posted on 1/18/2011 12:29:43 PM
Manufacturers will increasingly turn to business intelligence software in 2011 as they aim to simplify supply chains and improve decision-making, an IDC report finds.
Manufacturers will turn to business intelligence software and related BI tools in increasing numbers in 2011, according to a new report from researcher IDC Manufacturing Insights.
In its report, “Worldwide Manufacturing 2011, Top 10 Predictions,” the analysts at Manufacturing Insights place two business intelligence-related initiatives among manufacturers’ top plans for the year ahead, among other initiatives such as productivity growth, greater use of PLM, and a focus on investing in factory capability rather than sheer capacity. Business intelligence first appears at number three on the list, with the prediction that manufacturers will pursue supply chain simplicity through the use of BI tools.
"Recognizing the inherent complexity in their global supply chains,” the authors write, manufacturers “will look for ways to drive out unnecessary complication through segmentation, simplification, and the use of business intelligence.”
Many manufacturers have been challenged with complexity as they have shortened product lifecycles, accelerated product introductions, capitalized on lower-cost labor, and expanded into new markets. But in 2011, the group reports, manufacturers may reach a tipping point after years of adding so many layers to the supply chain. The resulting goal will be to drive out supply chain complication, and IDC expects manufacturers to do this by redesigning business processes; applying technology, including business intelligence, judiciously; and clearly delineating business priorities.
Some of the simplifying tactics Manufacturing Insights expects industrial companies to use include:
- Supply segmentation—“particularly across B-to-B versus B-to-C lines”
- Focus on products that are made, sold, and used in a single country or region
- SKU simplification by way of postponement tools
- Deployment of business intelligence tools that help manufacturers align their decision-making
- Improved data management and visibility
Business intelligence makes its second top 10 appearance at number four on Manufacturing Insights’ list of pronouncements, with the prediction that “IT vendors will continue to develop [business intelligence] and analytics tools that enable manufacturers to improve decision-making at the strategic, tactical, and operational levels, with a focus on enhancing visibility and responsiveness.”
The group points to an early 2010 survey in which it found manufacturers eager for improved business intelligence tools that would help them make better decisions about their supply chains. That said, BI can only take a manufacturer so far, IDC noted, without a solid decision management framework to guide the company.
“It is not just about the investment in IT tools,” the report reads, “it is also about creating an integrated decision environment where there is alignment between the highest-level strategic decisions and the lowest-level operational ones.”