Utilising big data for true supply chain transparency

  • Written by Peter Needle
  • Published on 4 April 2019
  • Blogs

Companies are beginning to understand just how useful big data analytics can be in helping to provide the infrastructure for true supply chain clarity.

Big data is not a new concept, but companies are now beginning to understand just how useful it can be in uncovering important insights and patterns. 97% of supply chain executives understand the benefits of big data analytics and why they are useful to utilise as part of their supply chain management. However, only 17% report having already implemented analytics in at least one of their supply chain functions.

Big data helps to provide the infrastructure for true supply chain clarity and ensures that decisions made have sound reasoning to back them up.

By allowing businesses to harness large volumes of data from multiple sources, quickly and efficiently, deeper insight into the whole supply network can be gained. This can help to improve visibility across the chain, which gives businesses a competitive advantage when it comes to risk management and decision making.

Measurable improvements in efficiency, agility and traceability

According to Accenture, embedding big data analytics in operations can lead to:

  • measurable improvement in supply chain efficiency
  • faster and more effective reaction times to supply chain issues
  • better traceability across the network

90% of companies say that agility and speed are important to their business. Being able to quickly and flexibly meet consumer demand is one of the biggest drivers of competitive advantage across all industries. Employing big data analytics can help companies improve order-to-delivery cycle times and cut down reaction times to supply issues. Having the ability to respond to issues as soon as they arise greatly decreases risk by preventing problems from having a knock on effect further down the chain.  

Supply chain risk is often very closely linked to traceability, and both are a growing concern for many retailers. Improving traceability can help to provide better visibility and predictability across the network and help businesses develop a solid risk management plan for every eventuality. By analysing historical data, risk mapping and scenario planning, businesses can assess the likelihood of issues and their potential impact, allowing them to implement effective early warning systems and mitigate risk.

Supply chain management with big data integration

Collecting such vast amounts of information and processing it can prove to be a challenge, and the usefulness of big data also relies heavily on a businesses’ access to the appropriate figures and information. With Segura users are able to collect data that can span hundreds or thousands of suppliers and factories across many geographies, quickly and easily. With access to data which encompasses their entire network, businesses can be sure they are getting the most out of their big data analytics. Segura also effortlessly integrates with existing PLM and ERP systems for an even deeper level of understanding.

By fully mapping their supply chain with Segura, retailers can be notified of risks far more quickly through inbuilt data feeds. News feeds provide alerts based on the locations of suppliers, allowing businesses to quickly see if any of their vendors are in areas likely to be hit by natural disasters or political upheaval in the near future. This knowledge can prove invaluable, especially if a retailer has many suppliers in areas which are prone to these kind of events, and enables businesses to avoid disruptions by having backup suppliers ready in place. Financial feeds also offer insight into business finance and stability, alerting retailers of any developments which may have an impact on their production process.

Increased visibility of a supply chain gives clarity to a complicated network, allowing data which was previously hidden in numerous systems to become easily accessible. Greater insight into ordering and transactions can improve efficiency and help to minimise risk, such as identifying instances of when a component or service is sourced from only one supplier with no backups in place. This gives retailers vital information for risk analysis and can help to reduce costs as a result. Having the ability to trace back all components to their exact supplier can also prove useful in addressing faults and other quality issues, helping to prevent the same issues from happening with future batches.

Originally Published 17/05/2016



Like what you see? We've got plenty more where that came from.