Ten tips for optimising big data in the supply chain
Failing to optimise big data can leave money on the table and weaken a company’s profit and trend forecasts. In turn, executives are now trying to find the best way to collect, analyse and execute on their big data analytics. Here are ten tips for optimising big data for enterprises to remain competitive in the supply chain:
1) Establish a business and technical owner for all big data initiatives
In today’s fast-paced corporate culture with bottom lines stricter than ever before, CFOs cannot afford to pay close enough attention to the minutia of a business’ P2P processes. Running a global supply chain operation requires intricate planning, sourcing, delivery, measurement and a well-informed viewpoint. This highly involved set of responsibilities should be overseen by a designated executive to make sure the proper business value is being delivered in the most technically sound and efficient manner possible.
2) Break down the communications silos between teams
Businesses that segregate operations cannot fully harness the potential of cross-functional platforms. By aggregating all data into a single, multidepartment system, a company’s analytic capabilities grow exponentially. Since supply chain businesses are comprised of multiple branches, a business’ centralised data should connect each branch for a holistic understanding.
3) Normalise data and terminology across all platforms and departments
Analysis can be a tedious process. Department-specific jargon makes it difficult for organisations to leverage data, which impedes accurate analytics. By keeping all data terminology uniform across business platforms, information can be processed and understood much more easily which will result in faster and more efficient decision making.
4) Establish goals for revenue and earnings that are within reason and doable
Big data can be a treasure trove for a business’ forecasting. However, like all business processes, implementation of big data can take time. Executives should clearly outline goals for revenue, sourcing and P2P development that make sense for each team individually, as well as establish goals that work in concert with one another to achieve the overarching company mission.
5) Organise the data necessary for business growth
Not all data is created equal—some information is inherently more valuable to a company’s priorities. Executives must identify top business priorities to pull the data necessary. Once these are established, executives can concentrate on how to leverage organised data.
6) Use business intelligence from spend data for better sourcing strategies
Diagnosing sourcing issues correctly is much easier with organised and accurate data to quickly visualise and draw insight. Big data can give a business a clear snapshot of expenses and ROI. To optimise existing data, it is important to identify the sourcing inefficiencies and rectify to ensure maximum profits.
7) Prioritise and focus the data pulls
It’s tempting for executives to pull the reports for all processes and streamline all at once when the data becomes available. Businesses must first prioritise goals and efforts in order to optimise their data. Executives should concentrate on the top-line items before moving on to additional analyses in order to best understand the data and forecasts.
8) Remove inefficiency from AP and AR departments
Once a business has analysed its data, it’s important to act on the results. Big data will call out inefficiencies with a company’s procure-to-pay process that an executive should consider when streamlining to save time and money.
9) Turn data into decisions
The purpose of data analytics is to prescribe an actionable insight to the decision-maker. Executives must be prepared to act upon the data’s results once available in order to capitalise on the opportunities presented. Without action on the part of the decision-maker, data remains just that—data.
10) Be flexible
No business involved in producing or selling products is immune to supply chain disruption. While big data is a useful, predictive tool, it can often fail to account for circumstantial, external risks that can arise in business, such as labour strikes, fluctuating global economies or extreme weather. According to a recent study by Deloitte, 55 percent of CPOs reported an increase in external financial and economic uncertainty over the past four years. With a system as delicate as that of the supply chain, executives must be reactive as well as proactive.
The success of a supply chain – and a company’s competitive edge – relies heavily on the ability to be more efficient and more informed. Comprehensive and organised technology is necessary to provide deeper visibility into the supply chain in its entirety. When used correctly, big data can reduce companies’ reaction times to problems in the supply chain and increase the efficiency of its processes.
By Matt Clark, COO Corcentric
Top 10 air freight carriers
10. Cargolux Group
The Luxembourgish freight carrier Cargolux Group (comprised of Cargolux Airlines and Cargolux Italia, established in 2008) remained in the number 10 spot, with a total reported FTK (Freight Tonne Kilometer) equaling 7.45 bn, which represents a 7.7% expansion year-over-year. The carrier group currently operates a fleet of 30 aircraft (26 through Cargolux Airlines and an addition four through Cargolux Italia), primarily variants of the Boeing 747.
9. Korean Air
Headquartered in Seoul, Korean Air provides cargo and passenger services to over 100 destinations in 44 countries. The carrier fell from eighth place in the previous year’s rankings, with a total FTK of 7.66 bn, representing a 7.1% decrease year-over-year. Korean Air reported a net revenue of $10.7bn in 2017, also reporting a return to profitability for the first time in five years, according to Forbes.
