Leverage Technology to Build a Data-Driven Supply Chain

Leverage Technology to Build a Data-Driven Supply Chain

With current supply chain disruptions occurring including shortages across all sectors, proper data tracking utilizing technologies - such as predictive analytics with embedded AI - can help improve a company’s supply chain management. These technologies provide insight into critical areas of operation. As the supply chain increasingly becomes more data-driven to monitor inventory, customer demand, employee productivity, and delivery efficiencies, companies can leverage technology to better steer corporate planning and growth. Although the sheer amount of data produced by a supply chain can seem overwhelming, advanced technologies can offer real-time insights that empower faster decision-making and dramatically improve the bottom-line.

Getting data-centric with ERP

Creating a strategy that enables supply chain visibility is a smart approach to building a data-driven supply chain. Companies can best do this with a data-centric system, such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution which includes supply chain management (SCM). Deploying an ERP solution that has a centralized database, with predictive analytics and embedded AI, can be one way to ensure applications are pulling data to improve efficiencies and accuracies, and make information easily accessible for the entire supply chain. Proper data storage and accessibility are a tremendous help when tracking shipments and remaining compliant to regulations.

Utilizing an ERP solution with predictive analytics and embedded AI can play a huge part in analyzing and expediting the supply chain, reducing congestion, and increasing productivity. Automated and integrated ERP software can also aid in identifying current progress and delivery dates, and improve the flow of information between manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, to ensure data integrity. These valuable insights help companies make timely sourcing decisions that offset supply chain disruptions. With a secure and centralized data source, a company can be confident that data is always up to date. For example, the food and pharmaceutical industries benefit greatly in leveraging ERP with built-in compliance features, which ensures that every task is performed at each checkpoint and is up to date.

Determine goals & KPIs

Setting goals for business outcomes and performance metrics is a vital step for a data-driven supply chain, making sure everyone at the business and all partners are aligned and measuring data accurately. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are metrics that can help supply chain professionals monitor the effectiveness and efficiency of different supply chain processes. Supply chain KPIs can be used throughout the extended supply chain, or they can be limited to the company’s own supply network. To make the right decision, organizations need to assess data in an actionable way that supports both internal processes and end-user goals. Data must be rooted in goal-oriented tasks to ensure satisfactory results.

These goals may be hard metrics or KPIs the business wants to improve — like operational cash flow, order fulfillment time, or number of qualified leads. Companies can also use data to improve risk analysis and respond to supply chain threats, as well as identify suppliers that may be vulnerable to disruption.

Gather real-time data

An efficient way to predict demand is to incorporate big data and collect critical analytics and insights. For example, by incorporating external data with internal data, such as weather forecast and IoT information, all helping to advance predictive models, companies can accurately predict the demand and supply for certain products depending on these outside factors. However, if companies haven’t adapted their supply chain model to a data-motivated system, they will not likely yield the full benefit from this change. With real-time data, this can help unify the supply chain front-to-end and minimize any miscommunication.

Prioritizing supply chain efficiency by ensuring the accuracy of the data flowing in and out of all systems is a critical business benefit. New and advanced data sources available through technology allows businesses to have access to enormous stores of data, which can be vital for building data-driven strategies that will help businesses effectively and efficiently manage their supply chain.

Maggie Kelleher

Director of Business Development