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In a perfect world, or at least in a perfect plant, there would be not a hint of scrap. Equipment would hum smoothly and schedules would be met like clockwork. But production, in many ways, is the process of uncovering flaws and constantly refining the system.
One tool quickly emerging that could help manufacturers is the increased prevalence of business intelligence software, or BI.
Business intelligence software has been around since the mid-1990s, but was largely limited to the most lucrative and powerful of companies. Giant retail chains, for instance, used BI to tailor pricing and product offerings down to the store level. Now the technology is being aimed at a wider audience, including those on the ship floor, as a tool to help businesses mine nuggets of insight from mountains of data.
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