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. 

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.    

5494 - Copy.jpg

April 24, 2014

Servitization and its impact on Business Models and Enterprise packages


Was going through some interesting articles on "Servitization", a captivating concept I must say. So what is servitization? Manufacturing industries have been selling products - components or end items as their main offering along with supplementary services such as After Sales...etc.  Servitization refers to these organizations packaging their offerings of which services form an integral portion. The main focus is on service required by the consumer rather than the product itself. Let's take an example of a business customer requiring a Coolant to be delivered at specific pressure and temperature within their premise,  Servitization here will bring forth the focus of the Manufacturer to provide the exact services required rather than selling coolants, pressure and temperature gauges.

Continue reading "Servitization and its impact on Business Models and Enterprise packages" »

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.  

December 20, 2013

Fodder for Breeding Cloud Adaption

Around two years back, I wrote this blog which talked about how and why supply chain enterprise applications are the right breeding ground for cloud based SaaS applications.  If we look back now, you will notice that most of the projections in the blog have turned out to be right. Cloud enablement did happen in all facets of supply chain management- be it procurement, planning or execution. However it is also noteworthy that it did not see same extent of adaption in all areas. One specific trend we are seeing is that the maximum SaaS growth and adaption is happening in CRM, HCM kind of "external facing", mostly standard business process. One common attribute of all such applications, which are so called "early adapters" of cloud, is that they all have an inherent need to rapidly scale up or scale down based on market conditions. Whereas we can see that the adaption has not been as much in inward facing business processes like PLM. I am attempting to figure out what is the fodder that is resulting in this uneven breeding of the SaaS in this blog...

Continue reading "Fodder for Breeding Cloud Adaption" »

September 25, 2013

Beauty as a Competitive Differentiator in Enterprise Applications

 A decade back, in 2003, my employer had spent nearly $600 just to get me trained and certified in SAP. That was the going rate to get into the elite club of consultant who has understood nuances of the market leading enterprise application. Those days the trend in the enterprise application world was to create big monolithic, functionally rich, ERPs.  Simplicity or Usability of the product was least of the considerations- as matter of fact the labels in initial versions of SAP were in German. The main focus was on addressing all foreseeable business requirements across all verticals and sub verticals in one go. One size fits all. The organizations were urged to change their business process to suit the architecture of those ERPs. They termed it 'IT- enabled business process reengineering- BPR'. Obviously this focus made the enterprise applications very complex to comprehend. This, in turn, created an assured revenue stream for the product vendors in the form of training and certification.
Over a period of time, the trend has completely reversed. The GenNext does not have time or inclination to undergo elaborate training in software applications. They want the applications to be intuitive. One does not need a user manual to understand how a face book or   LinkedIn works. The users of iPod do not depend on a user manual to understand how to use the application. They just know it - intuitively. This new reality has finally dawned on the enterprise application vendors. The functional richness in enterprise applications is a given- hygiene factor.  That is no more competitive differentiator. The new competitive differentiators are usability and performance.

This is precisely what Infor is attempting through 10x. Leveraging Beauty (for want of better term!) as a competitive differentiator. This is my key take away from the last week's session by Soma, EVP Global Product Development of Infor at New Delhi. Infor 10x unites a multi-purpose middleware platform (ION) featuring social, mobile, analytical, and cloud capabilities with Infor's suite of solutions. It also delivers a pervasive, in-context business intelligence embedded throughout role-based workflows and makes it easier to put the power of analytics to work for businesses.

Continue reading "Beauty as a Competitive Differentiator in Enterprise Applications" »

January 2, 2013

Forecast for 2013 - Cloudy with a chance of greater adoption

Another year went by and there have been predictions, predictions and more predictions. Predictions are important as they set the tone for the ecosystem as a whole. In the Information Technology space, sometimes these predictions have even changed the course of the future as they served as a "guiding star" to new methodologies, frameworks, models and approaches to help businesses solve their problems and reap greater benefits leveraging IT.

The Top 5 buzz words (in general, though you may not agree to all of them) last year were Cloud, Mobility, Big-Data, Social Media and Smartphones.

Continue reading "Forecast for 2013 - Cloudy with a chance of greater adoption" »

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.

February 23, 2012

What happened to the Good Old Manufacturing? : Part 2

Guest Post by Varun Chhibber, Associate Consultant, MFG-ADT Online, Infosys


In my previous post I touched upon the recent trends in outsourcing of manufacturing and the main reasons cited by firms to outsource.

The road to outsourcing was not that easy, outsourcing faced a lot of opposition, as it was understandable also. Everything cannot be and should not be outsourced. For example it makes sense to outsource the production of an iPhone, but its designing, marketing etc. are still kept in-house. It is a decision that manufacturers have to take keeping in mind many factors.

Continue reading "What happened to the Good Old Manufacturing? : Part 2" »

February 6, 2012

What happened to the Good Old Manufacturing? - Part 1

Guest Post by Varun Chhibber, Associate Consultant, MFG-ADT Online, Infosys


Recently there has been a lot of hue and cry over the outsourcing and the job losses that followed. Major companies have been accused of exporting jobs to Asian countries such as China when there has been an ever increasing need of job creation in their native countries. To this companies argue that they are creating a lot of jobs indirectly by creating opportunities and if the jobs are not moved to save efficiencies, eventually it will lead to further job losses!

Continue reading "What happened to the Good Old Manufacturing? - Part 1" »

January 30, 2012

Crisis Management in the Times of Global Manufacturing Supply Chains

Guest Post by Varun Chhibber, Associate Consultant, MFG-ADT Online, Infosys


Crisis management has been the biggest bane for the manufacturers in the recent past. Manufacturing industry suffered from one crisis after another last year. First it was Japan earthquake and then Thailand floods.

The Japan Crisis caused major supply constraints for global automotive industry resulting in poor capacity utilization of plants, long waiting times, cancellation of orders etc. Similarly during the Thailand crisis many manufacturers were forced to shut down production or cut back the output due to disruption in supply of critical parts.


Continue reading "Crisis Management in the Times of Global Manufacturing Supply Chains" »

Subscribe to this blog's feed

Follow us on

Blogger Profiles

Infosys on Twitter