Supply Chain Big Data: Why Supply Chain Leaders Are Using Big Data Analytics

Supply chain industry leaders have access to more information today than ever before in history. Thanks to data gathering programs, supply chain software, and data entry applications, this represents a mountain of data, which has the potential to provide ground-breaking insight into how to improve business-model efficiency. As a result, business leaders can reap a significant return on investment by thoroughly analyzing this data. Unfortunately, some may not understand what supply chain big data truly is, how it is useful, and why they need to take advantage of it as soon as possible.

What Is Supply Chain Big Data?

Supply Chain big data is the ultimate compilation of data gathered in the course of business. This includes risk analysis, detailed reports of how a supply chain functions, and even lead generation. Big data is collected from a variety of sources, such as internet websites, transportation management systems, individual-employee data entry, and more.

How Does Big Data Improve a Supply Chain?

Big data is nothing more than a conglomeration of facts, figures, and processes in raw form. However, this data needs to be carefully sorted and analyzed to find its true value.  Supply chain leaders understand big data can greatly improve business efficiency, which translates into four primary forms of improvement.

Lead Generation

Lead generation is at the heart of every enterprise in the world; it can transform a very small business into an international corporate giant.  A modern business is on the verge of faltering if it does not take advantage of the online market. However, designing a website is simply not enough to understand how it affects a business.  Supply chain leaders need to be able to see how a visitor becomes a customer, who will then further promote the supply chain and increase production. Ultimately, being able to analyze data gathered from websites enhances the customer journey and provides a near-endless pool of leads for use.

Customer Expectations

Customer service is all about pleasing the customer and exceeding their expectations. However, unorganized supply chains can quickly cause a customer to abandon a purchase and provide negative feedback about the company across social media, word-of-mouth, and many other mediums.  Big data analytics allows supply chain leaders to identify what portions of the customer journey are threatened. Therefore, he or she can alter the current state of business to propel the customer’s needs and wants into the spotlight, which is the best policy for business. In fact, an Accenture study proved this point by identifying how businesses that have implemented enterprise-wide big data analytics have seen significant strides in a variety of factors from order-to-delivery cycles to rapid dispute resolution.

Social Media and Big Data Analytics

Big data has a huge impact on social media for the supply chain. Social media is a vital portion of the majority of the marketplace. Facebook has more than 4 billion registered users. Furthermore, modern supply chain leaders understand the omnipresent social media plays in business.  However, the wrong post or information on social media can be detrimental to a supply chain. Big data provides insight into how customers, or followers, want to be engaged with the supply chain through social media. Social media outlets optimized by big data include LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, and many more. By identifying key social media outlets, a supply chain leader can make decisions that reflect company values and improve consumer confidence.

Big Data and Supply Chain Optimization

In addition to optimizing social media outlets for a supply chain, supply chain big data can optimize the actual order fulfillment process. Accenture’s report reveals how enterprise-wide big data impacted the supply chain with the following key findings.

  • Increase of 50% in optimization of inventory and asset productivity.
  • Increase of 48% in integration efforts across the entire supply chain.
  • 55% more efficient process in the cost to serve consumers, which infers the cost of single order fulfillment, decreased per transaction. Therefore, saving the supply chain valuable resources to enhance other aspects of the business.

By identifying how, when, where, and why the supply chain lacks efficiency, supply chain leaders can make improvements to current processes, which will increase productivity, reduce costs, and provide a greater ROI.

Modern supply chain leaders do not have to rely on the routine visual inspection of a supply chain to assess its current functionality and efficiency. Although visual inspection is crucial in some areas, such as safety matters, big data will greatly influence the success of control when used in the appropriate ways. The ultimate goal of the supply chain is to get a given product to a consumer as fast as possible. Big data analytics gives supply chain leaders a way to reach this goal. When a supply chain leader opts to ignore big data, the company will have a huge likelihood of failure, or at least inability to grow and expand.


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