Supply Chain Analytics: What Makes it Stand Out?

Linda James, Logistics Tech Outlook | Saturday, December 26, 2020

The supply chain is an exceptional place to use analytical methods to seek a competitive advantage, both because of its complexity and the prominent role of the supply chain in the business's cost structure and profitability.

FREMONT, CA: It is becoming increasingly difficult to rely on conventional supply chain execution processes, combined with global operating systems, price pressures, and ever-increasing consumer demands. There are also recent economic impacts, such as rising fuel prices, a global recession, supplier bases that have diminished or shifted off-shore, and intensified competition from low-cost outsourcers. All of these problems could potentially contribute to waste in your supply chain. This instance is where data mining comes in.

Data analytics is a science that analyses raw data to help draw conclusions about knowledge. It is used in many industries to allow companies and organizations to make better business decisions, and in science to validate (or disprove) existing models or theories. Over the past few years, businesses have learned more about using data analytics in the supply chain and logistics function.

Some industry analysts argue that the day has come for real-time supply chain practices—and is on the edge of becoming ordinary due to a plethora of cloud data management solutions and increased corporate acceptance of innovative supply chain software systems are coming onto the market. However, there is also an awareness that the required basis for moving effectively at real-time speed—supply chain analytics—is still very much in the early stages of growth in many organizations and will take time to build up.

There is certainly an increased interest in the subject, particularly in the areas of enhanced forecasting and S&OP (Sales and Operations Planning), but that enhancements and tool implementation take time' and that the data essential be both reliable and usable to perform data analytics with its complex algorithms. Many organizations with a supply chain spend a reasonable amount of time, ensuring that it adds value. Still, these new advanced analytical techniques and disciplines make it possible to dig deeper into the supply chain data in the search for savings and productivity.

The supply chain is an exceptional place to use analytical methods to seek a competitive advantage, both because of its complexity and the prominent role of the supply chain in the business's cost structure and profitability. Supply chains can appear easy compared to other parts of a company, even though they are not. If we keep an open mind, we can always do better by looking deeper into data and thinking of a predictive rather than a reactive view of data.

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