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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.

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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…

Operational Excellence in the Intelligent Enterprise

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Operational ExcellenceWhat does intelligence in the enterprise imply?  If we think of this from an operations perspective the most important characteristics of the intelligent enterprise are being precise, accurate and responsive.  Precise describes the enterprise’s ability to act very deliberately to attain its goals. Accurate suggests the enterprise’s ability to hit its operational targets while responsive translates into being nimble and highly reactive to opportunities and problem solving.  All these positive characteristics can be thought of as the enterprise’s operational effectiveness that requires good planning and execution to reach the highest levels.

Improving operational effectiveness requires an information infrastructure that supports precise, accurate and responsive actions.  On top of that infrastructure sets processes that drive the planning and execution systems from the back office to customer facing systems.  Perhaps one of the most critical upstream variables that can help optimize more downstream results is demand forecast accuracy.

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Using Business Intelligence to Identify New Sales Opportunities

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SalesOppsThe long-term success of the sales organization largely depends on how well they know their existing and potential customers, and how well they can react to changing customer needs and business conditions. Understanding the most profitable customers and products, together with pinpointing customer buying patterns and requirements, is key to closing more profitable deals faster, balancing the right product variety, and identifying the best targets for new product introductions. With ongoing visibility to sales performance vs. objectives at any time both manufacturers and distributors can keep a close eye on how well or poorly their sales teams are performing, as well as identify the underlying causes for those successes or failures.

Business intelligence software can offer a 360-degree view of customers to help decision makers in the sales team better understand who those customers are, what they need now, and what they may do in the future. View Article…

Understanding Stratum.Server

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As the persoStratum Under the Coversn responsible for helpline support here at Silvon I’ve decided to try my hand at blogging as a vehicle for providing information to current as well as future users and administrators of Stratum. As we began to discuss this idea here internally, we quickly realized there’d be no shortage of topics. So to start, we’ve decided to begin with a discussion of the various products and technologies that make up Stratum.  A clear understanding of the Stratum architecture will make it easier for me to delve into the details of the many additional topics we have on our list.

Stratum is essentially composed of four main integrated products: Stratum.Server, Stratum.Planner, Stratum.Connector and Stratum.Viewer. These integrated products can be deployed across two different technology stacks as we will see further along in our discussions. I will focus on Stratum.Server today and the other three products in subsequent blog entries. View Article…

Understanding Your Customers with Business Intelligence

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Understanding Your Customers with Business IntelligenceThe amount of data companies can collect about their customer base is staggering. No longer limited to basic demographic information such as age, gender, and location, enterprises can now easily track and monitor past purchases, spending patterns, changes in demand, the influence of marketing initiatives and more. And while collecting and housing all of that data is a good start, enterprises won’t get any value from all that information unless they can effectively review, organize, and pull insights from it to get a better understanding of their customer base.

Business intelligence can help companies better understand, predict and influence the behavior of their customers by providing clear insights into how their existing customers think, act, and spend using that collection of Big Data. With a better understanding of their customers’ needs, wants, and behavior enterprises are in a better position to serve them and increase profit from existing customers, as well as pull in more targeted new customers. View Article…

Dashboards Give Executives the Green Light for Business Visibility

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Dashboards give executives the green light  for business visibilityA major challenge facing manufacturers and distributors today is the linking of key metrics across the enterprise to gain greater visibility into business performance.  And that’s why many of them are now turning to executive dashboards.

Executive dashboards assist upper-level management in directing and managing business growth and performance by providing a snapshot of current conditions and early warnings for potential issues.  Effectively designed dashboards enable executives at the 50,000-foot level to better focus resources, improve operational efficiencies, and leverage opportunities for growth as the market turns, instead of waiting 30 days after the quarter closes.  They empower executives to quickly identify and focus on drivers in key areas such as supply and demand, manufacturing, or time to market.  Adjustments can be made immediately, while it can still have a positive impact, instead of waiting until after a quarter closes to analyze what went wrong. View Article…