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Unleashing the Power of Business Intelligence to Speed Product Innovation

Employees Looking at Analytics Dashboard on Computer Screen

Manufacturers are under constant pressure to innovate faster amid today’s increasingly competitive landscape. Yet macroeconomic forces beyond their control and continued supply chain instability make it difficult to maintain operational efficiency and achieve product realization goals.

Companies must continually monitor and refine their processes to account for changing market conditions that impact product development. Consequently, they rely more on business intelligence (BI) tools to enhance agility, streamline operations, and improve overall performance.

In this post, we explore the evolution of BI techniques and examine their diverse applications in the manufacturing industry. Additionally, we spotlight PTC’s new Arena Analytics business intelligence solution which provides manufacturers convenient access to valuable insights that enhance decision-making and help speed innovation.


BI is the process of turning data into actionable insights. It encompasses data collection, analysis, visualization (e.g., charts), and reporting to inform business decisions. Traditionally, extracting meaningful information was a time-consuming and costly process that required IT resources and data experts. With the emergence of technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), sensors, and cloud computing, data analysis is easier and more accessible than ever. Manufacturers can now quickly glean valuable insights from the production floor, enterprise systems, end users, and other sources.


BI is used in various aspects of manufacturing. It is instrumental in helping companies optimize their processes and drive operational efficiency and quality. Applications include:

  • Product conceptualization – Early on, organizations gather insights into customer preferences, market trends, and the competitive landscape. In turn, they can assess risks and identify growth opportunities.
  • Supply chain management – Data-driven insights from suppliers, contract manufacturers, and other partners help reduce lead times, mitigate risks, and improve relationships.
  • Production monitoring – By collecting real-time data on equipment run times, downtimes, etc., manufacturing teams can quickly identify bottlenecks and improve efficiencies.
  • Quality control – Through sensors, companies monitor production line data to detect product defects early on and reduce scrap and rework.
  • Inventory management – By analyzing historical data and buying trends, companies can predict future demand and accurately forecast inventory levels.


Today, many manufacturers leverage analytics through cloud-based product lifecycle management (PLM) or quality management system (QMS) solutions to gain a better understanding of activities that impact new product development and introduction (NPDI). PLM and QMS software can be powerful business intelligence tools, as they encompass not only the traditional product bill of materials (BOM), but also information around processes such as engineering changes, requirements management, corrective and preventive actions (CAPAs), employee training, environmental compliance, and supplier management. This structured and expansive dataset enables organizations to see the big picture throughout the entire product lifecycle, better identify issues, and drive continuous improvement.

Some of the areas that are commonly monitored and assessed through PLM and QMS include:

  • Product development processes (e.g., engineering change order cycle time)
  • Supply chain activities
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Customer service/complaint resolution
  • Training record compliance
  • Quality/CAPA resolution
  • Product/materials nonconformance
  • Product costing

Arena Operations and Supply Chain Dashboard Screenshot


Proven cloud-native solutions like Arena PLM and QMS aggregate product and quality information in a single source of truth, making it easy to extract and configure key performance indicators pertaining to product development and quality management.

Arena’s latest software release expands business intelligence capabilities to help companies make better informed decisions and act quickly. “Our new Analytics platform takes several PLM and QMS data points and automatically converts them into meaningful insights that customers can use to optimize their processes and streamline product development,” stated Dani Cordsen, Arena Product Manager.

Turnkey, Easy-to-Use Dashboards

Out-of-the-box dashboards focus on key operational areas including change management, supply chain management, projects, quality events, training, and executive summaries—providing users a clear, consistent snapshot of what is happening within a specified timeframe. This is especially helpful for organizations that have never used BI.

Quick Drilldowns for Immediate Action

Each dashboard tells a complete story, enabling cross-functional teams to see the current state of a particular process, pinpoint underlying issues, and drill down to specific areas for prompt corrective action.

Customizable Dashboards to Monitor What Matters Most

With Arena’s intuitive drag-and-drop interface, users can apply custom attributes and easily create dashboards that meet their unique business requirements.

“Arena Analytics demonstrates PTC’s continued commitment to helping Arena customers excel and reach their business targets. We’re excited to deliver more value to customers with this latest PLM and QMS software enhancement.”

-Dani Cordsen, Arena Product Manager, PTC


The latest Arena software release provided many more features and enhancements, including a new Homepage, Watermarking, Automations, an optimized 3D Viewer, and API expansion.

For a full overview of our latest release, customers can visit our Tour Doc in Help, watch the recording of the Sneak Peek, or consult with your Arena Coach.

Not an Arena customer? Visit our Analytics page or schedule a demo to learn more.