Winning Manufacturing Strategies


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. 

September 3, 2014

Master the Right Metrics to Ace Digital Commerce

In the pursuit to increase the sales, it is of utmost importance to not only keep track of the metrics but it to have the most appropriate metrics in place. The metrics should help you quantify the impact of the website on sales, conversions, consumer behavior and help you identify latent opportunities of improvement. Without the tracking of the relevant metrics you will never be able to ascertain the true impact of your efforts and will be missing on the crucial data which can help you optimize the whole customer experience!

Continue reading "Master the Right Metrics to Ace Digital Commerce" »

July 9, 2014

International Material Data System- A collective effort of OEMs in environmental protection

Several government and industry regulations like product performance, environment, safety and corporate governance are being made mandatory across the Industrial world.
In order to comply with legal  and environmental regulations on concerns like  hazardous substances. All  aircraft, automotive, electronics manufacturers and many others are required to keep extensive materials data. The number and types of materials used in the industry have also increased. It thus became important for manufacturers to have knowledge of restricted and conflict materials. Moreover, as there are high costs involved in collating, storing, and maintaining such information, An International Material Data System(IMDS) was created by HP with a consortium/association of manufacturers to make all data related and needed by supplier economically accessible. In this System, security policies protect all proprietary information but other Common information is shared with all OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers).
In this way, IMDS enables OEMs in data management & analysis of all material information for regulatory compliance and for improvement in design.
Ever since IMDS has been operational, over 2.5 lakh user IDs were issued to apprx. one lakh IMDS companies. It has now become the standard for the automotive & related industries. All Tier 1 suppliers have a responsibility to submit all necessary information in the IMDS database.

The IMDS is an internet-based database system collectively developed and maintained by  EDS ( HP company) with several automobile companies namely Porsche, VW ,Daimler, Ford, Opel, Audi, BMW, and Volvo. This system has a free-of-charge usage by all automotive suppliers for vehicle details & content reporting, recyclability and the reuse requirements. It tracks chemical ingredients of parts and assemblies across the entire automotive OEM supply chain.
Through the data collected by the all automotive supply chain stakeholders, OEM's are able to comply with the  worldwide ELV directives, REACH,SVHC, RRR and EU regulations related to material handling and disposal. IMDS & HP Compliance Data Exchange (CDX) thus make the prohibitive cost of collecting and maintaining the data easier.

The IMDS is similar to the previous system of paper based  material data sheet form (VDA expenditure 2, system 16: Substances contained in externally purchased parts).  Compared to the former method, OEMs need to indicate not just the banned hazardous materials like Cr6 / Hg  etc.  but also all constituent substances in the material data sheet (MDS) of the IMDS with a resolution of 1 gram or more.

A 100% disclosure of substances in each part or device is provided by suppliers. The onus to share data can be delegated to Tier1 or Tier2 suppliers. OEMs collect data of all automotive parts irrespective of the usability or its ultimate sales point. With a single click suppliers can analyze all the substances/chemicals which are part of the component.

IMDS sorts the data to provide a full material overview via different languages and part-numbering systems built into the product. It is also web-accessible, highly password-protected and not dependent on any system architecture, thus becoming an international portal for material data information for manufacturing industry.

System Requirements
PC with internet access , Microsoft Internet Explorer Version 5.0 or higher, Initial company registration over EDS Helpdesk, Initial user registration.

Process Flow of IMDS working:

IMDS flow chart_v2 - Copy.jpg

Continue reading "International Material Data System- A collective effort of OEMs in environmental protection" »

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..." »

December 20, 2013

Who wants to pay for an analyst report?

Other day, I wanted to have some specific information on a certain market segment. Tried various sources and finally stumbled upon a link to a leading analyst's report on the topic- only to be put off by its astronomical cost. While I badly wanted that information, at the same time did not think it is worth that kind of money they are charging. More so since the actual information that I am seeking is only a small portion of the report. I am sure there are many more who share my perspective. This made me wonder how many customers would be prepared to part with such a huge amount for these reports. Are these reports priced at the right levels? Do these analysts who churn out reports on marketing / pricing strategies for other companies, themselves need a lecture of pricing and packaging their own product?

Continue reading "Who wants to pay for an analyst report?" »

July 12, 2013

Honey, they "shrunk" the hardware, and have put that in a "connected box"

I recently bought one of those miniature personal fitness monitors (wearable device) and it inspired me to write this blog (the original purpose has still not been served i.e. no impact yet on fitness). The title captures three key trends that are happening in the hi-tech industry - miniaturization, commoditization and connectedness that is having a cross industry impact. These three trends are having a significant impact on consumer expectations, behavior and experience as well. 

