Intelligent Analytics

Why Retailers Should Care About Data Mining

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RetailIn an increasingly competitive market space, retailers need to know everything they can about their customers: who they are, what they buy, when they buy, why they buy? And thanks to the amount of data flying around about customer buying behaviors retailers can answer all those questions and more, provided they have the technology needed to collect, organize, clean, and analyze that information. With data mining as part of a business intelligence initiative, retailers can have real answers to real questions in real-time.

Here are 3 reasons why retailers should care about the data mining abilities a business intelligence platform can give them: View Article…

Improving Demand Forecasting

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Why Improving Demand Forecasting Matters for ManufacturersEvery major company decision, from financial planning to project execution, starts with a prediction of future sales—so demand forecast accuracy matters. Under-estimating demand means running out of product when customer demand is at its highest, costing the company immediate revenue AND hurting your relationship with your customer base. Over-estimating demand means companies have to invest upfront in a lot of extra inventory, which then can’t be quickly turned around into a profit. With inventory typically comprising between 25% and 40% of assets, demand uncertainty is also often the single largest influence on stock levels. View Article…

What Business Intelligence Software Can Do For Manufacturing Companies

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What Business Intelligence Software Can Do For Manufacturing CompaniesManufacturing businesses are constantly driving for better performance in multiple arenas: higher returns on invested capital, lower product and overhead costs, better asset utilization, greater customer retention, higher perfect order rates, reduced working capital needs…the list goes on. More and more manufacturers are adopting enterprise performance management software and business intelligence analytics to help reach their performance goals. Business intelligence enables manufacturers to analyze the effectiveness of their lean manufacturing efforts, assess the efficiency their production operations, and pinpoint any variances that may occur that cut into profits. View Article…

Comparing Performance to Plan with BI: It Should be Simple… (Part II)

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Compare Sales to PlanIn my last post I discussed getting your plan into your BI system.  This allows for easy comparison to actuals so that you can monitor your performance vs. your plan.  In that previous post I assumed that your plan and actuals were captured at similar business roll ups.  For example, if you had a sales plan that was created by division, region, rep and customer you very likely have your actual sales captured by those same levels.  This makes for easy comparison of sales to plan.

Now let’s consider the situation when the actual sales are captured one way, and the sales plan is created another.  View Article…

Is That Dashboard Really a Dashboard?

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DashboardIf your dashboard tells you that sales are down, but not why they’re down, do you really have a dashboard?

Simply stated, the answer is NO.  A dashboard that shows key performance indicators or a list of metrics – but doesn’t provide the details to help you determine why those metrics are up or down – is not a dashboard (or at least, not an effective dashboard).

An effective dashboard should show you key performance metrics, provide comparisons to prior time periods and expected values, and then offer up further information that can help you explain performance variances.  Some people may feel that’s too much information – we prefer charts that “pop” and animated gauges, right?  Yes, dashboards must be easy to read – and good design is a must.  But combine this with information that actually solves the business problem – like how do I improve sales – and your users will embrace them. View Article…

Creating a More Collaborative Supply Chain

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Creating a More Collaborative Supply ChainNew sales channels powered by the Internet, build-to-order scenarios, increased competition and more demanding customers are changing the face of manufacturing. To sync up with these changes, traditional supply chains are evolving into “value chains” that truly share and integrate information.

According to Gartner, collaboration between vendors and suppliers ultimately increases value to customers and “to provide profitable commitments, each enterprise in the demand chain must increase the level of information it share with the others.” Manufacturers must adopt a collaborative business model to anticipate the changes that occurs both upstream and downstream in their supply chain.

Given the rising collaborative nature of supply chains, especially as any manufacturers work with dozens of vendors and suppliers, sharing and integrating information is no longer optional – it’s essential.  Manufacturers need to have the ability to collaborate with every member of their supply chain, and they must have the analytics needed to assist them in being as competitive as possible.  In order to truly collaborate with their supplier and vendors, manufacturers need to be able to share information down and across the entire supply chain at a moment’s notice.   View Article…

Using Business Intelligence Software to Improve Inventory Levels

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inventory balanceA significant cost to many manufacturing and distribution organizations is the inventory they have to carry in order to support customers and sales. This inventory can easily represent 40-50% of a company’s capital investments. Right-sizing inventory gives companies the ability to increase their “return on inventory investment” without compromising service levels. After all, cutting corners that impact your customers, such as cutting inventory to cut costs which leads to shipment delays, causes more problems for the company in the long run. View Article…

Rationalizing Supplier Relationships

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VendorAnalysisOrganizations today are spending as much as 60 percent of their revenue acquiring the goods and services needed to support their business. Such large procurement budgets and a reliance on numerous suppliers and hundreds to thousands of products can make business goals increasingly complex.

Ultimately, procurement executives may be charged with reducing the organization’s overall spend while simultaneously increasing the bottom line. To get there, purchasing professionals need a high-level strategic sourcing plan that lets them minimize supplier risk, create and maintain effective supplier relationships, monitor the quality of materials received from suppliers, and leverage supplier information to negotiate better contracts. View Article…

Importance of the Right Data in the Demand Planning Process

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ForecastingThe operational side on the intelligent enterprise is driven by Sales and Operations planning and in turn S&OP is driven by an accurate demand forecast.  While this is simply stated, it can be very challenging to consistently produce good forecasting results.  At the core of the challenge lies an important first step of harnessing the right data.  Many forecasting and planning projects are abandoned or considered failures due in part to data issues.  The right data input to the forecasting and planning process has several important dimensions that must be considered. View Article…