10 Ways to Drive Supply Chain Performance with Big Data

Is more always better? When it comes to a shipper's supply chain and big data, more data doesn't necessarily equate to better productivity. How you leverage and utilize the influx of data is what's key. Use these tips to utilize big data to drive performance in their supply chains.

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1. Eliminate Silos

With various divisions and subsidiaries, it can be difficult to funnel important metrics and data into a single system, but it's important to be able to cut across the entire organization and create the means to view data in aggregate. Otherwise, you're working in buckets.

2. Consider Data Needed From Providers & Vendors

Create a data strategy that works in an environment where some functions are executed in house and some by third parties. Facilities with multiple providers have trouble uniting all this information.

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3. Process Rigor 

You can have all the great systems in the world, but if you don't have process rigor you won't have actionable data to work with. Strong process compliance allows the data to become meaningful and timely. Executing day-to-day processes regularly across locations gives consistency and truth to the data.

4. Consider a Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Company

A 3PL is looking at a bigger picture and can find opportunities that cut across various networks to bring opportunity to all.

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5. Timely Information

Through big data, we now build tools that disrupt some of the traditional analyst's functions that we've had in place for decades. In what formally took weeks and months for an analyst to determine, we are able to use the underlying data and various software tools to give us decision-making information in minutes.

6. Foundation going from descriptive analytics to measures that are predictive/prescriptive

Everyone is trying to go from reporting the news to being able to predict the news. 

7. Cost

Companies that are most astute with big data find ways to get there while also being mindful of the cost.

8. Compatibility

Being able to measure compliance with trading partners such as carriers and suppliers within your supply chain is vital. Score carding and performance management of all your suppliers can be a useful exercise. Identify those partners whose process inefficiency is costing you and them money. 

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9. Cost to Serve

This is a prominent conversation and a successful path which businesses are pursuing. The granularity in measurement of supply chains can be served by big data and helps companies understand what vendors and/or customers cost the most. An effective big data strategy will enable you to work with your supply chain partners to take unnecessary costs out of the system. Companies are getting better at incorporating learned experience and big data into their pricing.

10. Understand the What-ifs

Quality data enables you to run what-if scenarios and study the network to see whether a proposed change will produce a specific result, and therefore identify inefficiencies, uncover improvements, remove waste, and cut costs.

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