Submitted on Wed, 2014-08-20
By Jim Laverty

Leverage the power of big data to improve your supply chain’s performance and supercharge business growth.

Big Data Means Big Money for Supply Chains

Your supply chain plays an incredibly important role in growing your revenue. Take the time to analyze your supply chain operations to decrease costs and increase your efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction levels - the keys to boosting profits. By opening up new analytical channels and analyzing the data you already have, you can unlock the secrets to business growth. Big data can help transform your supply chain and drive considerable growth throughout your entire business in the following ways:

 

Cutting Waste and Costs

Simply put: you don’t know what you don’t know. You can guess all you want, but nothing beats having that cold, hard data in front of you to lend complete transparency to your supply chain. If you aren’t tracking your supply chain and producing actionable data, you can’t identify anomalies or inefficiencies that lay within it very easily. You don’t have the real-time and actionable data to pinpoint the exact bottlenecks where waste is occurring and come up with a solution as efficiently and effectively as possible. Big data also allows you to anticipate supply chain disruptions on the fly so you can correct your processes before they become an issue.

With more than 50% of warehouse labor costs associated with picking and shipping, it’s a great candidate to be the first place to utilize big data. Even small gains in efficiency can have a huge impact on your profitability. By analyzing data from your orders, inventory, warehouse layouts, picking times, and much more, you can put your labor in the best place to succeed. Big data can also help root out fraud and abuse. With a clear picture of every aspect of your supply chain, you can ensure that your partners are invoicing you correctly and every part of the contract is being upheld.

 

Gaining a Better Understanding of Your Customer

The better you are able to anticipate your customers’ needs, the better you’ll be able to grow your revenue. Research from Accenture has found that the fastest growing companies in the world are able to target and respond to consumer behavior, and there’s no better way to do that than through the effective use of big data. You’ll learn more about what your customers want, why they want it, and you’ll be able to beat your competition to emerging markets. By having an adaptive and agile culture in place at your company, you can use that data you’ve compiled and analyzed to create value for your customers, and keep them coming back.

 

Improving Customer Experience

Once you understand your customers and their motives, not only can you better anticipate buying trends and demand, but you can learn the best ways to make them happy as well. As the single largest factor in generating customer satisfaction in your business, the supply chain plays a vital and often underappreciated role in growing a business. Imagine a world where you can let your customers know exactly what time you plan on making their delivery. Big data allows you to do that, by analyzing weather, traffic, and driver GPS feeds for the area impacted.

 

Real Life Examples of Big Data Usage in the Supply Chain

Here are a few actual cases where big data transformed how an organization operated along its supply chain:

  • By utilizing a warehouse management system with advanced data capturing capabilities, a distribution center was able to get to the root of an issue they were having with forklift-related product damage. The usual suspects weren’t to blame (time of day, who was driving, where the impacts happened), but by cross referencing crash times with weather conditions, the warehouse was able to determine that the extra humidity was the culprit. High humidity was leading to slick floors  By running an extra dehumidifier during periods of high humidity, the warehouse was able to save considerable time and money on damaged product. [source]
     
  • A logistics company implemented on-board data recorders on all their trucks to help reduce accident rates amongst its drivers. The GPS recorders captured just about every move the trucks made and allowed the logistics company to connect crash rates to specific driving behaviors. The way a driver rode onto and off of highway ramps to and from the highway played a big role in crashes, for instance. The company is now able to correct this behavior amongst its drivers during their training. [source]

There’s no shortage of ways that big data can help optimize the supply chain in order to drive business growth.

 

Learn More About Running a Profitable Supply Chain

Through effective supply chain management, you can take control of the customer journey to provide the highest level of service. Learn more about how you can reduce costs by exploring some of our other blog posts and giving our experts a call to talk about how your organization can run a more profitable supply chain.

Blog Type: 
IRMS WM Blog
Innovative Technology Solutions