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Way back in the day, an individual would make a product and then sell it themselves. As industry flourished, the supply chain segmented, and retailers assumed the responsibility of passing on goods to consumers. It seems what's old is a new again, as modern communication channels allow manufacturers to sell their own products. 

Forrester research found e-commerce increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 9.9 percent between 2012 and 2017, according to Practical Ecommerce. Much of this growth is driven by brands selling their own products. Manufacturers participating in the research said they estimated direct-to-consumer online sales accounted for about a third of total revenue.

As companies move to innovative sales channels, they can benefit from new opportunities. The business intelligence systems necessary to maintain digital inventories and consumer orders can help achieve modern advantages through predictive modeling of consumer demands.

"Companies that implement smart manufacturing built on predictive modeling tools increase production capacity by 20 percent."

Data solutions for ecommerce
One of the major advantages of selling products through brand websites is that it allows manufacturers to speak directly to consumers. This is why companies need to implement data collection solutions to monitor inventory levels, observe production processes and compare order details to final merchandise. This information is paramount to communicating honestly and openly with online customers.

Data collected by manufacturing performance management software shows online shoppers what's currently available. Predictive Analytics World said integrating this information with CRM data will show companies what they need to build next. Eliminating steps in the supply chain should give managers better visibility of cause and effect to see what inventory is in high demand what the future should hold for the needs of the brand's particular consumers.

Consumer data for efficient manufacturing
The General Electric National Institute of Standards said predictive analytics can promote lean manufacturing while improving consumer satisfaction, according to Forbes. Companies that implement smart manufacturing built on predictive modeling tools have been found to increase production capacity by 20 percent while decreasing material consumption.

This is achieved through a complete understanding of what production equipment is operating at peak efficiency, where labor is best put to use and what consumers will want in the coming sales seasons. Relevant data is critical to proper predictive practices, and CRM information collected through online sales channels offers real-time insight into inventory movement and customer communications. An integrated system shows what's selling, what's requested and when opportunities present themselves. Comparing these factors in historical records should demonstrate patterns, decision-makers can use for future production plans.