How Data is Driving Supply Chain Visibility

Supply Chain is the epitome to successfully improving profits and gaining an edge over the competition. In short, it has now become an integral part of profit-making decisions.

E-commerce has shown immense growth in the supply chain industry due to an increase in online shopping. With the emergence of companies like Amazon, customers expect their orders to reach them within 24 to 48 hours.

This requires a complete overhaul in the current supply chain operations for most of the companies. Companies that have successfully optimized their supply chains have seen enormous growth in profits.

The key to any successful supply chain lies in data. To efficiently run any supply chain operation – small or large – clean & quality data is essential for any meaningful data-driven decision making. At the moment, quantity and quality of data is the biggest hurdle that is giving supply chain managers sleepless nights.

Challenges to supply chain

Today, the demands of the customer for faster delivery due to the rise in e-commerce is challenging every step of the supply chain. To maintain a smooth supply chain, businesses need visibility over every part of it for any uncertainty & errors.

Visibility in supply chain brings transparency at all stages like inventory management, manufacturing, customer feedbacks, transportation etc. When a company has visibility across all stages of a supply chain, it can start focusing on finding problems which impact the efficiency and ultimately repair or eliminate them within no time.

Enterprises or managers who lack complete supply chain visibility are prone to future inimical circumstances because they are either working on the basis of incomplete, missing and unclean data or they are not able to take full advantage of the data at hand.

Most companies aren’t sure on how to utilize this data correctly and integrate it with platforms. The idea of integrating big-data with a supply chain based platform is to predict and avoid future problems and errors.

But all these results will become meaningless if the data on which visibility software works is based on substandard or is incomplete. For a supply chain visibility platform to run efficiently, a continuous flow of clean and complete data is required.

The main job of supply chain visibility platforms is to facilitate smarter decisions which ultimately brings customers satisfaction & profits and, if the data is of substandard quality then even the best of supply chain solutions will provide poor results.

Challenges to Data

The challenges for supply chains in modern times is the access to data and its quality.

Access to Data

Where most companies put endless hours of human resource is in finding, collecting and compiling the data for their inventories & shipments, most of them still find it challenging to gather the complete data.

To gather valuable insights, a streamlined and controlled data source is required which can enhance supply chain intelligence. The problem lies within the third party vendor and services these companies are bound to use due to lack of in-house resources or to simplify their focus. It is with these sources that most of the data is hidden and not made available for assessment. This restricts the flow of good data to improve supply chain intelligence.

Quality of Data

When the data is being available from third-party vendors, it has a lot of errors, missed out information and discontinuation. This data needs a process of cleansing, classification and aligning before integrating it with current supply chain visibility solutions.

If the data is not properly mapped together before adding to a platform, it leads to complexity and process interruptions in the future. A continuous flow of trustable data is essential for generating meaningful & actionable insights.

The Other part of the Problem

When there is access to quality data, it can be used with effective supply chain visibility platforms available today to generate analytics & insights which can later be trained to dedicated actions itself.

The most important step to fulfill specific needs for the company is to focus on a platform which meets their required metrics. A complete supply chain platform must offer the right tools and technologies needed to bring those results.

In a 2014 study by Accenture, big-data analytics has helped in bringing these changes to supply chains.

  • Fulfillment of demand & customer service
  • A decrease in reaction time of supply chain errors
  • Efficiency in the supply chain
  • Supply chain integration
  • Asset productivity & Inventory optimization

A combination of these big data capabilities with the power of latest technologies like IoT & Artificial Intelligence solves this part of the problem.

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT is defined as devices that are connected to the internet and can communicate with each other to share & collect data. IoT devices can generate ample quantity of high-quality data which can later be leveraged by supply chain visibility platforms to orchestrate the entire supply chain into a single, 360-degree view with a customer at the center of it.

Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

AI & ML are being used in almost every field today to automate day to days tasks and perform high-intensity functions that humans are incapable of. While AI is the process to make machines learn or imitate human behavior, Machine Learning enables the system to learn and improve based on data it is fed with. So a combination of these both along with the data generated through IoT can create wonders for the large, fast moving & ever unpredictable supply chain of modern times

In this regard, NebulARC’s BEO is a supply chain visibility platform that allows companies to manage all of their assets that are either “At-Rest, In-Transit and/or Operational” from a single platform & with most granular details.

It gathers and provides quality & cleansed data about the assets in real-time & 24/7 through the state-of-the-art IoT platform, which can then be easily utilized to generate actionable insights through the AI-powered, Machine Learning cloud interface. This gives companies from any industry to take complete control over their assets & the data at all times, hence leading to end-to-end visibility & transparency to improve operational efficiencies, customer satisfaction & maximum profit generation across the supply chain.


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