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4 Revolutionary Ways Modern Manufacturers Are Using Data

Like it or not, the manufacturing industry is quickly transforming into a more data driven environment. Old business systems will no longer work for supply chain decision-makers. Now is the time for small and large manufacturers to adapt to the new ways of integrating data into your manufacturing systems.

Here are four ways leading manufacturers are revolutionizing their industry with data:

1. Improving Production, Plant Performance and Product with Self-Service Analytics

Self-service analytics will empower individual manufacturing employees and entire organizations alike to see and understand data across the demand chain, within production operations and throughout the entire service life cycle.

With added visibility into operational performance, employees will be able to monitor data throughout the entire organization and apply it to strive for continuous business and process improvements via the philosophies of six sigma or lean principles.

Self-service also supports the implementation of the DMAIC framework to support a data-driven improvement cycle allowing an individual to explore and identify the root cause of product defects or bottlenecks.

 2. Enhancing Sales and Operations with Data Blending and Forecasting

Big improvements in manufacturing must start from the source—the supply chain.

It’s critical that every supply chain professional be able to deliver goods and services using disparate information systems on tight deadlines.

Manufacturers today are faced with many sources of data: workforce and order planning from the ERP system, order information from MES systems, time and attendance logs, alarm and production data from different equipment manufacturers, and various PLC and SCADA systems. Linking these islands of information is key for understanding the big picture and decision-making.

 3. Mobilizing Supply Chain with Real-time Analytics

Even more revolutionary in supply chain operations is the ability to see and understand what is happening with data in real-time, and from a mobile device.

Manufacturing data is constantly changing but immediately relevant. Using data at the right time is vital to a more profitable operation. The good news?

Mobile business intelligence is finally providing information when and where it’s needed to make fast, business-critical decisions.

The Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (CCBCC), the largest independent Coca-Cola bottling firm in the U.S., has workers on the ground interacting and collaborating with visual dashboards from anywhere—even truck drivers in different cities.

The CCBCC solved a huge bottleneck in their supply chain, due to limited report availability, by providing leaders and more than 800 employees with daily dashboard updates on mobile devices.

4. Listening, Interpreting and Reacting to Customer Feedback Faster

“We need to listen, and we need to interpret that data. And we want to quickly react in two ways. We want to react directly by responding to our customers.

We also want to react as a business and strategically determine what is important to our customers.” Michael Nealy, senior customer analyst from Trane.

Trane, a global leader in air conditioning systems and equipment, made the shift from exclusively using spreadsheets to integrating self-service data visualizations with customer service data to significantly improve their speed to insight. The turn around times from data insights to customer happiness are now 10 to 100 faster.

Thanks to software companies like Tableau Software, manufacturers can quickly connect, blend, visualize and share data dashboards with a seamless experience using a PC or iPad. For more information on Tableau Software or to try their free trial, go to

To see the full Industry Week whitepaper go to

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s MEP is committed to strengthening American manufacturing. We provide local assistance for planning, training and implementation of innovative ways to drive economic growth and job creating.

Find you local MEP Center or go to MEP Supply Chain to learn more!

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