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Manufacturing analytics in Qlik Sense
September 25, 2020

Manufacturing: solving 5 everyday problems with data visualisation

Manufacturing is a prime example of an industry turning to data science, intelligent technologies and robotics to meet the demands of an increasingly uncertain future. And essentially solve all problems. Even the idea of a Smart Factory – entire production facilities and logistics organised without any human intervention – is becoming a reality. 


Yet, it doesn’t matter whether your plant is run by humans or robots, since all business operations and processes are becoming ever more data-driven. And data visualisations, such as heat maps and Sankey charts, are an essential component of making sense of all that information. 


Let’s take a look at some common manufacturing red flags and see how visualising data can help circumvent those kinks and bumps along the supply chain. 


1. Reducing risk of error on the plant floor

Human error is inevitable. But with proper training and the right analytics solution, almost anything has a resolution. 


Here’s where integration under a centralised analytics solution can make a real difference – helping manage the flow of data from several sources. Empowering work teams, rather than relying on supervision, is also key. And if information is power, keeping track of all the moving levers will also make calculations and estimations more reliable and accurate.


To assist floor managers in anticipating trends and responding even more quickly, it’s important to see the most critical components of a process at a glance. A KPI dashboard is a practical solution for visualising key performance indicators such as shift performance, order schedules, machinery issues, and output targets. While fast insights prompt actions that can improve manufacturing safety and even save lives. 


Visualising production line insights at a glance with Vizlib 

Powerful manufacturing analytics visuals in Qlik Sense

2. Minimising supply chain delays

How many times have you ordered something from Amazon that was followed by an email saying your product won’t be delivered on time? That’s right, probably never, and customers expect the same level of commitment from manufacturers to ensure a smooth consumer experience.


A record of delays can cost you your customer base, which is why your plan A always needs a plan B. Project planning tools like Vizlib Gantt help you stay on top of things like shift planning and production schedules, so you always know where your resources are allocated and who’s got the bandwidth to step in and help when things don’t go as planned. 

 Get a quick overview of manufacturing processes, tasks and resources with Vizlib Gantt

Streamlining supply chains with Qlik Sense

A well-designed dashboard that follows best practices is another way to track KPIs such as the on-time delivery rate (measured as a ratio of the number of units on time divided by the number of total units shipped on a monthly basis) in real-time and compare it against historical performance. 


Vizlib Library – a powerful set of visualisations and UX components for Qlik Sense – does all this and more, allowing users to visualise and track results, detect inefficiencies, visualise sensor data, spot trends, and even make forecasts using new advanced analytics capabilities

Advanced Analytics in Vizlib Library for successful plant-floor planning and forecasting  

Intuitive advanced analytics in Qlik

3. Ensuring cost-effective plant operations 

Is it possible to cut costs without compromising on quality? 


In the manufacturing industry, quality control and assurance are top of the agenda to meet customer expectations and maintain market positioning. 


Which is why some manufacturers favour the acquisition of various businesses along the supply chain. Known as vertical integration, its ultimate aim is to achieve greater control over quality and costs. It may be common practice, but vertical integration can still be a costly and sometimes risky strategy.


To keep a close eye on cash flow, Vizlib Finance packs a visual layer on top of your financial reporting to help you easily track expenses and acquisitions. Plus, the added visual power encourages more data exploration and collaboration. It’s like a P&L report – on steroids. 

Add more visual power to financial reporting in Qlik with Vizlib Finance

Compelling financial reporting in Qlik

4. Eliminating inefficiencies with integrated analytics

Striving for efficiency is like striving for perfection—it’s the journey and not the goal. That’s why perfecting the manufacturing cycle time is an ongoing process. 


There are various advantages and disadvantages to operating lean versus padding out inventories, especially if your plant produces more than one type of product. Though, regardless of which approach best suits your business, no two plants are ever the same. 


That’s where the right data software plays an important role, transferring lessons learned from one plant to another. With a data analytics solution like Vizlib’s Writeback capability, you can enhance your ERP data and update product line data on-the-fly directly in Qlik to boost supply chain efficacy and productivity. Measuring and managing OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) is now easier thanks to this pairing of capabilities: instant data capture and powerful analytics.


Creating a manufacturing app in Qlik Sense with Vizlib Writeback Table

5. Uncompromising on plant safety 

Manufacturing typically involves potentially dangerous and heavy machinery, but even in an office cubicle, there’s a possibility of danger! 


An unfortunate consequence of human error is that accidents happen. And on the plant floor, they get logged as a safety incident and calculated into a safety incidence rate.


With an intuitive data visualisation app, managers can spot data-driven insights and adapt to situations quickly, without being bogged down by lengthy, complex, and slow-loading reports. 


For example, a safety manager could use an analytics app to track incident rates in real-time and compare against other data points, such as shift performance, to get to the root of what’s really causing accidents. Safety, with data, first!

Track incidents in real-time for agile decisions and action in manufacturing

Proactive manufacturing analytics in Qlik


Down on the plant floor, a successful manager needs to have problem-solving down to a fine art. Where having the right manufacturing analytics tools to make data-driven decisions in real-time isn’t just essential, it’s a competitive advantage.

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