8. Air France-KLM
The Air France-KLM freight carrier group was founded in 1947. The group is comprised of Air France, KLM, and Martinair, and is based in Paris, France. Falling from seventh place in the Freight 50 rankings, the carrier reported a total FTK of 8.13 bn, which represents a 9.2% decrease in traffic year-over-year. The group reported a net revenue of $29.08bn at the end of 2017 and is ranked #28 on Forbes Magazine’s list of Best Employers.
7. Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways, the nationally owned airline of the Kingdom of Qatar is based in Doha, and ascended two places in the Freight 50 rankings, with a total FTK of 9.22 bn, representing a 19.6% increase in comparison to the previous financial year. The carrier’s Cargo division recently launched facilities at its hub in Doha to provide a “Seamless Cool Chain”, comprised of a “2,470 square metres Climate Control Centre situated at the airside… equipped with segregated temperature-controlled sections for storing pharmaceuticals and perishables.” This end-to-end supply chain control is expected to further improve Qatar’s standing as a leader of Middle Eastern air freight.
6. Lufthansa Group
Based in Cologne, Germany, the Lufthansa Group (comprised of Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, and Brussels Airlines) fell from the fourth position in the Freight 50, with a combined FTK of 9.46 bn. While this represents a 1.6% increase in traffic, year-over-year, the carrier was forced down the list by drastic growth from other German freight company, DHL. According to Forbes, Lufthansa’s revenue and net profits ($41.5 bn and $2.78 bn, respectively) in 2017 are both the highest reported by the company over a ten-year period.
5. Cathay Group
The Cathay Group (composed of Cathay Pacific Airlines and Dragonair) is headquartered in Hong Kong and its Cargo division accounts for 21% of the airline’s total revenue. The company’s first dedicated cargo flight between Hong Kong, Frankfurt, and London, was established in 1981, according to the official site. Now, Cathay Pacific’s Cargo Division services over 47 destinations worldwide. The carrier fell from the fourth position on the Freight 50 ranking, as its total FTK fell by 3.6%, to 10.21 bn. According to Forbes, Cathay Pacific experienced a second year of unprofitability, although the airline’s asset portfolio reached a record high in 2017, with a net value of $24.1bn.
4. DHL Express Group
Operating as the largest European carrier group, DHL Express Group (composed of DHL Air, DHL International, Air Hong Kong, Polar Air Cargo, ABX Air, Southern Air, Aerologic, and EAT Leipzig) rose two positions in the Freight 50 rankings. The carrier reported a total FTK of 10.56 bn, which represents an increase of 15.1% year-over-year. In 2018, at the Farnborough Air Show, DHL Express announced the purchase of 14 Boeing 777s, part of a new strategy to modernise its fleet.
3. UPS Airlines
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, UPS Airlines is part of United Parcel Service, Inc. Founded in 1908, UPS is the oldest company in the Top Ten, and retained third place in the Freight 50 rankings, with a total FTK of 11.26 bn. This represents a 3.9% increase year-over-year. The Company as a whole reported a net revenue of $67.7 bn, according to Forbes, representing a continuation of a ten-year trend of continuous growth. Forbes also ranks UPS among the world’s top 100 most-innovative companies, and the world’s top 50 most-valuable brands.
2. Emirates Skycargo
The state-owned air freight carrier for the UAE, Emirates Skycargo remains in second place on the Freight 50, with a total FTK of 12.27 bn, representing a 0.4% decrease year-over-year. The carrier’s central hub in Dubai allows its 259-strong fleet to reach over 1.5 bn consumers in under eight hours. Current purchasing plans are underway for Emirates Skycargo to almost double its fleet size. According to Albawaba, “In response to increasing demand from its customers, Emirates SkyCargo introduced a range of air transport solutions specific to industry verticals including Emirates Pharma, Emirates Wheels and Emirates Fresh.” Emirates Wheels has transported close to 150 cars per month since the program’s inception.
1. FedEx Express
Founded in 1998, FedEx Express is both the youngest and largest air freight carrier worldwide, with a total FTK of 15.71 bn. Haulage decreased by 0.9% year-over-year, while revenue increased to $60.5 bn in 2016, and again to $63.8 bn in 2017, continuing an eight-year growth trend. FedEx employs 395,000 members of staff, with FedEx Express operating across twelve transport hubs globally. The carrier purchased an additional 24 Boeing 777 variants in 2018, maintaining their company’s position as the largest airline in terms of cargo haulage.