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January 8, 2015

The Re-dawning of Business Intelligence

That the Business Intelligence world is being disrupted with new technologies is now common knowledge. However, very few businesses & their BI groups have a holistic view and roadmap to embrace this change. All have few specific new capabilities in mind and here is an opportunity to apply the Infosys 'New and Renew' Strategy to enable BI in your organizations take the next leap.

 

So, firstly let's assess what are we hearing from various stakeholders and the wider BI market:

 

Our Customers:  We need BI to be agile, responsive, trustworthy, cost efficient, easy to adopt and make the right strategic business impact quickly

 

Infosys Experience from Engagements:  Need to Reduce time to insights, bring in some unique assets to accelerate programs, Align customers to industry best practices and need for clear engagement charter in terms of business value and capabilities within an agile delivery model.

 

Industry Analysts:  Analysts like Gartner, Forrester emphasize need for different pricing models, expand BI usage thru' the enterprise, leverage cloud/big data/mobility/advanced visualization etc. They expect avg. BI market growth to be 10% ; 70% of which will still be IT controlled;  Analytics to command 20% of those budgets and rest on Query/integration and reporting.

 

Given these key learning's, the new vision at Manufacturing BI is 'To transform our customers from today's data driven to Analytics driven Enterprises enabled by Rapid, Deep and Actionable Insights'.

 

In order to enable 'Rapid, Deep and Actionable Insights', the following offerings are being planned:

 

Analytics Driven Enterprises: The goal is to help enterprises transform from traditional data driven to analytics driven organizations. This is to be enabled by an Analytics adoption framework that helps make the right analytics investments that matter, 'Leverage-your-data' initiatives to take a deep look at available data & innovate to make strategic use of it and Predictive & Descriptive modeling services driven actionable insights for Manufacturing & Hi-Tech relevant areas like Supply chain optimizations, Personalized customer service, sales, marketing and finance analytics functions.


Responsive Business Intelligence:  This includes unique data exploration Services, Self-service BI capabilities, Persona based KPI solutions, Adv. Visualization tools driven data analysis, Reporting Factories, Data Virtualization and agile delivery models.

 

Big Data Enabled Insights: The above vision of transforming organizations into Analytics Driven Organization will be deepened by leveraging Infosys Information Platform (IIP)  for Predictive maintenance, Manufacturing Quality Analytics, Strategic sales opportunity management, IoT driven usage & health analytics, Agro research, Intelligent Asset mgmt., Customer insights etc.

 

For any of the above to be impactful, Our goal is to help customers have a solid backbone in terms of 'Amplified & Efficient Data Operations'. Some of the offerings towards these are:

 

Landscape Modernization:  Help our customers renew/modernize their existing landscapes with  BI tools consolidation and re-platforming, upgrades, big data migrations, clean & conformed Master data mgmt. strategies, Data quality improvements and implementation accelerators for productive COE's.

     

High Performance Computing: Leverage high performance tools based on in-memory , columnar stores, other No-SQL stores to renew existing systems needing such high performance e.g supply chain visibility, Financial consolidations, Just-in-time offers, Asset management and real-time enterprise data warehouses.

 

Amplified Data Warehousing: Existing data warehouses augmented with Hadoop based platforms to reduce turnaround time for multi-structured, high velocity datasets needed for insights. This can also be leveraged to reduce the fast escalating cost of data warehousing.

 

Manufacturing BI believes this dual strategy of transforming organizations from data driven to Analytics driven enterprises and creating an amplified & efficient data backbone will help next gen enterprises stay ahead in the marketplace & outperform today's run-of-the-mill BI Maturity curves. 

January 1, 2015

Predictive service maintenance - A step ahead

 Author: Alpesh Chauhan, CRM Lead Consultant, Manufacturing, Infosys Ltd.

 

Proactive service maintenance is not just limited to preventive maintenance but it is also includes predictive maintenance. Service management is usually associated with negative experience as customer contacts service provider when product has some issues. But it can be turned in to positive experience if services are handled carefully and promptly, which can result in lesser asset down time and faster service resolution. That's why, it can be an opportunity for service provider to convert bad customer experience into a good experience. Of course, it is not easy task and risk is always high as if service provider is not able to provide better service, customer is gone forever and he may provide negative feedback for your products/services.

