Manufacturers rely on data and their ERP platform to answer critical questions: What are our inventory levels? How much does it cost us to manufacture this product? Which vendors are late delivering components to us?
But gaining competitive advantage requires more than just answering the obvious questions. With business intelligence (BI), organizations can identify questions that they didn’t even know to ask — along with answers to those questions.
Here’s an example. Let’s say that you want to know what the revenue for a specific product is in the Pacific Northwest region. That information is readily available, but with BI, you can dig down into the numbers and easily slice the figures in different ways. So, as you look at revenue, you wonder what the margin is as well, and with a few clicks, you’ve got your answer. And strangely, revenue has increased over the last month, but margin is actually down. That’s a question you might not have thought to ask, and with BI, you can answer it.
The power of business intelligence for manufacturers
BI has become more than just a nice-to-have feature. After all, data is the foundation of digital transformation, and according to McKinsey the pandemic caused companies to accelerate their digital transformation plans by three to four years. BI and analytics have gone mainstream, as evidenced by Snowflake’s (a data warehousing company) transformation from a startup into a $63 billion company in just ten years. But Snowflake is designed with large enterprises in mind. For the mid-market, Snowflake is like buying a Ferrari to drop the kids off at school.
Mid-market manufacturers need a tool that’s tailored to their needs. For instance, it’s common for an organization to have key data stored in many disconnected silos. The BI tool needs to be able to easily pull all this data together for analysis. Bringing in additional outside data sources can make analysis even more powerful by enabling one to look at a question from a more holistic point of view.
ERP and business intelligence
ERP is the foundational technology required for manufacturers to gather, analyze, and share insights for visibility across their supply chain. ERP and BI both support and inform decision-making. ERP adds value on an operational level giving businesses a precise 360-degree view of all systems and functions. BI integrated within your ERP system then analyzes that data helping your organization dive deeply into performance metrics and uncover trends that can be used to improve overall business strategies. ERP powered by BI helps generate a detailed and transparent view from a centralized repository that improves operations. BI tools integrated within your ERP can pull your data into a data warehouse through predefined ETL (extract, transform and load) tools using a web interface. Once the data is in the data warehouse, manufacturers can use pre-defined templates to analyze, or they can easily build their own.
The integration of ERP and BI brings everything together, helping manufacturers consolidate data for clear, actionable insights. Forward-looking businesses should look to shift from static reporting to predictive modeling that is driven by ERP-BI integration. The ability to spot trends and patterns, anticipate shifts in the market and proactively adjust plans are all competitive advantages in today’s digital economy.
If you’re interested in gaining BI and analytics capabilities that lock right into the SYSPRO ERP platform, visit our page about the ZAP partnership or contact us. We’d be happy to help get you started on your BI journey.