Choosing a Manufacturing Business Intelligence Solution

Choosing a Manufacturing Business Intelligence Solution

selecting a manufacturing business intelligence solution

In this post, we want to guide you through the process of choosing a manufacturing business intelligence solution.  The following are questions you may want to ask during your search:

  • Why do I need a manufacturing business intelligence solution?
  • What type of solution is right for my plant?
  • What specific features do I require or would like to have?
  • How much money am I willing to spend?  What do I expect my ROI to be?
  • What am I looking for in a software vendor?
  • How do I find the right software provider for my situation?
  • How do I make a final decision?


Why do I need a manufacturing business intelligence solution?

In today’s manufacturing world, it is necessary for enterprises to have a manufacturing business intelligence solution to develop or keep a competitive edge by saving time, stress, and money.  Do you lose time by having machines down?  Is there stress on your employees when they do not have the visibility they need?  Would you save money by having the information your team needs to prevent downtime and quickly identify issues and to see problems before they develop into even longer downtime?

A manufacturing business intelligence solution can allow plants to avoid losses in performance, quality, and efficiency by tracking data in real-time.  Historical reports track downtime events and duration and can help to identify and resolve bottlenecks quickly.  These solutions allow plants to quickly assign root causes and discover which machines need preventive maintenance.  The right manufacturing business intelligence solution will save time, stress, and money.


What type of solution is right for my plant?

When looking for the best solution for your plant you should ask the following questions:

  • What aspects of my system must be considered when shopping for a manufacturing business intelligence solution?
  • Am I looking for a system that will be used worldwide, site wide, plant wide, or only for specific areas of a plant?
  • Does my plant track discrete data, process data, or both?
  • Do I need a system that can handle high-speed or low-volume manufacturing?


What specific features do I require?

Depending on the type of manufacturing plant, certain features may be more important to you than others.  These are few common features an enterprise typically looks for when choosing a manufacturing business intelligence solution:

  • Real-time plant status
  • Real-time KPIs
  • Configurable alerts
  • Historical data analysis
  • Bottleneck analysis
  • Changeover tracking
  • Configurable technology
  • Multiple language support


How much money am I willing to spend?

This is one of the most important questions when searching for a business intelligence solution.  Software and infrastructure can have a wide range of cost of ownership and you want to ensure that the ROI will be satisfactory.  The following includes many of the costs to consider:

  • Initial costs:
    • Software licensing
    • Configuration time and expense
    • Hardware
    • Initial training
  • Subscription, maintenance, or software as a service (SaaS) costs
  • Hardware and infrastructure maintenance personnel and expenses
  • Ongoing training costs


What am I looking for in a software vendor?

Installing and implementing an enterprise software solution of large size and scope can be intimidating and time consuming.  Ask yourself how much time you will have to implement and how long you are willing to work with a software vendor.  Take the time to get to know the vendor’s implementation team, and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the vendor have the experience I am looking for?  How much experience do they have with the solution and our industry?  Even if the company has been around for a long time, are the employees experienced?
  • Do I want to work with a big company who may have a lot of experience, but where I’m just another customer?  Or, do I want to work with a small company that can provide personal attention and support?
  • Does the vendor have the resources to install and implement the solution within my timeframe?
  • Do I get a feeling that the team will be easy to work with, will they have my best interests in mind, and do they believe my success is their success?


How do I find the right software provider for my situation?

Not all software solutions are created equal.  You will need to consider some important questions before you choose the best solution for your plant or enterprise. The following are a few questions you may want to consider:

  • What type of manufacturing environment is the software designed to handle?
  • Does it collect real-time, high-volume, high-performance, and high-speed data?
  • Does it track discrete and continuous data?
  • Does it track data in real-time?
  • Does it save historical data to show patterns and trends?
  • Does it provide interactive, drill-down reports?
  • Can it create customizable graphics, charts, and alerts?
  • Where can you access the software?  Only in the plant?  Over the web?  On a mobile device?
  • Is the solution well documented?
  • What support is available?
  • Is training available?
  • How easy is it to implement and customize?
  • Will the money we save be more than the cost of ownership?


How do I make a final decision?

Have you done the research, talked to vendors, seen a demo of the software, have answers to your questions, but are still not sure which vendor is best for your plant?  Here are a few more questions that may help you with your decision.

  • Which system has the features we are looking for?
  • Which vendor has a team we are excited to work with?
  • Which system is within our budget?
  • Which system has the most buy-in from the people who will be using it?
  • Will we be able to implement this system within our timeframe?


Selecting a manufacturing business intelligence solution is a big decision.  It is a software solution that you will rely on for years to come and that could have a significant financial impact.  If you would like to discuss in more detail contact us at and we will help you get started.