but extremely relevant for your IT management organisation.  For example, you may choose for a legacy or on-premise solution, in which you conduct all of the administration yourself. An in-house BI infrastructure has the major advantage of flexibility and control over your own BI environment. BI Cloud Services are another option that has become popular recently. The benefit to this option is that you can ride along on proven BI solutions and don’t have to work out everything yourself. From the investment perspective, there is another approach that may be appropriate: an acquisition that has an impact on Capex (Legacy BI) or a purchase that is only a burden on OPEX (BI in the Cloud).

3: Information requirements 

Next, you define which detail information is important together with the stakeholders. In doing so, consider the form in which the desired information is available. You can assess the quality of the information sources based on the quality of the data.

4: Reports

The next step is to choose the desired reporting or analysis environment. Your production dashboards should be easy to interpret. This may be obvious, but the top-5 characteristics of successful BI reports are: they have to be SMART (Specific, Measureable, Acceptable, Realistic and Time-specific).

5: Desingn a data model

The data model and the nature of the production reports generated by BI naturally depend on the nature of your production processes. If you produce to customer orders, then the production reports will be organised differently than in the process industry. The design of the data model can be tailored to the individual company by using a Legacy BI solution. The benefit of a BI Cloud Services solution, on the other hand, is that you can utilise existing data models.

Once you have completed the steps above, you have a solid foundation for a successful implementation. So let’s get to work! In the next blog, we will describe some real-life examples of Oracle BI in a manufacturing environment that uses Oracle JD Edwards ERP.

Author:  Bob van Geenen, Finance Consultant Cadran Consultancy

Advice about our solutions?

Rick Brobbel, BI Consultant at Cadran, would be happy to talk about the possibilities for your organization.