Data and Analytics in the Manufacturing sector

Today’s manufacturing executives face a new landscape, with broad implications for profitability. From raw material supply constraints to the increasing number and complexity of production activities involved in the manufacturing process, manufacturers could benefit from a more granular approach to diagnosing and correcting process issues.

As products are usually core to a manufacturing business, data and analytics is often targeted at refining product development. However, more and more manufacturers are applying data and analytics across their processes to optimise their supply chains, improve product scheduling and sales forecasting, reduce costs, develop new propositions and monitor machine usage and reliability.

At PwC, we use data and analytics to help organisations in the manufacturing sector to:
  • Reduce investment in working capital and stock
  • Improve the accuracy of cash flow forecasting
  • Increase profitability of store promotions by understanding consumer behavior and category performance
  • Understand customer and product level profitability
  • Embed a culture of data-driven decision making
  • Understand their market share and impact of competitor activities
  • Optimise logistics and distribution

Data and Analytics tools for manufacturing:

  • Trade Promotion Analytics
  • Commercial Performance Visual Insights
  • Distribution Spend Analytics

Case studies

Improving the effectiveness of supermarket promotions for food manufacturer

A leading global food manufacturer wanted to understand the effectiveness of their promotional activities with several key UK grocery retailers. More than £100m worth of promotional funding was being spent annually but without the tools to really evaluate the return on this investment.

Working with the client’s commercial finance and category insight teams, we designed and implemented a solution to integrate external and internal information sources such as POS data, ERP financials, demand planning and promotion event calendars. This consolidated data is now used to calculate the incremental revenue and profit driven from each promotion. This large set of information is published to the business through user-friendly dashboards that facilitate the swift discovery of fresh insights about their promotional activities.

This tool is now used by the business to optimise the profitability of their promotion strategy and understand the behaviours of the consumers. It has been adopted and is now managed by the client’s in-house teams.

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Customer and product profitability insight

A well-known UK brand were unable to measure Revenue and Profitability at customer and sku level y due to the complexities of allocating customer rebates, purchase price variances and varying distribution route costs. The management team explained how they didn’t have the level of insight they thought was required to support confident commercial decision making.

PwC were asked to diagnose the underlying technical and business process issues, and design a database model that would provide the business with the required commercial insight. We identified some long standing business processes that needed to be re-designed and built an analytical model that can harmonise data from multiple source systems to perform the calculations and prepare the resulting outputs for reporting. We were also asked to utilise our experience of Visual Analytics and modern Business Intelligence platforms to provide the business users with an easy way to access this insight on both desktop and mobile devices.

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Insights into post deal synergies

Our client was aiming to sell a division of their business and needed help in creating synergy cases for a combination with two of their competitors. The client had outlined the potential upside in the rationalisation of their manufacturing sites in the case of each competitor, and asked us to challenge the proposed plans.

Within days of receiving the raw data we had produced a data set which overlayed various sources in one consistent and comparable form. Our team then built a reporting tool using Tableau to display capacity by location, alongside other metrics. We used this tool at a dedicated client workshop to test hypotheses in a dynamic and interactive way.

Data and analytics allowed us to challenge the client’s plans in an intuitive and interactive way. This helped accelerate the dialogue and facilitated faster decision-making.

We gave the client a preview of questions that might be raised by the two bidders, giving management the opportunity to adjust the plan and frame their responses.

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Proof of concept data visualisation tool for parts supplier

Our client supplies parts to aerospace manufacturers. Their customer contracts demand that they hold stock in various locations across the globe. They were challenged to gain a greater understanding of their global stock holdings because of pressure to reduce investment in working capital and stock was seen as a key focus area.

We created a proof of concept data visualisation tool which outlined stock KPIs by location. Our client liked the ease-of-use and drill-down functionality so we agreed to build an underlying data platform to streamline and consolidate the required data, which would ultimately feed the visualisation tool. To support accurate and consistent data management, we documented the data dictionary and defined a bespoke data governance model.

This resulted in our client having confidence in its global stock holding data. It is allowing them to make significant reductions in stock and reduce exposure to obsolete of excess stock holding.

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