Power BI Reports for Manufacturing in Business Central

Incorporating Power BI reports into your Business Central Role Centre can make it more dynamic and substantially more useful. There are many Power BI examples out there displaying sales-related data, often focusing on metrics like ‘revenue’ or ‘profit’. These are obviously essential measures but we thought we’d go down a different route. At Probitas, we have considerable experience in the manufacturing sector, so we thought showing how Power BI can compliment manufacturing data might be of interest.

A common issue in manufacturing

Consider the scenario where a company is manufacturing bespoke units, and the customers order is captured in either a sales order or a job. As this is a bespoke order, the manufacturing team will pick up the production order to produce the item(s) for the customer. However, to ensure that the items are delivered on time, the sales force are continually asking manufacturing for updates, specifically needing reassurance that their production order is on-time and not slipping. 

The Role Center is extremely configurable. Here we can see what it can look like when integrating with Power BI.
Here’s an example of a Role Center with a custom Power BI report in the bottom left-hand side.

The benefits of using Power BI reports and Business Central together for manufacturing

Using Power BI reports, we can graphically show released production orders and whether or not they are progressing at the expected rate. Additionally, making Power BI reports like this available to the sales team should significantly reduce their interruptions to the shop floor. As long as the shop floor keep the data up to date, then the Power BI report will reflect reality.

What metric each bar of the Power BI report represents

Below is a bar chart, created from Business Central data in a Power BI report. The different colours of the bars reflect different metrics related to time in the manufacturing operations. Notice the key in the top left-hand side corner indicating what the colours of each bar represent. To further elaborate, the green bar reflects the progress of the operation. The blue bar reflects the total amount of time expected to complete the operation. Lastly, the red bar reflects the target to stay on schedule. So say a particular operation should take four hours, the red bar will align with the blue bar after that time is up. This is regardless of whether the operation has finished, or whether it’s even on schedule.

The ideal scenario is a production order that sticks to schedule. This would be displayed in the Power BI report by having all three operation bars aligned.

Four example manufacturing operations

Below are the four separate manufacturing operations, each represented by one to three charts:

Power BI reports in Business illustrate live-time data which members of the team can use, instead of asking those in manufacturing how the work's progressing.

Operation No. 10

In this bar chart, the ‘Theoretical Hours’ metric indicates the total number of hours expected to finish the production order. For Operation 10, the production should take 28 hours. However, so far, only five hours have been booked. This is indicated by the green, ‘Actual Hours’ bar. What we need to establish now is whether the production order is on time. We can address this with the red, ‘Expected Hours Booked’ bar. This is the expected time that should have been booked to Operation 10 based on the current date and time. In this example, it is showing 28 hours. This indicates that Operation 10 should have finished by now and is roughly 23 hours behind schedule.

Operation No. 20

Let’s now take a look at Operation No. 20. This one is ahead of schedule. We can see this because the green bar is longer than the red. However, as neither the green or red bar align with the blue bar, we can see there’s still time left in the operation for things to change.

Operation No. 30 and 40

We can see the four different operations have different expected lengths of time associated with them. The blue bar shows this information. Operation No. 30 and 40 merely represent differences in expected time to finish. Most notably here, the lack of red and green bars shows us that they haven’t started and aren’t expected to have started yet.

Closing remarks

Hopefully this post gives you a flavour of the reporting possibilities when using Power BI reports in conjunction with Business Central. If there’s a topic you’d like to see us cover, make sure to get in contact with us. We are happy to help. Lastly, why not follow us on LinkedIn and keep up to date with our posts.

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