The role of the manufacturing company CIO has drastically changed

By Kelly Meyer | Jul 01, 2014

The Chief Information Officer’s responsibilities go well beyond managing IT and the online experience. These duties include, but are not limited to:
  • New technology evaluation to drive productivity advances
  • Internal efficiencies strategizing for labor and production
  • External strategy planning for distribution and warehousing
  • Emerging business trend forecasting
Historically, the CIO’s priorities lay in “keeping the lights on,” and for a 24‐hour manufacturing company with worldwide offices, that job gets increasingly more difficult for a single person to accomplish. With the explosion of big data, now just meeting daily priorities has become a near‐impossible challenge. Managing, securing, and data mining has become a CIO’s unofficial second day job. To address this trend, many manufacturing companies have started calling the CIO the “CDO” (Chief Data Officer), but the title shift indicates that his responsibilities have simply been augmented, not changed.
Manufacturing company CIOs must focus more on implementing internal efficiency initiatives to meet production needs and increase the bottom line, but external efficiency is also rising in importance. Retail partners’ order fulfillment expectations have become much more demanding as they’ve reacted to the results of their own mine of consumer data. Consistent, lightning‐fast delivery speed is now a critical component to achieving customer satisfaction in the omnichannel environment and everyone is feeling the stress.
Manufacturing CIOs must start performing to a higher standard. If retailers’ orders aren’t on the shelves on time, lagging manufacturers will be forever stamped with the label “noncompliant” and will be viewed as the broken link in the supply chain. Because of these newly heightened stakes, the process of building retailer trust is harder than ever… which, of course, makes effective data analysis even more important, since it is the essential building block to gaining the lasting trust that comes from solid results.
Big Data Can Become a Big Headache
As a result of these conflicting priority sways, today’s manufacturing company CIOs find themselves keeping track of more data on a daily basis than the human mind can comprehend. All day, every day, data flows in regarding current retail partners, nurtures, and new leads. All day, every day, those retail relationships are also tested. The biggest question that new data brings is, “How can companies use all of this data effectively while still increasing efficiency?”
Effective Data Management Increases Your Odds of Success
In my line of work (selling business technology), I have noticed that over the past few years, my client discussions with manufacturers have evolved to include the entire executive team and IT. Successfully running a business now requires everyone to process too much data in too little time, but there is relief ahead. The term Business Intelligence has become a buzz word for companies who are committed to growing their revenues by delivering outstanding compliance standards—and the term itself has become synonymous with efficiency and successful operations.
When manufacturing companies have quick access to real‐time, relevant data using analytical tools which turn that raw data into actionable information, an overworked CIO can finally rebalance his priorities. With increased analytical abilities, the CIO can and will benefit the entire company by distributing the flow of information in an efficient way that is tailored to each specific department, process, product, and geographical location.
Real business intelligence isn’t just about the software, it’s about understanding the kind of information each area of a manufacturing company needs. Real business intelligence is about continuing to build and deliver a great product every single day.