Guest Column: Considering Business Intelligence and Enterprise Planning

When events happen, it pays to be prepared


  • Consolidate data from sales, inventory, purchasing and production systems to improve production planning, scheduling and delivery.
  • Gain insight into key operational metrics from scorecards and dashboards.
  • Monitor daily reports on under-performing departments, employees, machines and operations.
  • Implement supplier scorecards and analyses.
  • Identify sources of quality issues and take corrective action, prompted by defect analysis.
  • Spot delivery variances as they emerge and find their causes and impact.
  • Take immediate action when notified of late deliveries, demand changes, production stoppages and other important events.

The Next Step — Planning and Modeling

While business intelligence gives companies the information to take immediate action when something happens, enterprise planning lets organizations look ahead so they can be more proactive. In this case, it’s the value of what-if planning. Managers and suppliers use a collaborative platform to forecast and model the effects of different business scenarios. They can analyze things like operational trends or supplier performance and project them forward. If a worst-case event happens, people have the flexibility and contingency plans in place to reduce the impact of shortages or stoppages.

This is where the real value of performance management is felt. Capitalizing on the performance insights generated from their BI systems, manufacturers take the next step to optimizing the supply chain, generating accurate and effective supply and production plans that meet changing customer demand and business conditions. Then, by combining these plans with revenue, demand, promotion and supply metrics, management gains a complete view of the factors that can affect supply chain performance, making the necessary tweaks along the way to maximize operational efficiencies and keep costs in check.

The Safety Net for Supply Chains

When events happen, it pays to be prepared. Business intelligence and enterprise planning provide a complete view of supply chain indicators across all transaction systems. They help companies plan and respond effectively to keep the business on track no matter what happens up the line — a critical ability in the high-risk world of supply chain dynamics.

About the Author: Paul Hoy is global manufacturing industry director at Cognos, an IBM company. On the Web at www.cognos.com.

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