By: George Singos, Business Leader Advisor, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center
A company is only as good as its data. Whether you're trying to increase productivity, eliminate bottlenecks in production or grow into new markets, data is the key to driving improvements and maintaining success.
However, data is useless if it is not properly analyzed and applied to strategic decision-making. Many organizations fall short here, spending 80% of their time gathering data and only 20% managing it. Others have massive amounts of data gathered via their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, but are unsure of how to use it.
To better utilize your time - and your data - consider the following factors:
- How clean, or accurate, is your data? Maybe your buckets of measurement are too small or too large. Maybe your reports have incomplete or inaccurate data. Or maybe you're not sure how clean your data is. Unfortunately, if data is not clean it most likely will not be helpful, either. In order to get a comprehensive picture of how the business is performing, companies must first ensure their data is clean and complete.
- Do the right people have the right data? Once data has been cleaned, it should be presented to the people who need it. The type of data shared will depend on what kind of decision-making each manager is responsible for. In this case, sometimes too much data is not a good thing.
- How is your data presented? Perhaps most importantly, make sure your data is in an accessible format. This makes it easier to visualize the data and make decisions based on what you see.
Some business leaders might be thinking, I've been collecting data the same way for years, why change now? Or, what tools are available to help me use data more effectively?
Business Intelligence (BI) software is changing the way data is organized and analyzed, making it easier than ever for manufacturers to gain transparency into their business performance. When used correctly, BI has the power to deliver data directly to you, highlighting opportunities for improvement in operations.
As manufacturers become increasingly focused on achieving predictive and autonomous processes, learning how to correctly gather and utilize data is essential. Here, using BI and your ERP system to their full potential can provide a number of benefits, including:
- Gain real-time information and visibility. Used in conjunction with ERP systems, BI has the ability to gather and present data in real-time, allowing you to react immediately. Companies no longer have to wait days to see data, only to discover defects occurred in production a week after the fact. This not only minimizes costs associated with waste and defects, but also enables manufacturers to identify issues in production immediately and make improvements where appropriate.
- Make data more interactive and dynamic. Many are still used to data that is flat, presented in a report or print-out. Now, by using BI and ERP systems, data can be optimized and presented in more interactive and collaborative formats. This allows companies to more easily view multiple data sets at once, as well as makes data easier to visualize and understand.
The benefits of collecting and analyzing data are huge, helping companies drive improvements and boost their bottom line. The sooner manufacturers learn to use data effectively with ERP systems and BI software, the sooner they can make informed, strategic business decisions to empower their companies.
To learn more about how to harness the power of your data, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
George Singos is the Business Leader Advisor at the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, which provides services and support to manufacturers in Macomb County and beyond to enable them to compete, grow and prosper. Learn more at the-center.org.