Continue reading "Honey, they "shrunk" the hardware, and have put that in a "connected box"" »

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.

Continue reading "What is your Business Case for Big Data" »

March 7, 2013

Commiserating the Traditional Marketing

The social media has such an influence today that every brand is in a mad rush to make their presence felt on the social scene. It all started with people lukewarmly opening up to the social media as a marketing medium & then suddenly it garnered so much hype that everyone started measuring clicks, likes, shares and what not!

Slowly but surely, the market has matured and marketers are starting to realize that Social networks cannot magically transform their brand but at the same time it is a very effective medium by which they can create a brand presence which will be very effective in the long run.

Continue reading "Commiserating the Traditional Marketing" »

March 4, 2013

Want to feed burgers to your Business Applications; go ahead we will digest it!

Post by Jagmeet Singh, Principal, Manufacturing Management Consulting Services in collaboration with Ankit Magon, Senior Systems Engineer, FSI Practice

Yes, I know title of blog looks little intriguing especially with relation of burgers and business applications. However, it is an interesting perspective and appeared while having burgers with my friend and also the contributor to this blog, Ankit.

Continue reading "Want to feed burgers to your Business Applications; go ahead we will digest it!" »

December 21, 2012

The Mystery of the Dead Carrier Pigeon

Ah! Now that I have got your attention through a blog post titled like a cheapo thriller novel, I promise you that this post will not disappoint. Well, a few days ago, a relic of the World War II era - a wartime carrier pigeon - was found in the chimney of a home in the UK. It had its vital, secret message still attached to its foot.

Code breakers in the Intelligence center struggled hard to decipher the message and finally succeeded. The message comprises of  27 five-letter code groups. The message turned out to be far more important than what one of the commenters humorously put up - "send help please I am stuck in a chimney somewhere in Surrey"

In large enterprises, we keep running into dead carrier pigeons - applications that are still running with no information on the source code or applications running perpetually and causing significant trouble when something stops working suddenly.

We had a weird incident recently with one of our clients where an integration interface stopped working suddenly. The middleware servers with their listeners had been running for several months without any outage or issues and so had this particular interface. The interface suddenly stopped working and troubleshooting was very much akin to deciphering the secret message that the pigeon carried. Investigation quickly revealed that all was well with the middleware infrastructure. Somebody then fished out a document which was a few years old and talked about the interface specifications. We dusted off the document and got cracking - analyzing logs, message signatures, etc. Trouble shooting for a couple of days led us to the root cause of the issue and we got things working again. 

We had another incident with one of our clients last month - the one is fairly common ... application binaries without relevant source code being available!

As enterprise modernize and transform, portfolio assessment and application decommissioning exercises become critical and throw up a lot of such interesting anecdotes.

Carrier pigeons meanwhile have had a long history before being decommissioned ... being used as messengers during conflicts, for getting advance information to aid trading decisions and for exchanging other important messages. There are ideas underway to re-commission passenger pigeons!

What are some of the interesting scenarios that you have encountered in this regards?



October 8, 2012

Portal or the non-Portal way?

Guest Post by

Devendra Singh, Senior Project Manager, MFG ADT - Digital Transformation, Infosys


The core of a Portal is to integrate content, people and processes from various sources within the organization, in a seamless and efficient manner and server as a single point of access to the key information. Generally these can be classified as B2E, B2B, and B2C depending upon the stakeholders accessing the portals - customers, employees, suppliers, dealers etc.  Based on the stakeholders, Portal is also classified as Intranet, Extranet or Web.


Many pre-packaged Portal frameworks are available from various leading software vendors like IBM Websphere Portal, Oracle Webcenter etc. Open source Portal frameworks are also available such as Liferay.  These frameworks provide basic building blocks to build a Portal for the Enterprise. There is always a valid thought, which comes when the Portal requirements get defined? - Why can't we write a custom built web application instead of going for a Portal framework or tool?

Continue reading "Portal or the non-Portal way?" »

July 24, 2012

Product compliance - "SVHC" for the Manufacturing Industry Value chain!