 

Continue reading "Predictive service maintenance - A step ahead" »

June 10, 2014

Additive manufacturing: The key to smarter maintenance?


3D printing technology, otherwise known as additive manufacturing, is evolving to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of the manufacturing industry. There seems to be a sea of opportunities for this technology in the Aerospace and Automotive sectors due to their need for high-value complex part replacements, the periodicity of maintenance and the need to reduce inventories. While most of us believe that this technology might still be at a nascent stage, we ought to take a closer look at its adoption in the high-tech and industrial manufacturing sectors. The US Department of Defense, supported by a consortium of private companies, has recognized this as a key growth area and announced plans to fund 2 new world class manufacturing innovation centers in the region this year. With the technology to print living tissues today, it makes us think that 'Dolly' could have just been printed out without much ado.  


The IT industry sees a gamut of opportunities in the 3D printing arena, particularly in the areas of digitization, engineering and supply chain management reconfiguration. The Infosys whitepaper titled The Future of Maintenance discusses 3D printing as a solution for optimization of maintenance costs which will help flatten supply chain and procurement expenditure on industrial machinery and capital goods.  The entire blueprint of the component procurement space will have to be redrafted by substituting these revenues with the sale of custom specifications for each part 3D printed at the end customer location. Gone will be the days when a customer places an order for a part and waits patiently for door delivery with an additional day's wait for a service mechanic to assemble the part. If you perceived Amazon's superfast drone or the Rolls Royce Cargo Drone ships to be your solution, wouldn't 3D printing make the process much simpler - or not. That's quite a debate. 


If you thought that the demand for customization and shorter delivery timelines have brought our production hubs closer to home turf from low cost centers like China, you are at a greater advantage having a 3D printer installed at your production house. Companies are now embracing backward integration strategies by turning into part manufacturers, replacing their OEM suppliers fractionally to start with. The cost of purchasing a 3D printer along with the raw materials and IP will be offset by added energy efficiency, less to no wastage of materials used in the process, the elimination of shipping costs and the ability to create prototypes that would have otherwise consumed expensive resources and larger timelines.


Are we moving to an era where construction, manufacturing, design, engineering and medical care are all going to be a DIY affair? It's too soon to assume, but we sure are inching closer.    


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March 16, 2014

Better analytics could help improve economics of customer order fulfillment

This year, the US witnessed one of the longest and harshest winters in recent history. This has caused worrisome implications on the supply chain economics of the Consumer Electronic Industry since many customers resorted to shopping for products from the warmth of their homes. Manufacturers who were focused on omni-channel sales lost out on margins due to the increase in fulfilment costs, sometimes as high as 7-10% of sales.

This has unlocked a huge opportunity to use ongoing analytics to streamline fulfillment economics.


In general, there are 3 ways in which customers can chose to purchase their electronic gadgets

  • 1.     Direct purchase by walking into company owned or reseller stores
  • 2.     Ordering (or reserving) online and picking up their wares from a store of their choice
  • 3.     Ordering online and opting for home delivery

Creation of the right fulfillment incentive for each channel is paramount since costs, consumer experience and opportunity tradeoff for companies depend on the channel choice made by the consumer.

 

For instance, today we see the extensive use of online channels to sell long tail products. Whereas, smaller products are sold through stores due to lesser storage costs. Although online configuration and cross-sales sophistication is improving, products with higher sales complexity would require the customer to visit the store sometime during the sales cycle.

 

So why should companies look for the right analytic tools?

 

Fulfilment costs, based on parameters like real-estate, shipment, retail floor traffic, SLA compliance rates of third party logistics providers, are prone to fluctuation throughout the year somewhat predictably during the holiday season, but unpredictably during unforeseen weather conditions. This is what happened this winter, when the tradeoffs between the various parameters changed. The affected companies were still latched onto static and simplistic approaches for pricing online fulfillment of products. This is where 'right analytics' comes into play in order to optimize consumer incentives and improve profitability.

 

The prize for such analytics extends beyond immediate fulfillment cost reduction. This will help plan fulfilment more efficiently and lead to better negotiations with third party logistics providers. It will also help drive improved cross sales leading to enhanced customer lifetime value.  

March 1, 2014

BYOD, Mobility and Beyond...

