“Big data” is still an obscure term for most people, but in general it refers to the large volume of information that companies accumulate from a multitude of internal and external sources. With cloud-based storage and analytics technologies there are no limits to how supply chain managers can leverage their organization’s data to improve operations. Big data provides valuable insights for manufacturers that help improve operational efficiency, planning and innovation. But having the data isn’t particularly useful without the analytics that contextualize it against business objectives.
Here are 6 ways big data can help optimize your supply chain:
Analyzing Market Preferences
The Internet of Things brings data into the picture from an untold number of external sources. With targeted analytics, manufacturers can use this data to provide intelligence on real-time market trends, customer behavior and supply chain efficiency. This gives companies the information they need to make strategic decisions, steer clear of unfavorable situations and improve the quality of goods in response to the market.
Big data can be used to optimize delivery along your supply chain by leveraging real-time information gained through GPS data and delivery records. Manufacturers can plan for the best route for finished products and raw materials to keep products and supplies on track.
Seasonal variation, consumer habits and macroeconomic factors can make planning a challenge. Big data can help aggregate demand forecasting that is more accurate and that drives supply optimization. When properly analyzed and leveraged, this data can help avoid losses by aligning supply with demand. You can then use other optimization tools such as order processing, warehouse management and lean inventory to close efficiency gaps.
The Internet of Things has provided for more transparency between supplier, manufacturers and retailers. By leveraging IoT, information can be collected across sources, providing better insights for improving efficiency and strategic planning. The higher level of collaboration leads to optimized supply chain management as the various players share information that leads to better decision making, better customer awareness and timely delivery to the target market. Enhanced collaboration leads to greater profit for all.
Facilitating Mobile Technology
Mobile technology can transform supply chain performance by generating real-time information from the field and across departments. With a smartphone, data gathered from barcode reading, videos, pictures and messages can be leveraged for real-time intervention along the supply chain. Additionally, mobile technology makes it easy to track shipments and map out more efficient routes to ensure timely delivery. It can also improve asset tracking and warehouse management allowing staff to file reports on mobile devices without leaving their workstations.
Managing Supplier Inventory
Standard procedures and centralized coordination are essential to effective supplier inventory management, especially when your suppliers and sales channels are numerous. The unlimited cloud-based capacity of big data makes coordination and reconciliation much easier. With a cloud-based data system in place, deliveries are captured in real-time on a centralized system. Warehouses and branches can be easily monitored so that timely adjustments can be made when necessary.
Is your supply chain optimized?
Big data is only useful if you analyze it against organizational goals, and then use that analysis to improve your supply chain. Leveraged properly, the massive predictive capability of big data can influence production volume to better match demand, reduce costs and ensure efficient use of resources. All of these things provide optimal service to the most important destination along the chain and that is the customer.
To learn more about how you can leverage big data, contact us today.