Freak weather incidents, natural disasters, pandemics, geo-political events - these are all examples of unpredictable problems that can disrupt your manufacturing business overnight. Advanced analytics can help you mitigate these risks and uncover potential risks in your supply chain, though.
Brexit is one example. Here are some ways data analytics can help you mitigate the risks…
1. Avoid breaking your supply chain
An ERP system can consolidate all of your essential data and make this process much easier. Basically, you’ll need to create a dashboard that identifies your EU-based suppliers and customers and marks them with a traffic light rating to indicate how much trade will be affected.
2. Stay linked to the market
If your business might be affected by prices on commodities markets, direct links to market pricing will help. You’ll gain access to real-time data which can help you make predictions for the future.
3. Plan your workforce
If you rely on seasonable migrant labour from the EU, the dashboard we mentioned in point one will come in handy again. This can help you visualise the potential shift in this area and the likely impact on your cost base.
4. Keep up with the exchange rate
Monitoring how the pound’s value will change is important and live data feeds will be very useful here.
As you can see, data analytics can help you mitigate the risks of Brexit, an event that seems to be out of our control. The same principles apply to any other ‘uncontrollable’ event, such as a pandemic or natural disaster. Read more about the role analytics has to play in mitigating Brexit’s risks here.
To truly reap the benefits of your data, make sure it’s uncluttered and stays that way by following the 5 S methodology (also known as the lean manufacturing methodology):
- Set in order
Discover tips on how you can declutter your manufacturing data here.
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Artificial intelligence (AI)
AI can help boost the efficiency of your business processes. Using pre-defined algorithms, AI can highlight anomalies in your process or areas for improvement. You can easily access the data you need and pass it along to your IT team.
There are two key benefits of this.
- There’s no need for you to do it manually so there’s much less risk of human errors.
- You save time. You no longer need to trawl through multiple systems and spreadsheets; the data’s consolidated in one place for you and it’s simple enough to generate a report.
Just make sure you always have a full data set, otherwise the integrity of your transformation plan will be called into question. Here’s how to fill the gaps in your key data assets.
An ERP system
Manufacturing businesses often have reams and reams of data to manage. The right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system brings all of that data into one centralised location for you. This boosts visibility for your entire company, making it easier to visualise data, generate reports and make data-driven decisions.
Let’s discuss two example decisions and how Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations (F&O), an ideal ERP software for the manufacturing industry, can help:
- Optimising your supply chain
- Planning for warehouse expansion
Optimising your supply chain
The F&O platform can help you improve your supply chain in five main ways:
- Sales demand forecasting is improved, thanks to the power of Azure machine learning.
- Constraint management is more efficient with F&O’s tools that help you identify and plan the use of physical capacity constraints.
- Proactive supplier collaboration and an agile approach to working are enabled as your strategic suppliers have controlled remote access to your ERP.
- Dynamic safety stocks are set based on the variations in the demand for your specified products/product groups.
- Customer demand management is more effective, thanks to D365 F&O’s ‘available to promise’ and ‘capable to promise’ sales order processing functionalities.
Read about these five ways in more depth here.
Planning for warehouse expansion
As your business expands, so will your warehouse(s). But it’s not just about expanding in space and number. You also need to modernise. Microsoft Dynamics 365 can support you with that.
- Data-driven decisions
- Data-driven insights
- Manual tasks are automated
- Efficiencies gained
We’ve discussed these points, plus the importance of choosing the right digital consultancy partner in this blog.
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Gaining access to your data is the first step to embracing digitalisation. The next is discovering the insights hidden in your data. This is where a tool like Microsoft Power BI comes in.
The data visualisation tool has come a long way since it was first introduced in 2015. A leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence, Power BI can help you unlock the true power of your data.
Here are five tips to get you started:
- Consolidate your data
- Add in your own custom calculations
- Create a dashboard
- Find your key influencers (very useful if you’re analysing survey results or a similar data set related to customer experience)
- Uncover hidden insights
We wrote a blog post on these tips, along with handy screenshots to guide you through exactly what to do. Want to check it out? Click here and prepare to maximise your Power BI usage.