Three decades ago, even if you were lucky enough to own a mobile phone (Dynatac - also known as "the Brick"), first developed by Motorola, you would need to hold it in your hands all the time owing to its sheer size and price. A mobile phone way back in 1984 which would weigh a whopping 900 grams and make your pockets lighter by $4000, performed only one function - making calls. A nostalgic ride back to the past to look at how cellphones evolved from Monolithic brick sized instruments to their Swipe-Savvy progenies should be a topic for discussion for some other day. This high technology ubiquitous device and its capabilities to serve the current generation and the ones to come enthrall me.
As a teenager, I was always fascinated to see Corporate Business Class flyers at airports, glued to their laptops screens working on intricate charts and graphs. Back then, I was neither aware that such applications are needed to run a business, nor was virtualization a part of my vocabulary. Now, with my association with the INFOR practice at Infosys, I am acquainted with the immense capabilities of Virtualization and Mobility (access to enterprise applications on the go over a mobile phone). INFOR Motion is a platform for deploying, managing and securing enterprise applications on a mobile device with the help of Cloud. One can monitor business, accomplish tasks and keep things moving using a mobile device of one's choice with the help of INFOR Motion. Mobility may become bread and butter in future for System Integrators like us because of the following facts:
•         According to a recent Gartner study, enterprises across the globe will spend $13 billion by this year end on application development software, which is a 2.5% increase from last year.
•         By 2015, projects that enable mobility would make up 80% share of all development activities.
•         There has been a rapid increase in the mobile workforce, as the end users aspire for a seamless, assimilated work experience which would help them be as productive on the go, as they are on their desktops or laptops.

Continue reading "BYOD, Mobility and Beyond..." »

January 2, 2014

Technology Trends of 2014 and How They Apply to the Manufacturing Industry

It is the start of a new year and we are seeing a lot of predictions being made on trends for 2014 - be it technologies, industries, business functions, business models, enterprises or consumers. Being focused on the Manufacturing industry for a few years now, here is my take on how some of the top technology trends apply to this industry, how they will be leveraged over this year and the kind of changes we may see them bring about.

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December 17, 2013

Sentiment analytics - are we ready to move from text to multimode?

Today it is easy to give an opinion and there is no stopping us. Nearly one in every four people use social media and in some of the developing and developed countries, around 70% of the adult population spends more than 2 hours per day on the same. That's a lot of time to say a lot of things, things which matter to marketers. Hence companies are investing a lot into mining this huge amount of information on networking sites, blogs, and discussion forums to gain insights into underlying customer sentiment about their brand, customer service, new products, customer behavior and underlying needs. 

Very often sentiment analytics is either considered as a topic within text analytics or text analytics is considered as the approach to sentiment analytics.This may be because, today, a large source of social online data is considered as text. But, the definition could be quite restrictive. More than 65000 videos are uploaded to YouTube alone per day and 6 billion hours of video are watched on it each month. More than 25000 photos are uploaded to Flickr every minute. With this huge number of videos and photos being shared and watched online, companies and analysts can no longer afford to ignore this data and stick to text alone.

If not statistics, we can also look to intuitive logic to build the case for looking beyond text. Sentiment to a layman would be polarity of an opinion. To judge the polarity, words are not enough, the emotion behind the words matter. And emotions are better reflected through tone and gesture. Remember what we learnt at college? "We communicate more effectively through body language than words" and that "a picture is worth a thousand words". Now, which is a better measure of sentiment - "how long a person smiled" in a video or "the number of smileys" in a transcript?

The time has come to move from a traditional single mode (text) approach to a multimode approach. But, are we ready for it? While, there is a lot of research done in labs/institutions to prove the feasibility and superiority of multimode approach, there is hardly any example in real life. One of the main challenges in non-textual data is the variation in representing the same meaning as against words, thus making it almost impossible to model. The other hurdle is that, even though a model is designed (example: Face detection), its applicability also depends upon the quality of the image. In real life people use home web cameras to upload videos or photos and there is an inherent lack of clarity in them. The third challenge is the size of the data, which would be many times more than a text scenario.

It seems we are far from ready, and the challenges are overwhelming. In order to progress on this, we need to take baby steps:

1.      Focus on specific areas where a multimode approach can be a differentiator over text and bring in a lot more value, for e.g. lie detection, sarcasm identification, and real time voice analytics and demonstrate its usage in real life context.

