More businesses are turning to supply chain analytics than ever before to optimize processes, meet consumer demand, and maximize profitability. Consumer expectations are at an all-time high, with today’s savvy consumers demanding a seamless and efficient experience. Even B2B customers prefer a frictionless sales experience. Coupled with the unprecedented supply chain disruption created by the COVID-19 pandemic, these demands mean that today’s organizations must be adaptable, responsive, and forward-thinking while also building resilience.
It’s a lofty goal, and it’s a journey rather than a destination. Supply chain analytics can help businesses navigate every stage of the supply chain and prepare for the unexpected, but only if your company’s digital foundation is well-integrated and well-equipped to collect and analyze high-quality data from a multitude of sources. Modern supply chains are complex, demanding a supply chain analytics solution that’s up to the task.
To learn more about the value of supply chain analytics and what businesses should know when implementing and leveraging supply chain analytics solutions, we reached out to a panel of supply chain professionals and business leaders and asked them to answer this question:
“What’s the single most important thing businesses should know about supply chain analytics?”
Meet Our Panel of Supply Chain Professionals & Business Leaders:
Read on to learn what our panel had to say about the most important things you should know about supply chain analytics.
Deepasha Kakkar is the Founder and CEO at Crackitt.
“It is becoming increasingly difficult to use traditional supply chain management tactics due to the complexity of multiple software systems, price constraints, and increasing consumer expectations. The global financial crisis, rising gasoline costs, the pandemic, broken or shifted supply networks, and increased competition from low-cost outsourcers have impacted the economy recently. Any of these issues could squander your supply chain. It’s here that data analytics can come to the rescue for you.
To better organize and simplify supply networks, supply chain analytics can help firms better use their resources. Companies who use it can expect to reap long-term benefits from its implementation.Supply chain analytics may help firms better understand their customers’ needs, detect and understand the risks connected with their business, and improve their business modeling, sales forecasting, and inventory control through the reports and analyses offered by supply chain analytics. As a result of superior forecasts provided by analytics, it is easier to plan for the future. This allows firms to plan their supply and manufacturing processes
in accordance with the anticipated needs of their customers. Many retailers increase their stock levels during the holiday season and hire more workers to keep up with demand.”
Daria is the Head of Product at KeyUA. She leads the development process and identifies the customer needs and the larger business objectives.
“Supply chain is the process from raw materials sourcing to the product reaching the consumer. This chain is extremely crucial and plays a huge role in your business. From raw materials sourcing to consumer delivery, a supply chain connects suppliers, businesses, and end-users. In that long journey from the raw materials supplier to the end-user, they are looking for opportunities to make processes faster, cheaper, and easier.
One of the biggest things to know about supply chain analytics is there are opportunities for collaboration. In order to enhance their products or processes, companies should collaborate with their suppliers and, if possible, their customers. This exchange of ideas and information is now easier than ever before with cloud solutions. Companies use supply chain analytics to analyze data gathered from a variety of applications to manage their supply chains. The thing about supply chains is that one wrong step will affect the entire process as they all are connected.”
David Reid is the Sales Director at VEM Tooling, one of the fastest-growing mold manufacturers in the world. They currently operate in over 5 countries with an aim to grow across borders. They have served multiple businesses including giants from automobile, steel, and other production houses.
“Mapping a supply chain is critical in performing an external analysis in a strategic planning procedure. The importance of laying out the supply chain is that it helps an agency define its industry and decide where it wants to be in the future. In developing corporate-level planning, an agency often needs to decide whether to work a single line of business or enter into other related or unrelated markets.
Each level of a supply chain is usually a different market; for instance, raw material extraction in manufacturing. Knowing others engaged in each of the stages provides insights on the attractiveness of competitiveness in markets the agency might want to enter in the future.
Let’s take an example of a generic supply chain that starts with sourcing and extracting raw materials. The materials are then taken by a logistics provider to the supplier, which works as the wholesaler. The materials are taken to a manufacturer or probably to various manufacturers that refine and process them into finished goods. Afterward, it adds a distributor that wholesales the finished goods delivered to the retailer. The retailer sells the product in-store to customers. In this way, the cycle completes, but the demand then goes back, and the production for more materials continues. Maintaining the cycle is the most important focus for businesses.”
