We read with interest a recent Wall Street Journal article entitled “How Many Turns in a Screw? Big Data Knows.”

The article showcases manufacturing companies that effectively track detailed production data to improve quality, processes and productivity.

From machine downtime to parts tracking to workstation instructions, each of the mini case studies in the article demonstrates how smart capture and strategic use of big data helps in overall business process improvement.

Big Data Growing Even Bigger

It’s important to realize that manufacturing stores more data than any other sector.

Studies from McKinsey Global Insight reveal that the manufacturing sector stores close to 2 exabyte’s of new data each year.

As the report reveals, data originates from a variety of sources in a “fire-hose” of data streams – from instrumented production machinery, process control, supply chain management systems, to systems that monitor the performance of finished products.

How does ERP play a role in managing big (and growing bigger) data?

Big Data and ERP

At the outset of each engagement, Ultra’s team of ERP consultants takes a close look at a company’s needs in terms of collection, presentation, and analysis of critical, real-time enterprise-wide data such as production metrics, quality, machine down time, supply chain and more.
It’s not just about collecting detailed transactional data. It’s gaining intelligent and actionable visibility into real-time factory and plant-floor performance data by function and business area.

Big data can be overwhelming. We often hear from manufacturers that older ERP systems lack easy access to information. Legacy systems don’t provide a clear and simple path to unlocking the information, knowledge, and value in the company’s “big data” store of business transactions.

That’s why in many cases, we guide our clients to ERP software vendors that offer the best system for data access and reporting.

A Strategic Approach

We take a strategic approach with our clients, so they can gain advantage from systems that offer the most effective business intelligence features. A typical engagement works through a range of considerations, including:
Key performance metrics – a process where we understand metric best practices for the industry
BI platform options to be considered during the ERP selection process
Information access methods: scorecards, ERP dashboards, data cubes for analysis, and report processing
Business data dimensions, i.e., how we want to look at the business
Data access – who in the organization needs access to what data, by role/function

Further Insight

Making sense of big data is a critical consideration for companies seeking to use their ERP systems for informed, timely decisions.

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