2.      Research on managing the huge size of data needs to continue.

3.      While the ideal state is "reliable automated sentiment analytics on multimode data", we should look into innovative manual ways to do the same to enjoy the benefits now.

For example we could use crowdsourcing to distribute and manually categorize sentiment on a huge set of photos from Flickr or videos from you-tube or audio files from a call center over the internet. After all the quality of sentiment scoring a human being can do is likely to be superior to any algorithm based logic.

What do you think should be our way ahead?

September 17, 2013

Advanced Analytics for Manufacturing Enterprises

Business performance for manufacturing enterprises is directly dependent on the improvements in operational processes. Globalization has added lot of pressure on increasing profitability, productivity while maintaining high quality & all of this at a lower cost. Realistically this is only possible via agility, flexibility, strong data driven process control and flawless execution of operational processes.

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July 23, 2013

A Million Dollar Question

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) in today's world has shaped up into a vast technology domain, which many market players are targeting from different domain and yes, with different platforms too. With these many product offerings in both content and process management, the customer is confused as they all look very "similar". But that's a bird's eye view. Imagine a matrix of challenges posed by domains and the technical offerings provided by these products, you'll see they all have a reason to co-exist.

So that million dollar question is "What and Why" should be procured and implemented by a customer so the end system helps the organization.

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May 7, 2013

What is your Business Case for Big Data

For any new trend or technology to be adopted in Enterprise there is a tendency to build a business case on the ROI or TCO model, justifying the cost and the potential returns that can be expected. While this is certainly a strategy that worked for so long for organizations, especially when the technology and the business problems were predicatable e.g. Packaged implementation of a CRM in which both process, technology are known & proven industry wide in each vertical domains.

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September 3, 2012

The Search Engine Psyche Part 1

 

The Googles of the world have changed the way we searched for information forever. Today we can access vast oceans of knowledge with just one click. It changed the way we remember, categorize, search, and organize information. Today's generation want search functionality everywhere, right from their smartphones to the documents they are accessing are expected to have some basic search features. What happens when such employees enter organizations and are faced with an inefficient search which won't respond in the way which they have always taken for granted?

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July 2, 2012

Butterfly Effect: Analytics and Social media

Posted by Varun Chhibber, Associate Consultant, MFGCSI- Digital Transformation Practice, Infosys

Recent posts by Priya Thampi had me thinking about the fascinating world of Analytics. Social media explosion has given an altogether different twist to the saga and the organizations today have very powerful tools at their disposal to gauge the pulse of the consumers.

Analytics earlier was confined to the boundaries of structured data (tables, charts etc.) and then came Social media! It brought along with it an avalanche of unstructured data and since then organizations have been struggling to grapple with the new found realities and needs of the latest social media rampage.

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June 11, 2012

Tying the Traditional Buying Decision Process to Ecommerce

Posted by Varun Chhibber, Associate Consultant, MFGCSI- Digital Transformation Practice, Infosys

Ecommerce is still in its infancy in the manufacturing space as compared to other domains. Although the situation is improving and players are coming out with some innovative strategies to hook the consumers to the bandwagon.

I was pondering over the different facets of ecommerce and thought about tying the traditional & digital world together. As i went deeper I discovered that both these worlds are quite similar in terms of consumer buying behavior, although the tools that are used to influence the buying decision are vastly different.

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May 31, 2012

From Online Marketing to Web Analytics

Guest Post by
Pakming Daniel Chan, Lead Consultant, MFG-ADT Online, Infosys

Introduction

Web analytics is the key component for the success of corporate digital marketing strategy. Without web analytics there is no effective way to measure the performance, test and refine their marketing campaign. Web analytics allows us to make our decision, evaluation and perdition based on facts with confidence. Here I will go through some basic concepts and how they work together to build a successful web analytics frame work for you business

Start with the Basic Questions

When people talk about web analytics, they jump to KPI quickly. However, I think there are some basic questions that we need to answer first..

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April 26, 2012

Web Content Management Tailored to Manufacturer's Needs

Guest Post by Varun Chhibber, Associate Consultant, MFGCSI- Digital Transformation Practice, Infosys

Web content management is the process of managing the content to be consumed over various online channels with the help of various tools. It is known by many names such as Web experience management, Web engagement management, Customer experience platform etc.

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