Supply Chain Analytics: An Organization’s ultimate tool for achieving competitive advantage

Changing patterns in the international business, trade and currency, ever increasing and highly volatile customer demand, strategic alliances at all levels of business, increasing globalization, unstable investments by world investors have influenced the leaders of businesses to divert all their business strategies towards achieving objectives like cost minimization and maximization of return on assets. Continuous review of Supply Chain Management (SCM) using Supply Chain Analytics has emerged as the best alternative for global and international businesses to achieve these objectives. Majority of the companies have already adopted and implemented Supply Chain Analytics for understanding the performance of their supply chain and identifying the gaps and loopholes in the chain to provide more value to the customer and achieve competitive advantage. These organizations have moved away from concentrating on achieving merely the functional excellence through supply chain to obtaining strategic capability by leveraging the supply chain.

So, what’s this Supply Analytics all about? It a tool to assess the performance of supply chain and identify the hidden inefficiencies to achieve the ultimate objective of improving the total performance of the chain in terms of day-to-day operational, budgetary and financial, strategic and managerial aspects. The supply chain analytics consists of three major areas, i.e. Supply Chain, Data Analytics and Information Technology. It leads to better decision making, optimization and efficiency in the core capabilities of an organization’s supply chain like planning, sourcing and procurement, operations, logistics and distribution at all the three levels, i.e. Strategic, Tactical and Operational levels of an organization.

The supply chain analytics can be divided broadly into three categories. The first one deals with descriptive aspect, the second one deals with predictive aspect and the third one deals with prescriptive aspect. All the three aspects generally consider the Supply Chain Operational Reference (SCOR) model which is based on plan, source, make, deliver and return domains of the chain.

The descriptive aspect of analytics focuses on the use of data from global positioning systems (GPSs), RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips, and tools like data visualization to enable the supply chain managers with real time data and information about geographical location, inventory in supply chain etc. This aspect mainly provides information about what has happened in the supply chain in the past and what has been happening in the existing system.

Whereas, the predictive analytics aspect focuses on forecasting demand at all the three levels of an organization, i.e., the strategic level, tactical level and the operational level. All these levels involve in the planning, designing and developing the supply chain network, strategic alliances, supply chain integration, developing supply contracts, planning for capacity, material and inventory planning, order management and delivery to the ultimate customer. The aspect mainly predicts what is likely to happen in future in the supply chain system of an organization.

Finally, the prescriptive aspect of supply chain analytics concentrates on providing a solution to a supply chain issue to take an appropriate decision through mathematical modeling, optimization, simulation etc. This aspect mainly provides the prescription in terms of outcomes in the supply chain process.

By implementing all these aspects of supply chain analytics the companies can improve the accuracy of their forecasting levels, customer reach and efficiently manage their inventories to achieve cost reduction and competitive advantage in their businesses locally and internationally.

Management students aspiring to learn more about SCM and Analytics can take admission in Skyline University College, one of the best business and IT schools in Sharjah and Dubai, offering high-quality BBA, MBA and BS(IT) courses in Sharjah and gain the advantage of being the number one in these topics.

References:

“Supply Chain Analytics”, An article published in Analytics Magazine © 2018 published by INFORMS (the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences), University of Maryland, USA

 “Supply Chain Performance Analysis”, A report by Ernst & Young Global Limited, 2016

 “Supply Chain and Operations - Leverage the backbone of your business as a source of competitive advantage”, A Report by Deloitte, USA, 2014

 “Supply Chain Analytics”, A Case Study by Gilvan C. Souza, Harvard Business Review, 2014

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