- While 94% of supply chain leaders say that digital transformation will fundamentally change supply chains in 2018, only 44% have a strategy ready.
- Forecast accuracy, demand patterns, product tracking traceability, transportation performance and analysis of product returns are use cases where analytics can close knowledge gaps.
These and other insights are from The Hackett Group study, Analytics: Laying the Foundation for Supply Chain Digital Transformation (10 pp., PDF, no opt-in). The study provides insightful data regarding the increasing importance of using analytics to drive improved supply chain performance. Data included in the study also illustrate how analytics is enabling business objectives across a range of industries. The study also provides the key points that need to be considered in creating a roadmap for implementing advanced supply chain analytics leading to digital transformation. It’s an interesting, insightful read on how analytics are revolutionizing supply chains in 2018 and beyond.
Key takeaways from the study include the following:
- 66% of supply chain leaders say advanced supply chain analytics are critically important to their supply chain operations in the next 2 to 3 years. The Hackett Group found the majority of supply chain leaders have a sense of urgency for getting advanced supply chain analytics implemented and contributing to current and future operations. The majority see the value of having advanced analytics that can scale across their entire supplier network.
- Improving forecast accuracy, optimizing transportation performance, improving product tracking & traceability and analyzing product returns are the use cases providing the greatest potential for analytics growth. Each of these use cases and the ones that are shown in the graphic below has information and knowledge gaps advanced supply chain analytics can fill. Of these top use cases, product tracking and traceability are one of the fastest growing due to the stringent quality standards defined by the US Food & Drug Administration in CFR 21 Sec. 820.65 for medical products manufacturers. The greater the complexity and cost of compliance with federally-mandated reporting and quality standards, the greater potential for advanced analytics to revolutionize supply chain performance.
- Optimizing production and sourcing to reduce total landed costs (56%) is the most important use case of advanced supply chain analytics in the next 2 to 3 years. The Hackett Group aggregated use cases across the four categories of reducing costs, improving quality, improving service and improving working capital (optimizing inventory). Respondents rank improving working capital (optimizing inventory) with the highest aggregated critical importance score of 39%, followed by reducing costs (29.5%), improving service (28.6%) and improving quality (25.75%).
- 44% of supply chain leaders are enhancing their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems’ functionality and integration to gain greater enterprise and supply chain-wide visibility. Respondents are relying on legacy ERP systems as their main systems of record for managing supply chain operations, and integrating advanced supply chain analytics to gain end-to-end supply network visibility. 94% of respondents consider virtual collaboration platforms for internal & external use the highest priority technology initiative they can accomplish in the next 2 to 3 years.
- The majority of companies are operating at stages 1 and 2 of the Hackett Group’s Supply chain analytics maturity model. A small percentage are at the stage 3 level of maturity according to the study’s results. Supply chain operations and performance scale up the model as processes and workflows are put in place to improve data quality, provide consistent real-time data and rely on a stable system of record that can deliver end-to-end supply chain analytics visibility. Integrating with external data becomes critically important as supply networks proliferate globally, as does the need to drive greater predictive analytics accuracy.
Bottom line: Big data is providing supplier networks with greater data accuracy, clarity, and insights, leading to more contextual intelligence shared across supply chains.
Forward-thinking manufacturers are orchestrating 80% or more of their supplier network activity outside their four walls, using big data and cloud-based technologies to get beyond the constraints of legacy Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Supply Chain Management (SCM) systems. For manufacturers whose business models are based on rapid product lifecycles and speed, legacy ERP systems are a bottleneck. Designed for delivering order, shipment and transactional data, these systems aren’t capable of scaling to meet the challenges supply chains face today.
Choosing to compete on accuracy, speed and quality forces supplier networks to get to a level of contextual intelligence not possible with legacy ERP and SCM systems. While many companies today haven’t yet adopted big data into their supply chain operations, these ten factors taken together will be the catalyst that get many moving on their journey.
The ten ways big data is revolutionizing supply chain management include:
- Enabling more complex supplier networks that focus on knowledge sharing and collaboration as the value-add over just completing transactions. Big data is revolutionizing how supplier networks form, grow, proliferate into new markets and mature over time. Transactions aren’t the only goal, creating knowledge-sharing networks is, based on the insights gained from big data analytics. The following graphic from Business Ecosystems Come Of Age (Deloitte University Press) (free, no opt-in) illustrates the progression of supply chains from networks or webs, where knowledge sharing becomes a priority.
- Big data and advanced analytics are being integrated into optimization tools, demand forecasting, integrated business planning and supplier collaboration & risk analytics at a quickening pace. These are the top four supply chain capabilities that Delotte found are currently in use form their recent study, Supply Chain Talent of the Future Findings from the 3rd Annual Supply Chain Survey (free, no opt-in). Control tower analytics and visualization are also on the roadmaps of supply chain teams currently running big data pilots.
- 64% of supply chain executives consider big data analytics a disruptive and important technology, setting the foundation for long-term change management in their organizations. SCM World’s latest Chief Supply Chain Officer Report provides a prioritization of the most disruptive technologies for supply chains as defined by the organizations’ members. The following graphic from the report provides insights into how senior supply chain executives are prioritizing big data analytics over other technologies.
- Using geoanalytics based on big data to merge and optimize delivery networks. The Boston Consulting Group provides insights into how big data is being put to use in supply chain management in the article Making Big Data Work: Supply Chain Management (free, opt-in). One of the examples provided is how the merger of two delivery networks was orchestrated and optimized using geoanalytics. The following graphic is from the article. Combining geoanalytics and big data sets could drastically reduce cable TV tech wait times and driving up service accuracy, fixing one of the most well-known service challenges of companies in that business.
- Greater contextual intelligence of how supply chain tactics, strategies and operations are influencing financial objectives. Supply chain visibility often refers to being able to see multiple supplier layers deep into a supply network. It’s been my experience that being able to track financial outcomes of supply chain decisions back to financial objectives is attainable, and with big data app integration to financial systems, very effective in industries with rapid inventory turns. Source: Turn Big Data Into Big Visibility.
- Traceability and recalls are by nature data-intensive, making big data’s contribution potentially significant. Big data has the potential to provide improved traceability performance and reduce the thousands of hours lost just trying to access, integrate and manage product databases that provide data on where products are in the field needing to be recalled or retrofitted.
- Increasing supplier quality from supplier audit to inbound inspection and final assembly with big data. IBM has developed a quality early-warning system that detects and then defines a prioritization framework that isolates quality problem faster than more traditional methods, including Statistical Process Control (SPC). The early-warning system is deployed upstream of suppliers and extends out to products in the field.