Article

How to make supply chain data your most valuable resource

By Chris Shaw,
How to make supply chain data your most valuable resource

No matter what your industry, businesses are facing a more competitive marketplace than ever. There are cost pressures, time pressures and customer expectation pressures. Change happens more often and more quickly. The most successful companies are the ones that can adapt and improve the fastest. But how is that accomplished?

The secrets to becoming a better business are hidden in your data. That’s where you can scan supply chain operations to find cost savings, competitive advantages and undiscovered relationships that can lead to new promotions, smarter decisions and increased sales. Your data has answers – you just need a better way to analyze it.

Currently, the methods used to handle data aren’t good enough. A new approach to analytics is needed. One that truly opens data up, unlocks opportunities and unleashes potential.

The status quo comes up short

Traditionally, companies have used systems that are good at managing transactions. But they keep data compartmentalized with rigid boundaries. There’s no way to search across information. No way to make comparisons. No way to make new discoveries. In essence, the data is trapped in an inflexible system that also happens to carry a high total cost of ownership. Not an ideal situation at all.

Many analytics solutions are limited

To solve the issue of siloed data, a range of analytics solutions have been developed. Often, this technology is focused on specific data comparisons that are decided in advance and involves transformation of the data from its original state to be examined. Users gain value from dashboards and reports as long as the predefined data feeds lie within the scope of the overall business challenges they face.

That’s better than no analytics at all, but this approach is still limited. It’s tactical rather than strategic; predefined instead of open-ended. It doesn’t allow much user control, enable wider analysis or promote the discovery of unexpected connections. In other words, the gateway to data is opened, but just barely.

It’s time for a new approach

The right analytics solution is designed to be completely open. Rather than collecting information, or predetermining what factors are mined, it gives access to oceans of data. Long-term history, enterprise data and a range of external factors – weather, social interaction, location and more – can all be explored and converted into actionable insight. Companies are already getting value from this type of advanced operational analytics.

For example, Campbells Soup found there was an increase in consumption of their products based on customer region, temperature and temperature change. So on days when it was cold or the mercury dropped sharply, they changed their internet advertising strategy and increased soup sales. Proctor & Gamble discovered that most U.S. women check the weather each morning. On high-humidity days, they boosted advertising of hair frizz control products and higher sales followed. Credit card companies are using data to cross-reference the location of purchases with the location of a cardholder’s cell phone so they can detect fraud before purchase approvals. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg.

When you’re able to leverage the power of your data, the possibilities are endless. Better yet, with the right solution, analysis can be accomplished with minimal IT involvement. Users are empowered to quickly, freely and independently mine the data for the next competitive advantage.

What can your data do for you?

In an era of fierce competition, data is a valuable, untapped resource. With an advanced analytics solution, you can proactively and creatively find connections across your supply chain that help you increase revenue, cut costs and boost efficiency.

The secrets are in your data, just waiting to be discovered.

To find out how you can unlock your data, contact us today.

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