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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…

Understanding Stratum.Connector

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Stratum Under CoversThis is the third in a series of blog entries where I will be discussing the four main integrated components that make up Stratum. My first two blogs covered Stratum.Server and Stratum.Planner. Today I will discuss Stratum.Connector.  And in my next post, I’ll provide an overview of Stratum.Viewer.

Stratum.Connector is the Windows server-based middleware component that connects the Stratum Data Base (DB) to Microsoft Analysis Services. It allows for the selection of any or all of the Stratum DB dimensions/attributes, categories, measures and time periods which are then used by the Connector to automatically create a Microsoft Analysis Services OLAP cube which serves as the data store for analysis with Stratum.Viewer. 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…

4 Roadblocks to Strategic Spend Management

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Road signsManufacturers and distributors often begin a spend management initiative by starting a labor-intensive data-gathering project. Asking questions like What do we spend, with whom, why, and on whose authorization gives companies a better understanding how money flows through their organization and supply chain. Which materials and services, once the procurement is automated, will yield the quickest results? The fastest?

Purchasing professionals can get a clear look at how their vendors impact their spending habits. At first glance, one may think that finding the answers to these questions is easy. However, many companies have implemented division-based systems that make achieving cross-enterprise visibility a challenge. The supply chain crosses departments and silos, so only looking at one component doesn’t give companies the 360-degree view they need to achieve strategic spend management.

Here are 4 of the biggest roadblocks to strategic spend management: View Article…

Flexible Information Delivery – FID, for short (Part II)

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FID-BlogIn my earlier post on Flexible Information Delivery (or FID), I described a few ways in which different types of users may want to view their business performance information.   With an open, non-proprietary data base for information storage and management we can easily continue to expand our delivery methods.

Let’s look at some of the information delivery methods that Silvon provides as examples that you may want to consider for FID in your enterprise.

Supply Chain Business Analytics Provides Better Vendor Management

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VendorAnalysisA key factor of supply chain vendor management is collaboration between partners. Sharing information and collaborating ensures that manufacturers are able to make use of supply chain partner information to help fulfill demand more quickly within order cycle times. In addition, manufacturers can become more nimble, which will result in reduced lead times because supply chains are more clearly visible. Inventory will be reduced, stockouts will be eliminated and products that are not selling can be removed. But in order to build a stronger network of vendors, manufacturers need to get a 360 degree view of how their vendors are performing, where the weak links are, and where areas of opportunity for vendor management lie. All of this and more can be done with supply chain business analytics. View Article…

Turning the Sales Team Into A Sales “Force” with Analytic Applications

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Superhero sales repDo you know how effective your company’s sales efforts are?  Who’s selling, and who’s not?  Which customers are buying which products?  What your profit margins are?  And do your sales reps have the right ammo (information) in hand to increase the value and quantity of orders during customer calls and visits?

In today’s unstable economy, brute marketing force alone will not defeat the competition or provide answers to questions like these to ensure a competitive advantage.  Arming the sales team and business decision makers with product, customer and sales data has become the weapon of choice for today’s discerning enterprise.  Serving up this data is a popular breed of analytic software applications designed to help businesses maximize sales efforts while keeping corporate strategies and goals on track.  View Article…

Understanding Stratum.Planner

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Stratum Under CoversThis is the second in a series of blog entries where I will be discussing the four main integrated components of Stratum:  Stratum.Server, Stratum.Planner, Stratum.Connector and Stratum.Viewer.  My first blog covered Stratum.Server. Today I will discuss Stratum.Planner.

Stratum.Planner is a Windows client application that serves end users wishing to access and analyze the data stored in a Stratum database, as well as administrators who are tasked with managing the Stratum environment. Stratum.Planner has two main components which can be independently installed based on the needs of the user.

View Article…

Flexible Information Delivery – FID, for short (Part I)

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FID-BlogIn any business intelligence system there are ultimately two objectives, the collection and management of information and the delivery of that information.  Assuming we can tackle the collection and management of information (okay – this is a big leap, but for the purposes of this post we’ll assume that), we are faced with providing access to the information in our business intelligence system.

We know there are many types of users in many different roles that will need to use the information.  Even an individual user may need the information delivered using different delivery methods based on both the type and purpose of that information.   Within each of the different delivery methods we want to make sure a user sees the same numbers, in the same terminology and that security to the information is applied in a consistent fashion. View Article…

Using Business Intelligence to Match Supply and Demand

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Supply and Demand Business AnalyticsIn order to run a lean and agile supply chain, manufacturers need to have a clear understanding of the supply and demand curves in their given market.  After all, if demand is underestimated there may not be enough inventory to cover orders, which could translate into strained (or lost!) customer relationships. And on the flip side, if demand is overestimated, warehouses filled to the brim with product could translate into major overhead and cash flow issues. In both situations supply and demand curves need to be optimized.

With business intelligence software manufacturers can better predict trends to show supply and demand curves based on seasonal demand, promotions, slow-moving items, causal variables, outliers, and much more. View Article…