Today’s unprecedented shifts in markets, demands, technologies and opportunities require companies to respond intelligently to more frequent, drastic and faster changes.

With new products, customers, markets and situations, manufacturers’ strategies that worked in the past will soon be obsolete. Further, customers have now grown to expect greater responsiveness. This means conventional process structures and business strategies have become increasingly risky. Additionally, essential Continuous Process Improvement initiatives have become significantly more challenging in digging out root cause issues due to the dynamic, constantly changing and sometimes unstable underlying technology platform.

According to the November, 2012 McKinsey study “Manufacturing the Future,” this strategy transformation will require companies to “match granular insights with granular operations strategy.” In other words, people need real-time situational insights they can act on right away to drive improvement.

Employees face many volatile situations that require quick decisions based on deep, complete data. For example, does it make sense to switch to making a different product when a material is not available, or is it better to use a substitute material? That depends on the current demand for all the products in question within the plant, on current inventory levels, on customer and quality and quality specifications, on scheduled supplier deliveries and other factors.

Employees making complex situational decisions are critical to:

·         Allow factories to be more responsive to variety, volatility and change without costly validation and consequence

·         Foster supply chain responsiveness and resiliency

·         Design products for manufacturing (DFM) and the supply chain (DFSC)

·         Provide feedback for process improvement and by being engaged in ongoing business model transformation to deliver finished goods cheaper, faster and of higher quality.

Since most large companies are outsourcing more than ever, these complex decisions involve a whole information network across the enterprise, into the supply chain and out into the marketplace. To gain effective insights, intelligence must be derived from data gathered across that network of disciplines, locations and partners.