Power BI vs Manufacturing Analytics

Manufacturers are looking at their data closer than ever before. The accuracy, volume, and context have never been more valuable. Data has the ability to transform the businesses of almost every discrete manufacturer. Having the right data on production processes is the most effective way to reduce downtime and increase throughput. So needless to say, manufacturers are looking for solutions that help them acquire and contextualize this data.

This means manufacturers are looking for systems that can affordably collect and analyze all of their machine data. Today, we are going to compare Microsoft Power BI vs. Manufacturing Analytics.

microsoft power bi vs sensrtrx manufacturing analytics

Are Business Intelligence and Manufacturing Analytics the Same Thing?

Many companies look at manufacturing analytics applications and believe that Power BI, or other business intelligence software such as Tableau, are nearly identical. The truth is that they are slightly different. It is true that there is some overlap between the visualization capabilities of a traditional manufacturing analytics application and classical business intelligence, but they both are suited for totally different goals.

A true manufacturing analytics application must do the following:

  1. Acquire Data
  2. Clean & Contextualize Data
  3. Calculate Manufacturing KPIs
  4. Produce Role-Based Visualizations & Dashboards

What is SensrTrx Manufacturing Analytics?

SensrTrx is an award-winning manufacturing analytics solution. It strips out all the complexity associated with implementation times and configuration and simply integrates with all of your existing machines. It then takes data right out of these machines (or accepts manual entries) and automatically contextualizes the information into pre-configured dashboards built for thousands of different job roles and functions.

Every organization can easily customize what data each job role sees and how the data is presented. No configurations or traditional implementations. The primary goal of most manufacturers that implement these solutions is to centralize the data and provide meaningful access to all members of the organization.

Most of the time, the goal of these types of manufacturing analytics applications is to have them up and running and generating ROI in less than a month. SensrTrx was designed specifically for these precise projects.

SensrTrx Makes the Data Meaningful Right Out of the Box

SensrTrx cleans the data as it is collected from the equipment, all data coming from the machines may not be relevant and should not be processed. Some data should be filtered inside the plant and some once the data is sent to the cloud. This is done to reduce the noise and make sure the data used by the Manufacturing Analytics system is ready for display and calculations without further processing.

As the data is ingested, the context of what department, facility, shift, product, team, operator and production line, etc. this data is associated with, is added. Additionally, the reasons why a part was scraped or why a line was down can be added to help with analysis. Without context the data is meaningless.

What is Microsoft Power BI?

Power BI is Microsoft’s core business intelligence product inside the MS Suite. In our opinion, it is one of the best BI solutions on the market; one that is designed to work with thousands of different industries.

Power BI can be deployed in the cloud or on-premises and customers typically pay-per-user or per server license fees as well as designer licenses. If you already use the MS Suite, it can be added relatively easily.

Power BI is Powerful but Needs Your Direction

Many companies have built manufacturing dashboards using Power BI. There are hundreds of different types of plots and charts a user can build allowing them to try many different options to display data exactly the way they want it. Custom building data displays allow users to dig through the data and build their own visualizations; meaning you could build just about any of the dashboards that come pre-configured in SensrTrx. This can be very useful for more technically advanced users.

To actually get Power BI to provide your organization with anything meaningful, you need a technical user that knows how to connect to your data, set up the server, and configure the initial data sets. When using the cloud system with on-premises databases, data must be synchronized with the server. This means you can have a lag of up to an hour for the data to refresh.

The Trouble with Power BI

As you can see by reading above, Power BI vs manufacturing analytics has a few key differences:

  1. Power BI does not acquire data, it relies on existing databases. Companies must deploy data acquisition solutions in each factory and synchronize that data with Power BI.
  2. Power BI does not automatically clean or contextualize the data.
  3. All dashboards and data visualizations must be built by an advanced technical user or consultant.

These missing pieces are expensive. They also require a more technical and industry-specific understanding to configure. If these resources are available in-house, it is doable without outside consultants. However, it’s fair to mention that many of these projects spin out of control quickly when the visualizations and dashboards are not displaying meaningful information after the initial setup.

