Thursday, October 11, 2012

Manufacturing Business Intelligence

Manufacturing Business Intelligence

Oct 11, 2012
- Dave Edstrom
Manufacturing Business Intelligence is a double entendre. The first definition would be Manufacturing (creating) Business Intelligence. The second definition would be Manufacturing (manufacturing industry) Business Intelligence. This article will discuss both sides of the Manufacturing Business Intelligence coin.
Before we define the two definitions for Manufacturing Business Intelligence, we need to define business intelligence. Business intelligence has three important components:
  1. A wide range of adapters to connect to numerous types of data sources. Examples of data sources would be databases, web sites, spreadsheets, files, programs and anything where information can be retrieved.
  2. Software that slices, dices and analyzes this data. This would be a library of software functions that makes it easier for software developers to analyze data. Think about this as the built-in functions in a spreadsheet, but are used instead for software programs.
  3. Display software that can send reports or dashboards to a wide range of devices from smart phones to PCs with everything in between.
How does your company create its Manufacturing Business Intelligence? How do you capture data in your shop or plant? Is your business a series of isolated software programs that exist in silos? Does your business have multiple sources of the truth? Does common data exist in a variety of forms and in a variety of repositories or databases? Do your executives have customized dashboards that provide a clear and quantified view of what they are responsible for? Can any employee get access to any data they need at any time on any device and anywhere? Does your company support all of the latest and greatest devices that are out there? Do employees have the necessary tools to measure progress in their respective departments and create new reports and dashboards on their own? Is your IT Department swamped just keeping up with the day-to-day activities of your company?
The questions above are not easy questions for most manufacturing companies, or most companies in general to answer. One of the key questions to first ask yourself is the following: “Is information technology an expense or an investment in your company?” There is a huge difference between an expense or investment when it comes to information technology. Too often manufacturing views information as an optional art versus a required science. A simple example of this is the fact that only four to five percent of all shops or plants on planet earth monitor their shop floor. If 95 percent of companies are not even monitoring their shop floor, how can we possibly expect to see the level of integration that is needed in the rest of shop or plant’s IT systems?
There is a sector of the software industry that specifically deals with business intelligence. These companies should provide all three of the components referenced above. When considering business intelligence software, it is very important to make sure your software developers have had enough hands-on time with the software to determine how well it might work out in your shop. I cannot emphasize this last point enough.
What does your company use for Manufacturing (manufacturing industry) Business Intelligence? The best bang for the buck in the manufacturing arena is AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology’s MTInsight platform. MTInsight is a platform of a number applications that all run in the cloud. This means all you need is a browser and you have complete access to MTInsight. No software is downloaded to your system. Everything lives in the cloud – the data and the software. This is very important because you will never get the message, “new version available, would you like to install?” This keeps it very easy and very clean. Every time you access you will have the latest and greatest software. By going to, you can see demos for most of the applications.
If you were an exhibitor at IMTS 2012, there are top answers to that question on why someone would purchase the MTInsight IMTS 2012 application that Mark Kennedy and Kim Brown created and share with prospects.
  • Unlimited access to sell and market to IMTS 2012 registrants.
  • See what days your key customers came to IMTS 2012.
  • Filter prospects by geography, industry, product interest, buying role, job function and plant size to find your key customers.
  • Compare your booth performance to other exhibitors in your pavilion, quadrant, building and the whole show.
  • Identify new opportunities – everyone who missed your booth in 2010 and post show 2012.
  • Visualize never before seen data using state-of-the-art interactive tools.
It’s not too late to improve the return on your investment from IMTS by purchasing the GREAT MTInsight IMTS 2012 application. Visit to learn more and subscribe. For questions, pricing, or to schedule a live demonstration, contact Mark Kennedy or 703-827-5220 or Kim Brown or 703-827-5223 right now.
Whether your company is creating business intelligence or accessing manufacturing industry business intelligence, hopefully this article sheds some light on both sides of the Manufacturing Business Intelligence coin.

Joel Neidig's MTConnect Virtual Showcase App

Joel Neidig of ITAMCO continues to do very cool stuff with MTConnect!

MTConnect Virtual Showcase

Here is the link at iTunes on this great application which is the first virtual MTConnect Showcase app.  

As ZDNet reported on September 14th, 2012:

"This application is the first virtual MTConnect Showcase app. View your Machine Tools and Controls in real-time. This application will be on display at the Emerging Technology Center at IMTS 2012.Great for Machine Operators, Maintenance Technicians, Engineers, Programmers, or Plant Managers. Quick and Easy Access to your MTConnect Agent over both Mobile Phone and WiFi Networks. Monitor CNC machines and controls. On the settings page enter the MTConnect address associated to the machine you would like to monitor, example: or ip address, then enter the showcase and walk up to the desired machine and view in real-time your machine or control. Host Connection must be MTConnect compatible (requires MTConnect Agent and if needed MTConnect Adapter).This app was developed by ITAMCO, please visit for more information. "