Big Data revolutionising the supply chains

By Hugh Simpson
Supply chains, in general, were much simpler processes in the 1980s when they first received mainstream attention. However, supply chains have existed...

Supply chains, in general, were much simpler processes in the 1980s when they first received mainstream attention.

However, supply chains have existed since the industrial era. The main difference between their operation then, and how they are organized now, comes down to complexity. Often, supply chains were local or domestic. With technology making the economy more global, however, supply chains have gained more moving parts than ever before. In the late 90s and early 2000s, globalisation was a blessing for prices, but a curse for supply chains. With Big Data becoming a larger and more user-friendly asset, modern supply chains are being revolutionized.
 

Creating a wealth of shared knowledge

The biggest driving force behind this modern big data wave is that it can now be captured, understood, and utilized. While transactions were always captured data, creating a knowledge-sharing network based on the insights gained from big data analytics has become just as important, according to Forbes. Transactions were able to capture how, when, and where people make purchases.

With the addition of supply chain analysis, manufactures, retailers, and distributors can now optimize how best to get products to consumers. Thanks to geoanalytics, this can be done both faster and in a more cost efficient manner as supply chains reimagine their distribution routes. This has resulted in a 425% improvement in order-to-delivery times, and a 260% improvement in efficiency.

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Managing risk and creating agility

In a recent study, it was found that 61% of leading supply chain management companies would consider risk very important. With better geoanalytics, tractability has also improved, which is leading to shipped products being accounted for from the start of their journey until the end.

Based on all the data collected from supply routes, successful deliveries, and problems that have been reported, those running supply chains are now armed with data that will allow them to recognize potential problems before they pop up, and proactively address potential kinks in their distribution system. This also speaks to the modern supply chain’s flexibility. With this additional knowledge in hand, routes can be changed to account for issues that arise after the delivery process has begun.

Customers: increasing retention and satisfaction

We’ve all heard the phrase “the customer is always right,” so if a customer changes their order overnight, or after a delivery has already gone out, they expect suppliers to meet their needs as soon as possible. While this can be a burden, 90% of customers who had a company fail to meet their demands will not do business with them again.

With this number in mind, suppliers will need to do everything they can to satisfy their consumers. Thanks to big data and analytics, suppliers will not only be able to get another order out the door efficiently, but they also have the opportunity to anticipate an increase in demand based on previous orders and market trends.

By Hugh Simpson - Global Lead for Fintech, Data & Analytics, AI & Industry 4.0.

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