Intelligent Analytics

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…

Comparing Performance to Plan with a BI Solution: It Should be Simple…

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Compare Sales to PlanTo plan or not to plan … this is not the question for this entry, although it is an interesting topic.  In this post, I’d like to suggest a simple way to save time by taking further advantage of your business intelligence system to see just how close you are to the plan you established for this year’s performance.

When we talk to our customers about Flexible Information Delivery or FID (see my earlier posts), part of that concept is “what is it that we are trying to deliver?”  Generally, we are trying to deliver either a comparative view, a trended view or a graphic view of information.  There are many variations and combinations of these view types but they tend to be variations on a theme.

Then it’s what type of information are we delivering? Of course the answer to that question can be many and varied — just look at all the different types of information that can be collected and viewed in a solution like Silvon Stratum.  But, one of the most common comparisons that we see is “sales to plan.”

View Article…

Increasing Customer Value with CRM Analytics

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CRM AnalyticsToday, the availability of econometric, demographic, lifestyle and psychographic data, business intelligence systems, the internet, and other customer access techniques are helping marketing and senior management make customer care a reality rather than just a vision. Companies no longer want to treat their customer base as a homogeneous collection of revenue-generating units; they want to – or rather, must – get up close and personal with each of them individually.

CRM takes a holistic view of the customer by trying to understand the total value of each customer over their entire life rather than on a transaction-by-transaction basis.  This allows businesses to serve the customer better and maximize profitability through increased loyalty.  View Article…

How Manufacturers Can Be More Efficient with Business Intelligence

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Mfg-Efficiency-BlogManufacturers today are facing more complex business challenges than ever before. In order to stay competitive in a global marketplace manufacturers are under pressure to produce higher quality goods at faster response times and with lower costs. Mass customization, outsourcing, and leaner margins are also increasing competitive pressures. Labor and machine resources often continue to be underutilized, making it harder for manufacturers to keep pace with demand, and many businesses still have limited insight to the production costs they actually incur.

Without a 360-degree view of their business and the ability to pinpoint bottlenecks and pain points, manufacturers cannot be as efficient as they need to be to keep up in today’s marketplace.

On any given day production managers, shift supervisors and business managers are faced with numerous questions relating to manufacturing processes that ultimately impact their efficiency and their bottom line. For instance, View Article…

The Supply Chain Side of Business Intelligence

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The Supply Chain Side of Business IntelligenceGetting a 360-degree view of their supply chain is critical for manufacturers and distributors in today’s business world. With business intelligence – or BI – software, companies have unparalleled insight and visibility to their supply chain performance and can better understand how their company actually functions (versus how they expect it to), find ways to optimize vendor relationships, as well as monitor the myriad of factors that impact supply chain performance.

Here are three things that business intelligence software can do for the supply chain:

Plan What the Supply Chain Should Do View Article…

Self-Service BI – Fill It Up!

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Self ServiceThe concept of self-service business intelligence has been around for some time.  But in today’s business economy, providing consumers of information with direct access to data is essential.  Even more important is doing so without IT assistance.

Like the rest of us, IT professionals are being asked to do more with the same or fewer resources.  If they aren’t maintaining legacy applications, IT organizations typically are installing new systems to support various business operations – system implementations that consume huge amounts of their time.

Self-service BI is more than just providing a set of ‘tools’ to the end-user community so they can create, execute and maintain reports and queries on their own so IT while IT focuses on other core projects.  View Article…