The Difference Between Reporting and Analytics in Modern Manufacturing

“Modern manufacturing operations are intricate processes made up of intuitive and interconnected systems, with data analytics at the core. The success and longevity of operations depend largely on how manufacturers can collect, process, and interpret data to make smart decisions”

– Manny Bonilla, VP Product Strategy, Shoplogix. 

In many manufacturing operations, the words “reporting” and “analytics” are used interchangeably. This is a big misconception keeping many from utilizing the two concepts correctly and to their full potential. Although both reporting and analytics use the same data and are equally important, they serve different purposes. Understanding each concept’s intent is critical to equip your operations to make smarter decisions that increase its value and unlock more in-depth intelligence to take your operations to the next level.

Let’s start with reporting.

Production reports (especially manually collected data), primarily tells you the ‘here and now’ and what has happened last shift/day. Reporting extracts data from various sources allows comparisons and makes the information more accessible to understand by summarizing and visualizing the data in tables, charts, and dashboards. Advanced reporting tools allow ad-hoc queries, drill down viewing, and comparisons across various data dimensions.


Analytics, on the other hand…


Reports tell you what is happening and help you transform the raw data your business is collecting into a readable format. Analytics focuses on exploring and interpreting data or reports to glean valuable insight into why specific trends happened the way they did.

The goal of analytics, then, is to take the information and interpret it.

In recent years, analytical reporting in the manufacturing industry has evolved into one of the most valuable intelligence sources because it provides clear trends that management and executives can leverage to make smart recommendations and decisions.

With advances in manufacturing analytics software, operations can automatically analyze large volumes of structured and unstructured data.

Manufacturing Analytics Software

Manufacturing Analytics Software allows manufacturers to find the right problem offenders by slicing data in as many ways as you can imagine.

You may have teams dedicated to analyzing and optimizing OEE and throughput. However, with basic reporting, you’re only catching easily visible issues to your production teams or evident in your quality/CI data.

This gives you a false sense that you’re focusing your efforts on the correct problems, while undetected issues may be recurring every day in front of you, quietly eating away at your margins.

With manufacturing analytics software, you can measure a specific downtime reason by machine, shift, area, machine type, work order, and countless other measures. You can trend virtually on any production KPI or work order, at any granularity, so that you can monitor improvement initiatives and their true effectiveness, and identify new areas for improvement to ensure your work orders are being carried out efficiently.

Other benefits of manufacturing analytics software include:

Intuitive Dashboards for Root Cause Analysis

Executive dashboard views in manufacturing analytics software allow executives only to see what they care about and at the right context level – quarterly trends, for example, can be seen at a plant-wide level, across multiple geographic locations. They’ll see all their plants, no matter where they’re located in the world).

CI and quality teams can tap into trends around your downtime reasons. Machine states here are a bit less important than the reason behind the machine state. In other words, you want to create an interactive analysis where you can start at a downtime machine state, then drill down into downtime reasons by duration, and then plot your top 5 reasons for a trend graph.

Competitive Advantage

In the MIT Sloan Management Review Research Report Analytics as a Source of Business Innovation, 68% of respondents agreed that analytics has helped their company innovate.

Continuous improvement initiatives are increasingly leveraging big data analytics as a critical tool for root cause analysis and advancing manufacturing operations. Big data analytics software can help companies innovate how they operate, how they work with customers and suppliers, and how they identify new opportunities for revenue generation.

Lower Production Costs

In the NewVantage Partners Big Data Executive Survey 2017, 49% of companies surveyed responded that they had successfully decreased expenses due to a big data analytics initiative.

An enterprise-wide manufacturing analytics platform can reduce costs and expenses in various areas – a big one being preventative maintenance. Others include reducing inventory levels and reducing the amount of manual labor.

For manufacturers, future-proofing operations and remaining competitive in this ever-changing market mean having reporting and analytics working hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other, and a dedicated manufacturing analytics software encompasses both these concepts to create blueprints for the course of action that can be taken.

It starts with the raw data and organizes it in a digestible manner through automated, detailed reports within the system. The reports make it easier for analytics to uncover any problems within the organization and provide the solutions.



Shoplogix is at the forefront of developments in IIoT Smart Factory and big data analytics software. To help our customers easily create, edit, and share reports, Shoplogix will soon release its own Manufacturing Analytics Software as part of our leading IIoT Smart Factory platform.

As a built-in reporting and analytics feature, manufacturers will receive all the capabilities that third-party analytics tools offer, including interactive dashboards and email scheduling, except everything is already configured and connected to your machines. All your machine and OEE data are always available in one place and automatically refreshed on out-of-the-box analytics dashboards. No additional formatting or data manipulation is required!

Stay tuned for the official launch in the coming weeks. In the meantime, download our solution brief to learn more.

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