Archives August 2023

3 Revolutionary Ways to Gain Business Insights

Business Intelligence

Your Enterprise Needs the Benefits of Business Intelligence

Insight is the raw fuel that leaders need to handle today’s business world. Each day’s headlines seem to reveal more disruptions and crises. Despite all the talk of a new normal, each new normal gets quickly swept away by the waves of the future.

Material shortages and labor woes persist. Solid shipping routes face snarls and delays. Fraying trade ties force enterprises to reconsider supply and sourcing.

You need business insight into the future, not data from the past. Tomorrow’s business landscape will be a departure from the past, not a continuation of historical data.

That said, continued technological advances allow insightful leaders to use data to develop business intelligence in ways never envisioned before:

  1. Through the Internet of Things (IoT), which can yield data from virtually every facet of your operations.
  2. Through artificial intelligence, which helps organize that data in ways that make sense, and
  3. Through environmental scanning, which combines all that data and analytics with your human experience to guide your enterprise to profitable success.

1. Business Insights with The Internet of Things and Embedded Business Intelligence

The Internet of Things (IoT) uses sensors to connect devices and objects to embed computer power into everything – vehicles, production machinery, buildings, appliances, you name it.

These interconnected devices yield business insights by harnessing volumes of data. RFID tags allow supply chain pros to track inventory across the globe. Sensors track shipments to detect delays, along with monitoring inventory conditions and damage. Finding out that your cold chain is a bit too hot – and fixing the situation – can be salvation. You don’t want to deliver your customer’s cold goods hot.

Everybody in your product’s value chain – suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and more – can access real-time data to make quicker decisions, resolve issues proactively and coordinate better during the next inevitable supply chain disruption.

2. Business Insights with Artificial Intelligence

Today’s artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions, from warehouses to digital supply networks, help organize all that data in ways that make more sense.

Warehouses that integrate artificial intelligence, machine learning and the IoT have increased picking efficiency by 20% to 40%. Digital twins run simulations and analyze the data in real time to recommend optimized workflows for picking, putaway, cycle counting, crossdock, loading and unloading – every warehouse operation.

Digital supply networks have yielded double-digit improvements in premium freight costs, overall transportation costs, inventory reduction and reduced manual planning, scheduling and execution management overhead.

A real-time single version of truth connects your entire value chain. Removing boundaries between enterprises links all raw materials/components/parts from their entrance into your end-to-end supply chain until their exit as finished goods. AI autonomously resolves many issues, whether the trouble spot is 23 suppliers upstream or 13 suppliers downstream. Only significant problems get escalated for human intervention.

3. Business Insights with Environmental Scanning

Although they are improving daily, even generative artificial intelligence cannot make every business decision. But combining the insights gained through IoT, AI and ML can supercharge your environmental scanning.

Environmental scanning involves knowing your market, knowing what’s happening, researching and learning even beyond your comfort zone, and asking yourself, “What is going to result in my business changing?”

A great example is the Amazon-Kohl’s partnership, where Kohl’s accepts Amazon returns. Amazon’s environmental scanning revealed that easier returns could lure customers who normally would not buy online. Kohl’s needs foot traffic to drive sales. As described with more detail in my latest book Insightful Leadership, both win.

The partnership started pre-pandemic and continues to be applauded by retail analysts years later. Amazon, for its part, is striking similar deals with other retailers.

Business Intelligence for the Future

Want to learn more about combining the IoT with artificial intelligence with environmental scanning for solid business intelligence? I would love to discuss how your enterprise can benefit.

Safe Workplaces Rarely Make Headlines


Do you care about safety? Do you care about employee morale?

If you said no to the first question, you shouldn’t be leading a business. If you said yes to the second, well, at least there is hope.

Industrial safety and ergonomic programs have been around for decades, but they often require high initial investments that take a long time to pay off – although they do pay off in reduced injuries, fatalities, lower employee turnover and savings in workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

Artificial Intelligence solutions can drastically reduce that initial investment and the time it takes for interventions to secure a safer environment for your workforce. Injuries could decline by more than 50% – and as a result, employee morale will not take a hit – and your workers’ compensation insurance premiums could decline by up to 40%.

According to the National Safety Council, work injuries cost $167 billion in 2021 – $1.34 million per death and $42,000 per medically consulted injury. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 5,190 fatal work injuries in 2021 – meaning an employee died every 101 minutes.

That’s unacceptable.

Face it, many industrial “accidents” are preventable. Beyond the deadly consequences for your workforce, severe incidents can damage your brand for decades. And even minor injuries have a negative impact on morale.

Even accidents that don’t make national headlines destroy morale and productivity. No matter their economic situation, how many employees want to show up at a worksite where their friends and colleagues were maimed or killed?

I’ve heard numerous stories about workplace accidents that have ruined companies for months or years. You think it can’t happen, but when it does, your workers are thinking: “Doris always had a smile on her face and was full of life, and now she’s gone. I not only don’t want to do her job; I don’t want to go down that aisle or even get near a forklift.”

Work shouldn’t hurt, and it certainly shouldn’t kill.

In the case of workplace safety, avoidance is your goal – safe workplaces rarely make headlines. Safety programs have progressed far beyond EHS software, telematics, wearables and video analytics. I would love to discuss how new Artificial Intelligence solutions can help keep your employees safe and productive.