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3 ways analytics are transforming manufacturing operations

by Michael Simms
Vice President Strategy and Change, Columbus US

Analytics help manufacturers stay ahead by improving their strategic awareness, increasing their speed of reporting, and decreasing overall operational costs through more efficient processes and the reduction of waste.

Manufacturers are using analytics at every stage of the sales cycle, including identifying the right markets, analyzing the viability of products, understanding demand shifts, improving financial management, and optimizing the supply chain.

In this article we'll explore three specific goals that manufacturers are setting that require strong analytical tools and processes.

Increase efficiencies and decrease downtime

Analytics using real-time data can have a big impact in preventive maintenance and production efficiency. With IoT sensors and AI tools and techniques, manufacturers can reduce production failures, stay on top of equipment maintenance and refine the production process, no matter the product, resulting in less downtime and more dollars to the bottom line.

A glass manufacturer we worked with applied this approach to improve quality control. They gathered  temperature, material, and other data from IoT devices and multiple systems to shorten the quality-control response time from 6 to 8 weeks to 2 to 4 days. That resulted in less waste and improved quality overall, and the ability to access and analyze data far earlier in the production process.

Improve planning

The impact of analytics can also help a manufacturer more efficiently scale up or down as demand changes with greater visibility. One manufacturer upgraded to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations and lit up budget and forecasting modules within Finance & Operations to improve project management, forecasting, and resourcing. They also deployed Power BI, Power Apps, and Microsoft Project and were able to reduce manual information gathering and reporting efforts ...

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About Michael Simms

Michael Simms is the Practice Director for Data and Analytics for Columbus US, a global IT services and consulting corporation. He has been in the data and analytics space for nearly three decades and has worked on data-specific initiatives on dozens of projects for companies across industries. Contact him at

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