As I walked out of the discussion on strategies to adopt for managing compliance, the regulatory influence of RoHS, REACH, WEEE in manufacturing industry still occupied my thoughts.  The discussion had clearly established how Product compliance had become a "Subject of Very High Concern" for the Value Chain. With increased awareness among the customers and stricter regulatory implementation, the Product compliance has indeed come on priority list of CXOs. The risks are real

·         Impact on the  Brand including  loss of customer confidence

·         Denial of access to markets

·         Increased Risk exposure of the portfolio of products

·         Cost that could turn manufacturer  unprofitable -  cost of delayed NPDI; Obsolescence costs due to discontinuation of non-compliant parts, supply chain redesign...and more

Well, now It is no longer just the 5 substances in RoHS, The regulatory introduction and evolution seems to be outpacing adoption in manufacturing industry with newer ones on horizon - RoHS2, Conflict minerals, EU Battery directives and expanding list of the SVHC (substances of Very High Concern) in REACH.

So what makes "Product compliance" in manufacturing industry difficult?

Host of factors indeed...

Continue reading "Product compliance - "SVHC" for the Manufacturing Industry Value chain!" »

July 12, 2012

RFID enabled visibility in the Manufacturing supply chain

Various manufacturing organizations and their suppliers are rapidly adopting RFID to increase the efficiency and to streamline their processes.

In any industry involving multiple parties dealing with shipment of products, having "visibility" becomes an impetus. The manufacturing industry supply-chain also faces the following recurring problems including but not limited to:

* Dispatch Miss: If there is no ASN (Advanced Shipment Notification) sent by the supplier for the parts being shipped, then there is high probability of a scenario where what is received by the manufacturer is not same as what was expected. This can result in productivity losses, extra freight cost in getting the missing products air-shipped, delayed payments and bitterness in relationship with suppliers.

* Assembly of Variants: Verifying the correctness of an assembly requires the correct parts for a particular variant to be "visible" and available immediately to the engineer on the shop-floor.

* WIP Tracking: Locating misplaced parts in the warehouse and ensuring they are available at the production line is critical to avoid line-stoppage.

* Finished Goods Visibility: While fulfilling a large order, it is essential to locate where the correct finished product is kept and bring it to the loading dock-door in minimal time.

Many such issues can be addressed with the use of AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Capture) technologies. This view-point discusses the possibility of introducing RFID and Barcode based tracking into the Manufacturing supply-chain with minimal disruption to the operations of both, the manufacturer as well as the supplier.

For discussing more, please leave your thoughts below.

June 21, 2012

The Challenge of Business Requirements vs. Business Processes

Guest Post By,

Michael Aston, Senior Technology Architect , MFG ADT Online, Infosys

Every so often I come across a project where the scope is to produce a like-for-like replacement of an existing system.  I'll tell you right now, these projects are doomed to failure.

These projects occur for a number of reasons.  Perhaps an existing product is no longer supported, or perhaps the business is trying to consolidate on to fewer technology platforms.  In some cases the drive it to reduce recurring costs, in others the lure of a new technology has been irresistible.  No matter the originating factor, they display the same barriers to success.

Firstly, in these projects the users aren't complaining about the existing system.  It's a familiar beast, warts and all, and they're in their comfort zone using it.  It's become the technology equivalent of your favourite armchair; maybe it's a bit scruffy and the cushions don't match, but woe betide anyone who suggests replacing it.

Secondly, the existing system will have been around for a while.  Given long enough, people will adapt to anything and the alternatives will no longer seem viable[1].  In the case of established software, business processes mould themselves to fit the tools available, accommodating their quirks and peculiarities.

Continue reading "The Challenge of Business Requirements vs. Business Processes" »

June 15, 2012

Data Alchemy

Guest Post by

Priya Thampi, PTA, MFGADT, Infosys


Alchemy is an ancient science practiced to achieve perfection in both living and non living. In the modern e- world which lives and feeds on data, perfecting the DataAlchemy.pngbytes to sense our customers and shape our business is the biggest challenge for any D-alchemist...


Data in its infancy curve needs aggregation, a means to associate and transform itself in the best possible school of thoughts. These seasoned bytes thus major into Information in their adolescence. Specialization happens then on Natural Language Processing and of course Relationships which get them into the next phase of life namely Intelligence. These intelligent bytes live happily ever after!!!!


Continue reading "Data Alchemy" »

June 12, 2012

The data R-evolution a natural selection or Adaptation to Net warming effect

Guest Post by

Priya Thampi, PTA, MFGADT, Infosys


datawarm.pngData, a species that originated through the evolution of human being and is the foundation to all revolutions in human history, very silently and without much ado went through a big DNA transformation in the recent past...

Information was passed on as inheritance and stored in scripts during the early civilizations. Slowly the society became more open and free to information. Leading to the first transformation in data namely right to information.

Continue reading "The data R-evolution a natural selection or Adaptation to Net warming effect" »

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