The Greater Data Ecosystem: Driving Decision-Making
The phrase “data is the new oil” has found its way into just about every business presentation since it was first coined by Clive Humby back in 2006. The statement, although contestable (since not all data has the same ‘octane’ content), does beg the question that should always follow: what data?
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt the majority of industries, its impact on supply chains has been nothing short of seismic. As teams face increasing pressure to make the right decisions at the right time, squeezing every last drop of insight and information out of your vast amounts of data has never been more important.
These tricky times call for a new approach to data-driven decision making, and there’s now a real need for supply chains to focus on, what we call, the greater data ecosystem.
Yes, you can make effective decisions based on data from your current systems, or by joining up a few previously-siloed sources across your organisation – but there’s potential to go even further than this. The more data you have to play with, the more informed your supply chain decisions will be. Let’s take a closer look at a few different data sources that Peak is exploring with our customers to drive intelligent supply chain decisions.
Customer Systems and D2C data
This is all about linking data from your own supply chain systems with your customers, as well as consumer behaviour data points (for those with direct-to-consumer channels.) For instance, this could be their ERP system or even the logistics systems between your business and your customer.
For example, suppose you’re a consumer packaged goods business or a manufacturer, with a better handle on Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) and any other sell-out data from your customers’ systems. In that case, you can better predict what demand is going to be like, and better understand their stock levels in order to help you anticipate yours. You could even factor into account things like receipts data; what baskets are shoppers generally buying together, and how can this help you better anticipate how groups of products are going to sell together.
This closer relationship with your customers’ systems allows you to better serve them and increase efficiency and anticipate demand fluctuations. In short, it’s all about creating more competitive supply chains which are more cost-effective, with better service levels and a more accurate view of demand.
By leveraging data points from your suppliers’ systems, you can plan ahead in the most efficient way and execute an effective just-in-time (JIT) inventory management strategy, holding minimal assets to save cash and space whilst still fulfilling customer demand. Our customers who are employing this methodology are able to understand when a supplier is going to deliver, to what location, and anticipate the arrival of goods and raw materials whilst also better understanding working capital implications.
Environmental and Global Data
Don’t underestimate the power hidden away in external, third-party data sources and the impact it can have on your supply chain decision making. Think about the ways your business can utilise, let’s say, macroeconomic data to understand what could be driving issues connected to supply and demand. Yes, we immediately think of things like GDP, or maybe even exchange rates, but there is now a plethora of data out there, that may be more industry and company-specific, that helps predict demand or implications for business performance. For instance, a sad but apposite data feed could be the level of COVID-19 near a supplier, which may hamper their ability to supply. Potentially, AI and machine learning could help understand the impact of these incidents with supply performance.
Network Data Sharing
“If companies begin to institute data sharing in their supply chains at the same time, they will be in a much better position to deal with a future shock.”
––World Economic Forum
This one may seem a little more blue sky for many businesses at first, but the benefits can be enormous if you can imagine not just working closely with your retailers, but also with competitors and those providing similar products – allowing you to gain a unique view of exactly what is happening across the rest of the market. This leads to a better understanding of wider trends and the ability to make better smarter decisions. With a mutually beneficial relationship with the wider network, you can understand supply issues, and work with competitors or neutral parties to deliver better products and services to your customers creating a form of ‘coopetition.’
Introducing a New Type of Business System
Tapping into the greater data ecosystem and utilising it in your decision making offers an untold number of benefits for supply chain teams. However, to truly unlock this potential, a new approach – and a modern architecture – is needed.
In the same way that business functions have their own systems of record, the ability to power decision making based on a wide range of data sources hinges on the introduction of a new, centralised enterprise business system. For Peak, this is our AI System, which gives teams the ability to leverage unlimited data points at scale and speed.
With artificial intelligence (AI), we’re able to connect the dots between data points and prescribe recommendations and actions to help you optimise your decision making across the entire supply chain.
For instance, by feeding external data into both demand and supply planning systems and leveraging it with AI, you can optimise that connection between these two core areas of your business. Not only does it allow you to better sense demand with a higher degree of accuracy, but also enables a better understanding of how supplier and operations constraints are affecting supply – automatically making micro-adjustments to optimise the way demand is being fulfilled.
DHL partners with Riversimple in sustainability move
Riversimple Movement, a Welsh hydrogen vehicle manufacturer, has found a new partner in the world's 11th largest employer: DHL Supply Chain. The two companies, who have recently signed an MoU, pledge to bring sustainable zero-emission vehicles to the UK, and their targets don’t stop there. The duo looks to be busy, with their sights set on developing sustainability initiatives, securing the necessary finances required to achieve the volume production of hydrogen vehicles, and designing and subsequent trialling of zero-emission transport.
DHL has already begun assisting its new partner in preparing for its first full-scale manufacturing facility, which will house the production of hydrogen-electric vehicles.
“It’s exciting to be partnering with a highly innovative company like Riversimple, which has sustainability at the heart of its mission,” says Managing Director of DHL Manufacturing Logistics UKI, Mike Bristow. “As the world’s leading logistics company, it is our responsibility to guide the industry to a sustainable future.”
DHL has recently launched “The Sustainability Playbook”, designed to create a roadmap to implement the next generation of global supply chain.
“Excellence. Simply delivered. In a sustainable way.”
As one of the leading drivers in global trade, DHL claims to be aware of its immense responsibility to steer innovation. Conscious of the impact their global operations have on the environment, the company initiated “Strategy 2025” - delivering excellence in the digital world. The goal: to focus increasingly on harnessing the potential for sustainable long-term growth and expanding the already-underway digital transformations within the business.
“Strategy 2025” aims to cumulatively invest €2bn in digitalisation through to 2025, in the hope that this will enhance customer experiences. They also predict a €1.5bn yearly run rate by FY’25.
Currently, DHL boasts a large green logistics portfolio, including carbon offsetting, green optimisation, and clean fuel and energy products, all as available ways to make the supply chain industry more sustainable.
“We have repeatedly redefined logistics, from introducing the industry’s first green product to becoming the first logistics company to commit to a zero-emissions target,” says DHL.
“In the past 15 years, we have continuously improved our carbon efficiency while introducing innovative green logistics solutions to make supply chains more sustainable and help our customers achieve their environmental goals.”
DHL move to lead supply chain sustainability
As the world’s 11th largest employer, and with around 570,000 employees worldwide, DHL is in a position to lead the supply chain towards a greener future. Its recent partnership with Riversimple hopes to inspire other companies within the industry to follow.
Hugo Spowers, Founder and Managing Director of Riversimple, acknowledges DHL’s commitment to sustainability.
“We’re very pleased to be collaborating with DHL to help us achieve mass production in the UK in the near term, and hopefully partner with us on a global level as we deliver our goal of systematically eliminating the environmental impact of personal transport.