Steven Walker is the CEO of Spylix, which is committed to facilitating legal, parental, and employee monitoring services.
“Before beginning the process, make good plans and finalize the strategies. Demand for the product, viability, prices, profit expected, and labors required are to be considered beforehand. Without making suitable plans, it is impossible to achieve the benefits available. So, allocate sufficient time to draw the techniques and strategies. Discuss the pros and cons that the plan holds and come to a decision.
Every component of the supply chain must be in tandem with the other components. Before beginning production, business leaders must ensure the availability of these products. Proper planning and the availability of goods have to be maintained at all times.
Transportation plays a significant role in the supply chain as it carries the raw materials to the manufacturing sites and then the final products to the market. The sustainability of timely transportation is just as crucial as producing the right products. The transport mode must be delivering zero damage and minimal loss.
A feature that allows the return of the malfunctioning products would be lucrative and help create a robust supply chain. This is particularly true if there are many consumer complaints as a result of malfunctioning products.”
Ankush Sharma is the co-founder and CEO at DataToBiz, a Data Science and AI consulting firm. He is an avid tech enthusiast and a data advocate. Having a strong belief in data and its potential for making a regular business successful is what motivates him. With his vision, he wants to make Enterprise Data and AI Solutions as powerful as possible to help organizations achieve their goals.
“One of the most important things anyone should know about supply chain analytics is the relatively high entry barrier. Purchasing the technology to gather these insights could be a significant—but worthwhile—investment for those who do not currently have them. To gather and review this critical data, spreadsheets, email, and point solutions will not suffice. Supply chain management systems are required by businesses to track goods from raw materials to final delivery. They may also require an analytics solution that can transform reams of data into useful reports and visualizations in order to fully exploit this data.
Furthermore, a company must have solid processes in place to collect all of the necessary data. Information from all parts of the supply chain should be stored in a central database, which necessitates the use of dependable integrations. An organization’s supply chain can only be understood and forecasted if data from all relevant systems are flowing smoothly.”
Joe Kok is an SEO specialist and co-founder of GoodCloudStorage. He has around 13 years of experience across various fields of business, cloud computing, and digital marketing.
“Supply chain management streamlines the flow of everything from goods to any unexpected natural disaster. Globally, every organization’s logistics are managed by supply chain managers. With effective supply chain management, supply chain managers can easily diagnose problems/disruptions for seamless movement of goods. In financial supply chain management, businesses can use the same technology to help identify partners who have long-term financial stability and will pay their invoices and stay in business. They can aggregate the data across industries to isolate trends in safety performance, establish baselines and norms and use predictive analytics to identify which types of trends and approaches can reduce and eliminate accidents.”
Jason is currently focusing on managing and scaling his first startup, TapRm, a beer e-commerce platform acting as a launch vehicle for the next generation of brands. TapRm’s omnichannel platform builds beer, cider, and hard seltzer brands by combining traditional beer distribution with direct-to-consumer e-commerce for the first time in the United States.
“Good inventory control is all about having the right products in the right places so that you can dispatch items to customers at just the right time, and having multiple smaller warehouses in strategic locations can enable you to do this. However, this does require taking a deep dive into your data to see where the orders are coming from to ensure adequate stock levels at each distribution site. Implementing an effective inventory distribution strategy can also help reduce your transportation costs and speed up your delivery times.”
Aaron is the founder of Izba and Capabl. He is a graduate of Unilever’s prestigious Supply Chain Management Program where he spent 5 years gaining direct experience working in planning, manufacturing, international logistics, and continuous improvement.
“Data rich companies are over indexed on reports, metrics, and key performance indicators (KPIs). Many times these reports are glazed over, aren’t viewed at all, or actions or decisions aren’t made when they receive the data. They let their reporting abilities determine the decisions to be made.
