Supply Chain Analytics – Why Invest?
Contribution by Rahul Gollamudi, Senior Supply Chain Consultant at Bristlecone
Thanks to rapid leaps in technology, the world is becoming a smaller place. What does this mean for organizations? They need to each find their own space and make it theirs as exclusively as possible. A differential gain can prove to be a significant advantage. However, the level of insight needed to accomplish this is far behind the speed at which business dynamics change and impact each organization’s own ecosphere. The most obvious place to start would be the supply chain, since it offers the widest scope for competitive advantage.
Companies have been looking at case studies and past trends for far too long. The modern markets do not allow for much extrapolation or inference from the past. It is essential now that we look to predict what comes next and consider every constraint possible in doing so. Extenuating circumstances need to be modelled in, synergies and hindrances must be factored in.
Key questions need to be tackled and analysis must be done as close to the outcome as possible – at the most granular level possible. The analysis must not only be accurate but also fast.
Supply Chain Analytics (SCA) is increasing in importance for this very reason. It provides clear, actionable insights that help accelerate the decision making process. SCA not only leverages the investments already made to provide detailed information, but also helps maximize these very investments by improving the returns.
SCA provides visibility to all parts of the company – sales, marketing, operations, support and finance and helps them identify and resolve key issues.
SCA, in a nutshell, helps organizations deal with the following critical elements of business:
Reduce cost and improve profitability: Successful SCA results in revenue growth and improved cash flow
Reduce risk and increase flexibility: Global supply chain integration
Improve the ability to respond to market dynamics while maintaining control over the supply chain: Improve demand and inventory management with desired levels of customer service
SCA outcomes include advanced dashboards, detailed reports, multidimensional forecasting, cost sensitivity analysis, routing optimizers, channel data streamlining and production strategies. The organization that manages to optimally combine these capabilities to extract maximum value will move significantly forward in the race to be a domain leader.
Perhaps an important reason why SCA initiatives may not have fetched desired results in some companies is the reliance on internal expertise, which may be lacking. By working with outside SCA experts, companies can reduce the risk of failure and tap into the experience and expertise of these consultants.
Although it may seem a daunting task, planning growth around SCA can reap dividends. By first identifying the foremost critical functions and then using SCA to drill down into specific issues in these functions, organizations can start the growth process by acting upon these results. Once the benefit has been realized and appreciated, the next level of advanced analytics can be brought in to further drive value and considerably strengthen the company’s foothold in the market.