Should I Use Manufacturing Analytics or Power BI?

How do decide between Power BI vs manufacturing analytics? If you are looking for a general-purpose business intelligence tool, then Power BI could be the right tool for that job. If you want to understand your manufacturing data to improve uptime, quality, and performance of your factory then SensrTrx is going to be much more affordable and easy to implement. It will provide you with everything you need for data to context right out of the box. Power BI will take additional implementations, products, and possibly consultants to perform many of the same common functions manufacturers are seeking.

See How SensrTrx Compares to Other Solutions

SensrTrx vs. General

While the benefits you'll get from SensrTrx are specific to you and will largely be based on your needs and goals, there are 5 key components that differentiate us from the competition.

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SensrTrx vs. ERP

Manufacturing analytics provides value that you can’t find in an ERP; real-time analytics which allows for immediate action and contextual data goes far beyond your ERP capabilities.

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SensrTrx vs. IoT

Compared to an IoT platform, SensrTrx is purpose-built to connect machines and operators to the cloud in order to track production KPIs impacted by availability, performance, and quality.

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SensrTrx vs. SCADA

SCADA doesn't explain what is going right or wrong, only concentrating on control and what’s not supposed to happen. Manufacturing analytics provides visibility.

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SensrTrx vs. Power BI

Power BI will take additional implementations, products, and possibly consultants to perform many of the same functions manufacturing analytics provides.

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SensrTrx vs. MES

An MES system is designed to control the process, which is fine in process manufacturing, but for most companies, MES does not work as well.

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SensrTrx vs. Business Intelligence

Business intelligence is analytics that provides insights into processes, but many BI solutions are general, not specifically built for manufacturing. It lacks the ability to track many essential KPIs.

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SensrTrx vs. ThingWorx IIoT

ThingWorx is an IIoT platform used to build solutions on top of. With ThingWorx, manufacturers will have to build the solution themselves and is not a purpose-built, out of the box solution.

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SensrTrx vs. Tableau

Tableau is a general-purpose business platform that does not help you understand your manufacturing data to improve uptime, quality, and performance of your factory.

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SensrTrx vs. MOM

SensrTrx vs. MOM

Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) is more of an operating philosophy than software. It's the spreadsheets, paper, and all of the other software that helps manufacturers operate.

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SensrTrx vs. Monday

SensrTrx vs. Monday

Monday is a project management software, providing organization for companies. But, it isn't designed for the plant floor and running production. There's nothing built into the system to account for key manufacturing metrics.

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SensrTrx vs. MachineMetrics

SensrTrx and MachineMetrics are two software solutions purpose-built for the manufacturing industry. In this blog, we'll help you decide which will be a better option for your plant.

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SensrTrx vs. RedZone Software

The choice of manufacturing productivity software can be difficult given the sheer number of vendors. In this blog, we’ll look at the differences between SensrTrx vs. Redzone Software.

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SensrTrx vs. Worximity

This blog will compare SensrTrx vs. Worximity, two common manufacturing software options. By the end, you should have a  better understanding of which is going to better suit your needs.

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Read More of Our Blog

SensrTrx Manufacturing Productivity Software

SensrTrx is manufacturing productivity and analytics software that provides real-time visibility on the factory floor to help reduce downtime, improve on-time delivery, and increase profitability of manufacturing companies

About the Author

Bryan Sapot is a lifelong entrepreneur, speaker, CEO, and founder of SensrTrx. With more than 24 years of experience in manufacturing technology, Bryan is known for his deep manufacturing industry insights.

Throughout his career, he’s built products and started companies that leveraged technology to solve problems to make the lives of manufacturers easier. Follow Bryan on LinkedIn here.

Power BI vs Manufacturing Analytics
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Power BI vs Manufacturing Analytics
A comprehensive comparison between Microsoft Power BI and Manufacturing Analytics. See how business intelligence stacks up against SensrTrx.
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