Data smart companies, on the other hand, think through the decisions that the business needs to make and focus on answering those questions specifically. They reduce the total number of reports and metrics to provide focus and context on how the business needs to change. They let the open questions determine the reporting and data required.”
Jonathan Tian is the Co-Founder of Mobitrix, a U.S.-based smartphone solution provider for data transfer and iOS system errors, etc.
“Supply chain analytics is the study of data gathered from a variety of supply chain applications such as procurement, inventory management, order management, warehouse management and fulfillment, and transportation management (including shipping). The most important thing businesses should know about supply chain analytics is how to boost productivity using the Internet of Things (IoT).
Employee productivity is one of the supply chain management issues that the IoT is attempting to solve. Devices and sensors [the Internet of Things] is enabling more efficient asset and people management, which is crucial from a cost standpoint.
Like the concept of intelligent goggles, the bin placement region would be visibly highlighted by embedded software in IoT-enabled eyewear. If the employee reaches for the wrong bin, it becomes red, and if the employee reaches for the correct bin, it turns green.
After an unforeseeable event, such as a spike in product sales due to a social influencer posting on social media, technology like IoT goggles could allow a corporation to hire unskilled personnel swiftly.
Automation is a possibility with IoT technology. Smart offices employ a network of linked devices to monitor, control, and manage various corporate operations. These can be used to automate repetitive processes that employees regularly perform, increasing productivity and freeing up time for them to focus on more challenging work.”
Aseem is the CEO of Help Desk Geek. Help Desk Geek has over 3,000 articles and 35M+ annual website visitors who read their content to navigate their way through trivial or complicated tech problems.
“Just implementing analytics is not enough. The single most important thing that businesses should know about supply chain analytics is that an organization must not think that this is just a one time thing. Supply chain analytics must be analyzed properly and data must actually be used properly in order to garner efficiency. If supply chain analytics are just for show and pomp, it will just be a drain on your resources and nothing else.”
Bram Jansen is an experienced cybersecurity expert at vpnAlert with a long-term history of working in cyberspace. His whole career has been focused on helping businesses secure their information online.
“Supply chain analytics improves transparency across the supply chain. The ability of a corporation to interact effectively with stakeholders in order to gain visibility and traceability throughout supply chain operations is referred to as supply chain transparency. The data gathered as a result of such collaboration must be exact, timely, reliable, and complete, as well as organized in a way that supply chain players can comprehend. To optimize their supply chain processes, companies have typically relied on a range of data sources and analyses. Supply chain analytics has recently been utilized to improve supply chain transparency.
How to deal with suppliers when there are issues with sourcing processes is one of the primary obstacles in the upstream supply chain. Material supply disruptions will cause the company’s manufacturing schedules to be delayed or even interrupted, resulting in missed sales opportunities, lower revenues, lower profits, and a bad reputation. Predictive analytics (for example, demand projections) can be used to spot patterns and trends, as well as predict failures that could affect suppliers and, as a result, manufacturing processes. Supply chain managers can gain visibility into all major areas of potential disruptions and develop plans to deal with them.”
Chris Muller is the Director of Audience Growth at DoughRoller.
“From the way you acquire materials and services to how you distribute things to your clients, technological advancements influence every area of supply chain management. Being too enthusiastic about technology and losing sight of the problem it attempts to address may be quite dangerous.
Growth is excellent, but high-volume growth can make or kill a company. You are now faced with the issues of managing items across several channels, synchronizing inventory and delivery, collaborating with suppliers and manufacturers, and linking in-store orders and pickups with online orders, among other things.
One of the most important things you should know about supply chain analytics is the importance of implementing effective technology. A disproportionate number of merchants make purchases initially and expect to work things out afterwards. They design their tasks and workflows around new technology rather than the other way around. Effective and efficient supply chains examine operations that deliver below-standard results to identify areas where technology might assist in improving performance. Following the identification of your areas of concern, it is only then that you should begin looking for software solutions. Detailed reporting data will be produced in a more accessible and accurate manner, which will educate the supply chain council on strategy and operational planning moving forward.”
