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5 Ways to Use Data in Your Manufacturing Operations

Here are 5 tools for manufacturing data analysis throughout the manufacturing process:

  1. Automated data collection
  2. Product traceability
  3. Inventory control 
  4. Asset tracking
  5. Supply chain EDI 
Industrialized data is the next evolutionary step in the manufacturing industry. It provides actionable insights to production processes. Also, data optimizes collaboration within the supply chain.
Yet, manufacturers’ challenges are immense. As they grow, manufacturers struggle to connect sensors and devices to disparate systems. This stands in the way of a unified supply chain process or achieving advanced analytics.
But as Forbes observes, “a digitized manufacturing sector holds great promise…Nearly every part of the process will see increased gains in efficacy through better information, reduction of risk, more effective recalls, and better products and services.”
For data managers, there are new ways to use data in manufacturing operations. They can achieve agile and responsive systems that drive efficiency and quality products.
They can enhance existing ERP and other business systems. Or, they can add full, scalable solutions. These technologies optimize data capture and use at any scale.

Data Technologies That Are Transforming Manufacturing Systems

Digital transformation is driving competitive value in manufacturing verticals today. Three factors are central to this transformation.
  • Scaling operations
  • Increasing operational efficiencies
  • Improving product quality
Are you ready to take your next steps toward achieving these goals to improve your bottom line? If so, consider the following five technology investments.

Integrated tools for data collection

In the ‘Industry 4.0’ era, bar codes have evolved to become a more integrated data tool. Manufacturers are implementing more flexible, mobile scanning technologies when collecting data.
Meanwhile, manufacturers are integrating these technologies with ERP and other business systems. As a result, they can collect, track, and centralize unlimited data attributes. In turn, this drives more informed business decisions.
This new generation of technologies has many benefits. For example, they can validate scanned barcode, RFID and sensor data against databases. Also, they make updates to ERP systems in real time.
Plus, bar code systems are more compatible with non-dedicated mobile tools. These may include smartphones, so personnel can track products under any circumstances.

Traceability that supports complete quality control

Growth can strain quality control systems. This proves especially challenging in sensitive markets like food and healthcare. But, modern traceability solutions provide complete visibility throughout the supply chain. Systems can track everything from the receipt of raw materials to customer delivery. 
Even the most complex global supply chains can see benefits. For instance, traceability solutions can track co-mingled lots and ensure compliance. Also traceability can reduce supply chain risk due to disruption or recalls.
Companies that invest in stand-alone traceability solutions can still build a robust database. Integrated data collection tools help streamline every stage of production and distribution.

Inventory control as preventive maintenance

Historically, inventory loss among manufacturers has reached at least $50 million annually. This is due to supplier errors, employee theft, or documentation errors.
Today, manufacturers have access to flexible, easy-to-launch inventory control systems. These can be stand-alone solutions or integrations with existing ERP and business systems.
Next-generation inventory control systems provide real-time access to manufacturing data analysis. As a result, protecting against shrinkage, and driving improvements to the customer experience.  

Scalable, automated asset tracking

Manufacturers must track assets ranging from basic components to specialized tools. But, as of 2018, only 15% of assets are connected in production line environments, according to McKinsey. Manufacturers that successfully transition from manual processes to automated tracking increase their efficiency.

Next-generation EDI across supply chains

Many manufacturing companies seek to increase their visibility across new and evolving supply chains. Electronic data interchange (EDI) software provides the solutions these manufacturers need to scale. These solutions allow manufacturers to manage inbound and outbound transactions. At the same time, eliminating tedious manual processes.
Advanced EDI supports custom deployment and superior flexibility. Also, available outsourcing options allow companies to offload tasks while providing real-time data.
Already, next-generation EDI is transforming industries. According to Reuters, the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) estimates health insurance providers can save as much as $1.00 per claim using EDI— a substantial cost savings. EDI adoption is also growing in aerospace, automotive, and other global manufacturing verticals.

Data Should Make Your Business Better

Again, manufacturers have options to improve production. They needn’t change the way they do business to get the tools they need to succeed and to maximize efficiency.
Leading data technologies help companies scale operations. Plus, they increase efficiencies, and improve business outcomes without unwanted disruptions. Put data to use data in your manufacturing operations and increased productivity can’t be far behind.
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