Does Your ERP System Provide Actionable Intelligence?

Getting actionable intelligence from your ERP system is a critical success factor for manufacturing and distribution project teams.

It’s been said many times that you cannot control that which you cannot measure.

In the manufacturing and distribution sector, keeping a pulse on operational metrics is of paramount importance. Without metrics, tracking results becomes anecdotal with little to no accountability.

Manufacturing and distribution operational metrics focus attention on the desired performance and provide feedback as to how well the desired results are being achieved.

Setting Metrics for Actionable Intelligence

In the work our independent ERP consultant team does in the field, we view setting manufacturing performance metrics as the process of collecting, analyzing and reporting information regarding the performance of an individual, group, organization, system or component.

Ultra’s team of independent ERP consultants explored this topic in a previous blog post looking at the importance of manufacturing performance metrics.

As the post notes, to achieve effective performance management, the correct manufacturing performance metrics must be well defined, understood and routinely used.

Most manufacturers enjoy access to accurate and timely data managed by their ERP system.

What’s key for overall business performance, however, is the ability for manufacturers to use consolidated data for powerful insight into context and trends.

ERP and Actionable Intelligence

ERP systems are designed to track functional areas of an enterprise, such as shipping, inventory, accounts receivable and more.  True business value comes from business intelligence (BI) applications – the powerful, intuitive analysis tools that provide real-time, enterprise-wide insight for fact-based actions and intelligent decisions.

When an ERP solution integrates actionable intelligence, manufacturers benefit from deeper business insight.  Once business intelligence requirements are addressed, companies are better armed to make improved decisions about planning, forecasting, production scheduling, supply chain management and more.

Vendor QA

We asked specialists from Infor to weigh in on the importance of gaining actionable operational intelligence.  The comments provide information about Infor’s Birst enterprise business intelligence and analytics platform. See their answers below.

What are some of the top challenges manufacturers face today in relation to data?

  • Nick Castellina, Infor Director of Industry and Solution Strategy

Today’s manufacturers are faced with several challenges when it comes to managing and utilizing data. Many of these challenges stem from having multiple, legacy systems that are disconnected from each other. This leads to old, inaccurate, untimely data that requires inefficient, manual consolidation leading to poor decision-making.

A lack of modern tools hinders businesses from interacting with data for decision-making.

Additionally, the sheer amount of data available to businesses makes it difficult to find and consume relevant data. Lastly, a lack of modern tools hinders businesses from interacting with data for decision-making.

Who in the organization is typically responsible for operational intelligence?

  • Azmat Tanauli, Infor Senior Director of Product Strategy:

Operational intelligence – that can be put into action — is key to running a streamlined and efficient manufacturing organization. 

Depending on how the organization is structured, this could be a centralized role, managed by a business intelligence and reporting manager in the IT department, or it could be a de-centralized role, managed by a business analyst in a departmental role within a manufacturing organization.  No matter who in the organization is responsible for providing operational intelligence, the Birst BI platform, enables both business and IT to provide this intelligence easily and in a trusted manner, that enables business success.

How can a manufacturer get started with supporting employee decision-making?

  • Azmat Tanauli, Infor Senior Director of Product Strategy:

The best way to get started is by looking at your current manufacturing operations and identifying metrics that will help measure the success of these operations.  In terms of functionality from Infor, Birst provides a valued based design methodology to help organizations identify key metrics. 

Look at current manufacturing operations and identify metrics that will help measure the success of these operations.  

Once these metrics are identified, the next steps are to follow the data and isolate all the data sources needed to accurately report on these metrics and to provide them in smart analytic Birst dashboards, as well as embed them in the ERP applications used by employees, to enable employees to make decisions at the place and the right time in the manufacturing operations.

How have Infor systems evolved to accommodate today’s challenges to drive better decisions through data?

  • Nick Castellina, Infor Director of Industry and Solution Strategy:

ERP is the foundation of your organizations data. It is a repository that analytics can be applied to when supporting enhanced decision-making.

Infor provides user-friendly, self-service analytics that enable end users to easily find and consume data that is relevant to their jobs. We provide industry specific KPIs and dashboards that help our customers determine relevant performance metrics for their industry, and then manage to those metrics. We also provide tools that enable manufacturers to easily connect multiple data sources into one place where analytics can be applied on the fly.

Learn More about Actionable Intelligence

An informative webinar session helps attendees understand the importance of aligning key performance metrics with short- and long-term goals.

Request a webinar recording looking at this topic, featuring special guests from Infor.

Looking  for actionable intelligence? Contact Ultra Consultants for additional information.

7 Steps to Effectively Organize an ERP Project

The 7 Steps to Effectively Organize an ERP Project is designed for ERP project teams from today’s forward-thinking manufacturing and distribution organizations.

  • Read tried and true strategies for manufacturers to effectively manage an ERP selection project. See what it takes to be successful and more with this Download.
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Jeff is the founder of Ultra Consultants, a well-known voice in the ERP consulting industry and an expert on ERP solutions for discrete and process manufacturers. Over the last 40-plus years, his companies have helped more than 2,000 organizations improve their business processes, select ERP software and implement advanced solutions.

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