Gerrid Smith is the Founder of Corporate Investigation Consulting.
“Because analytics delivers improved forecasts, it is an effective technique to improve planning. This allows companies to plan supply and manufacturing processes to fulfill anticipated client demands. When sales start to rise regularly over the holiday season, it’s usual practice to stock the warehouse with more products and hire more contractors. Manufacturers might use analytics to sign up more suppliers to meet the rising demand.
These data and indicators are used by businesses to meet client expectations. Even a minor disruption in the supply chain can cause customer discontent and lead to the loss of potential consumers. Businesses can also utilize analytics to examine indicators like safety stock levels
and order accuracy rates, as well as to evaluate overall customer experience and identify and address any issue patterns.”
Ariana Flynn is the Marketing and Communications Manager at ProxyRack.
“Supply chain analytics can help an organization’s decision-making across all functions. Let’s take a look at how supply chain analytics may help all of the functional units.
Finance teams may apply supply chain analytics to accurately estimate demand, review and manage across transfers, comply with tax regulations, and evaluate suppliers for ESG (Environmental, Social, and Growth) sustainability.
Supply chain analytics assist sales and operations planning teams in tracking real-time supply chain changes, identifying potential suppliers, anticipating risk, and forecasting and analyzing supply cost patterns. Brick and mortar stores can estimate supply, adjust product placement, calculate the price, and even forecast future purchase patterns based on previous on-site customer activity.”
Zac Houghton is the CEO at Loftera.
“Using supply chain analytics, companies can identify slow-moving stocks due to inaccurate predictions and estimations. Furthermore, it can identify instances where more products could be sold and unmet needs can be met. All societies rely on supply chains for the provision of critical supplies.
A successful supply chain satisfies the needs of producers as well as consumers, and its management is integrated and holistic. Supply chains become more efficient when geographically different operations communicate and cooperate together in a synergistic way, and I think this is the single most important thing businesses should know about supply chain analytics. The logistics of supplying multiple entities with inventory is facilitated by this. It simplifies the process of managing the entire integrated supply chain.
The inability of many businesses to manage risk effectively has led to a lack of ability to address potential business problems. With supply chain management, anything from goods to unexpected natural disasters is made more efficient. Organizations worldwide handle their logistics through supply chain managers. A supply chain manager can easily diagnose problems/disruptions for seamless movement of goods by using supply chain management.”
Nate is a business owner and content marketer at Imaginated. He provides a platform for artists and businesses to tell their stories.
“Supply chain management is an essential division in almost any organization. The process itself is the management of the flow of goods and services from the stage of manufacturing in the market until it is ready for consumption. It is a laborious process of keeping track of the minute details of the product as well as keeping up-to-date regarding the latest trends in the market and adjusting marketing strategies accordingly.
Supply chain analytics software:
The future is e-commerce and to survive in the market, organizations are replacing labor with software. In order to gain accurate insights into supply chain processes, reduce error and get results faster, the software is the one thing companies should get the hang of. The software will gather end-to-end data from each department, and operations and management can make changes and recommendations based on their own insight.
Previously, management used prior experience and feedback mechanisms such as surveys to derive the latest trends in the market in order to cater to changing demand. This included sales forecasting and predicting what consumers will order.
Manually keeping track of each order of supply could result in miscommunication and if backup plans are not initiated, the company is in big trouble! In case of disruption in supply, all items must be replenished to avoid losing consumers to other retailers. By automating the majority of tasks, it makes more time for management to focus on other issues in the company.”
Victoria Mendoza is the CEO of MediaPeanut.
“Supply chain analytics is an integral component as it assesses supply chain performance and determines the inadequacies and inefficiencies in supply chain configurations. The most important thing businesses should know about supply chain analytics is that it helps improve standards within the company. When we talk of analytics, we often think that its primary goal is to increase sales and speed-up product movement.
