The supply chain is going through the most transformational phase of its existence and this is set to continue with the adoption of Advanced Analytics
When I started my career working in supply chain sector in retail some 20 years ago, it was a simple process flow that had 4 stages. Firstly, you ordered the products that were in demand from the supplier/manufacturer; who in turn delivered the stock into the central distribution hub; it was subsequently picked and transported to each store destination and finally replenished on the shelf for the customer to purchase.
Sounds simple, right? Well it was not and this was in the late nineties before the world became digitalized with multiple channels allowing the customer the opportunity to purchase anytime, anywhere, on any device and have your goods delivered to a location of your choice in some instances within the next hour.
Therefore, today’s companies that are ultimately succeeding in providing an excellent service of on-time deliveries and world class product availability will be executing 3 key strategic initiatives:
- Advanced Analytics Techniques
- Supply Chain Collaboration
- Data Literacy Program
How are companies today using Advanced Analytics in the Supply Chain
The critical component when exploiting data within the supply chain is not to put any constraints on how you analyse the data that is available and how you extend the data to where decisions need to be made.
Today’s Supply Chain Data Analysts are combining many data sources internally and externally to surface insights to identify patterns emerging in demands on products and services. In the past this has included weather forecasts to react to changes in consumers behavior; however Advanced Analytics solutions, such as Qlik, are now seeing supply chain analysts understanding where demand is coming from using Geo-Analytics capabilities to determine whether a new distribution; collection hub or physical store needs to be invested in to support demand. The key point here is not to restrict the data you analyse to get an edge over the competition.
Analytics at the Point of Decision – Supply Chain Collaboration
Another recent trend has emerged in the analytics space of supply chain and that is of collaboration. Travis Perkins, the leading Building Merchants use analytics capabilities to enable suppliers to access and analyse supply chain data relevant to them to allow insights to quickly improve on-time deliveries. All surfaced on tablet/mobile devices to enable analytics to be delivered at the point of decision. Using these techniques reduce the data latency of impact customer satisfaction.
Data Literacy will be critical for future supply chain strategies
The examples I have written about in this supply chain blog regarding the data, advanced analytical and mobile capabilities available to surface information where and when companies need it, this is exactly why the organisation I work for, has recently launched a data literacy program to lead the change required today. Data literacy is as important today as reading and writing, but we’re facing a major skills gap. That’s why we’re on a mission to help people and organisations understand, analyse and use data with confidence.