In the beginning there was the Stone Age, then the Bronze Age and Iron Age. Skip a few millennia and here we are, in the Age of Big Data. As a business tool, the enormous amount of information generated by your business and beyond - along with the ability to mine it, capture it, store it and learn from it - is revolutionising the commercial landscape.
If you’re considering harnessing the power of Big Data in your supply chain planning, here are three things to consider.
1: The commercial landscape has changed forever
According to a recent Gartner survey, 76% of supply chain leaders report that their companies face more supply chain disruptions now than three years ago. Pandemics, macroeconomics, the explosion of e-commerce and global supply chain disruptions have all played a part. The resulting disruption to retail activity at some of the most profitable times of year has inevitably led to huge dents in bottom lines everywhere. It’s no wonder then, that businesses are now scrambling to find ways to mitigate this ever-increasing market volatility. They can no longer rely on the tried and tested cyclical patterns and systems of yesteryear and are looking to emerging technologies to help them stay competitive in a more chaotic commercial world.
2: People can’t process data like a machine can
If your SCM strategy relies solely on historical business statistics, your Planners may wellbe able to interpret and analyse some of the information generated throughout your supply chain and use it to make predictions. But here’s the thing. They’re not Data Scientists and analogue, people-driven systems are inherently limited by the amount of information they can find and handle. A business that chooses to empower its people with Big Data, and the ability to analyse it, gives itself (and its Planners) a real competitive edge.
3: The right blend of technology is a super power
Digital systems that pull on new technologies are the key to harnessing the true power of Big Data in your supply chain strategy. The most powerful tool for Planners is a single, automated system that can pull large amounts of data from multiple sources, to marry business information with carefully curated data sets from all over the internet. A system that uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, allows organisations to consistently mine for insights, while constantly learning and optimising. No Data Science degree required. The best systems present these insights in an easy-to-navigate, actionable way, equipping Planners with everything they need to make more accurate demand forecasts. Planners can now have the power at their fingertips to drive business alignment behind a consensus plan, while playing an active role in streamlining processes, reducing freight and waste and increasing ROI.