However, the ultimate goal of supply chain analytics is to improve the selection of suppliers and identify the poor performing ones. It is important to identify where the supply chain faces stumbling blocks in order to accelerate sales and speed-up material movement. These supply bottlenecks influence other supply chain factors such as on-time delivery performance, customer service levels, and inventory holding. With this data, businesses can easily find gaps in supplier performance and immediately act to correct it.”
Stephen Curry is the CEO at CocoSign, which is a renowned secure E-Sign service provider that helps businesses automate their paperwork workflow through a programmable logic signing system.
“When considering how to analyze the supply chain, companies must remember that they are not just handling raw materials and inventory; they’re also handling data. This means they’ll need to take all the various types of data into account when looking at how best to assess their supply chains. That includes everything from shipment data and manufacturing information to real-time inventory levels and customer feedback. The key to good supply chain analytics is the ability to crunch all that data into meaningful insights. That means companies have to have a system in place that can gather, capture and store all the relevant information. In addition, they’ll need employees who understand how to use that information effectively and glean insights that drive improvements.”
Kyle MacDonald is the Director of Operations at Force by Mojio.
“Supply chain analytics is vital in meeting customers’ expectations. Customers want speed and quality, and they are easily frustrated if their items are delivered late (even if your company works hard to get it to them close to the time it’s supposed to arrive). Supply chain analytics helps companies make smart and informed decisions that can prevent these issues and frustrations from arising at all.”
Jeff Mains is a 5x Entrepreneur and CEO of Champion Leadership Group LLC.
“The supply chain is a vital component of a business’s ability to offer excellent customer service while also compensating for many expenditures that influence overall profitability. So, what exactly is the significance of supply chain analytics?
Businesses across all sectors benefit from supply chain analytics, enabling them to make better, quicker, and more rational decisions about their processes. As a result, it provides substantial and long-term benefits to the businesses that use it. These analytics and infographics assist businesses in identifying and understanding their possible risks, improving their planning, optimizing their inventory management, and better meeting the high expectations of their consumers and clients.
Analytics may help you plan better by providing precise projections, which allows you to put all of the necessary operational components in place to handle the anticipated demand. If a retailer notices a continuous increase in sales as the holiday season approaches, it may determine the size of its purchase orders with suppliers and increase the number of contractors
working in its warehouse to prepare for a spike in orders during the critical holiday shopping season. If any suppliers do not have the ability to fulfill these higher purchases, the store may look for alternate suppliers while there is still time left in the order process.”
Dan Barret is the CEO of Plutus Software Inc., a marketing expert, a precious metal dealer, and the co-owner of Pacific Precious Metals.
“Predictive analytics is being used by businesses for supply chain management features including sourcing and logistics. They may, however, use data to manage a number of hazards. Businesses that can apply the same technologies in financial supply chain management should identify suppliers who have lengthy economic security and will pay their bills and remain in business.”
Christopher Liew is the Founder of Wealth Awesome, where he shares tips on money, travel, career, and business. He’s a CFA Charterholder with over 11 years of corporate experience.
“Approximately 57% of companies worldwide believe that supply chain management is vital to gain a competitive edge in terms of business development. It is why most companies have already started using supply chain analytics to manage the supply chain efficiently and effectively.
1. Supply chain analytics can reduce your inventory costs considerably.
Businesses can forecast market demand more accurately by using supply chain analytics efficiently and effectively. This could reduce the business’s inventory costs significantly. If market demand is forecasted properly, excess inventory could be reduced. It means that you can lower inventory storage costs significantly.
2. Supply chain analytics can improve your production capacity greatly.
Supply chain analytics can improve production efficiency, which in turn increases production capacity. It can predict the optimal way to produce products in a factory. Since you have limited resources, you have to use supply chain analytics to allocate resources efficiently and
effectively to produce the optimal volume of products. This could lead to a higher gross profit for the business.
3. It allows you to find the best route to transport your materials and products efficiently.
Finding the best route to transfer raw materials or final products optimally can reduce your operating costs considerably.”
Supply chain analytics are crucial for modern businesses that want to maintain a competitive edge. By providing actionable insights and predictions, supply chain analytics enables companies to more accurately plan and coordinate supply chain activities from end to end.