Editor's note: Whether it's in the factory, warehouse or office, manufacturers need to work efficiently to bring their customers what's needed. This week we're focusing on how companies in the manufacturing industry are using Google solutions to work better and stay connected. Today's guest blogger is Steve Koets, Global Director of Business Development for Pridgeon and Clay. Watch our manufacturing webinar and see what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

At first glance, our business seems pretty simple: we make metal parts for the automotive sector. However, the processes involved in making those parts is anything but simple. The coordination and logistics to supply parts to a supply chain that make the parts to almost every car manufacturer in the U.S., Mexico, and Europe requires more than 120 metal stamping presses around the world. In addition, we buy, ship, and process raw materials, coordinate delivery of our products, and manage our global sales teams. With all of these moving parts, we needed a business analytic solution that could help us understand all of these processes as it relates to our need to make good business decisions.

Google Earth Pro gives us the visibility into our product, production and sales processes that we need to make sure we’re operating efficiently. With Google Earth Pro, we use layered views to show us where our component parts are selling, what cars our parts end up in (by tracking the part through production and into the actual cars on the roads), and the distribution of those parts in the various markets. Earth Pro helps us distill and understand our millions of data points, making it easier for our teams to analyze and make smart choices on a variety of topics.
Google Earth Pro allows us to manage our financial forecasting by area and helps in our business plan and goal setting. When the automotive market was struggling in 2008, or when the Tsunami hit in 2011, several of our suppliers and customers started to halt production at their factories. Since we had an accurate understanding of our integration of the supply chain and sales via Earth Pro, we were able to adjust our production patterns and weather the loss and change in our business. Earth Pro gave us insight as to the scale of events unfolding in the world and helped us make better decisions.

When selecting new potential plant locations, Google Earth Pro helps us to find the best place to optimize and make the right decisions. For example, we are currently looking to place an additional plant in the future in Mexico. By combining layers with the location of metal suppliers, customers, potential customers, and other market data (such as population density for possible employees), we figured out where we should place our factory to make our procurements, shipping, and business costs more effective. By scaling this practice to all our plants around the world, Google Earth Pro has helped us to be competitive and in the right place at the right time.

Google Earth Pro allows us to touch our data every day, tweak it to fit our needs, and visualize relevant information to help us make informed decisions. And it’s simple – anyone with a browser can use it. On a quick virtual meeting with our business units in Europe, we installed Earth Pro and they were placing their first pushpins in minutes to show the locations of their local facilities and relationships. Now, we have hundreds of thousands of pushpins used globally on all types of data, and hundreds of layers for every aspect of our business. Google Earth helps turn our heavy business lighter – with all of our data at our fingertips.