“Manufacturers in general have a lot of data but they don't use it very effectively.” These are the words of Dan Meier, a manufacturing IT expert who we recently interviewed. Dan has been working with manufacturing data for more than 20 years, and we enjoyed hearing more about the industry from him.

Manufacturers can use data to monitor workflow, orders, shipping rates, and the amount of yield they’re getting from materials—and that’s just to name a few potential uses. The importance of data, Dan explained, is that it can get to the root-cause of an issue. And when everyone’s operating from the same source of data, then efficiency and compliance can also improve.

“We slice and dice the data all the time," Dan said, "and through slicing and dicing the data being able to turn it upside down on its head we frequently find insights.”

We enjoyed speaking with Dan (don’t forget to check out the full Q&A) and also got to interview two manufacturers from around the world:

  • J. Zimmer Maschinenbau is a global manufacturer of textile and carpet production machines. The company had a lot of data—but no platform to analyze that data with. We spoke with Thomas Mentler, the company's CFO, about how they’re using Tableau. In addition to analyses that would normally have taken longer using Excel, he said they've put Tableau directly on top of the company’s ERP system to produce complex accounting calculations.
  • Headquartered in Chile, Arauco is a global company that specializes in sustainable forest products. To manage multiple manufacturing locations, they do a lot of mapping in Tableau. "The experience has been great, in the sense that we have been able to develop—without being experts—graphics and dashboards that are highly interactive, in a very short time," Luis Felipe Soffia, the Head of Market Intelligence, told us.

To learn more about J. Zimmer Maschinenbau and Arauco, watch our German-language interview with Thomas or check out the Spanish-language interview with Luis. Then, explore what other manufacturers are building with Tableau.

Photo credit: "Manufacturing equipment 104" (cropped) by Mixabest via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

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