Using Analytics to Help You Overcome Your Supply Chain Challenges

  • Written By: Bob Eastman
  • Published: December 11 2013

In a November 2013 survey of 150 supply chain managers and more than 1,000 consumers exploring current supply chain challenges and how consumers are reacting to these challenges, Capgemini reports:
  • Just 34% of supply chain managers feel that their companies have an adequate understanding of how their company’s supply chain is performing.
  • Only 21% of the surveyed supply chain managers rated their company’s ability to deliver “accurate, real-time insights” to executives as “excellent.”
The relatively low showing for supply chain managers’ confidence in their supply chain visibility is not particularly surprising to us. These findings echo and highlight the continuing (if not increasing) challenges that we hear many companies are having with collecting and harvesting the right data, and turning this data into information that shows what is really going on across their supply chains and can thus deliver actionable insights—in real-time—to senior executives.

It comes as no surprise, then, that many enterprises are turning to analytics, and even predictive analytics, to capture and make sense of the increasing amount of data that enterprise systems are generating. We are seeing on, an almost daily basis, news from the supply chain domain that highlights the need for better analytics. While there is considerable focus (some would say the buzz has reached a state of hype) on “big data”, a perhaps more useful focus would be on best practice use of analytics to better understand the specific supply chain issues within an enterprise.

As numerous points up and down the value chain are generating more data than ever before (even before the Internet of Things arrives), the challenge of how to manage one’s data is getting bigger and more difficult for companies.

At the same time, mobile devices are, as we all know, proliferating rapidly. With tablets projected to outsell desktop computers this year for the first time, and also to outsell laptop computers in 2014 (sales of smartphones left personal computers in the dust way back in 2011), we are finding more and more ways to use information and process it faster, and smart companies are leveraging the wide variety of analytics tools now available to turn all of that data into useful and actionable information.

As we watch the convergence of these trends, the conversation about analytics in the supply chain will become more and more compelling for many enterprises. It is very timely then that TEC will shortly publish the 2013 Mobile Business Intelligence Buyer’s Guide. This buyer’s guide—together with the already-published TEC 2013 Supply Chain Buyer’s Guide—should help every supply chain manager better understand the analytics landscape, and how these technologies impact the supply chain domain.
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