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From Reactive to Proactive: Big Data Analytics & Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management, COVID-19 (Coronavirus), DemandCaster, Food & Beverage
February 27, 2024

Traditional supplier management consisted of spreadsheets, planner experience, and a lot of guesswork.

Decisions were made based on dated, error-prone information and human analysis using spreadsheets or old standalone software.

This reality forced companies into a reactive position. Because data was compiled and analyzed after events had occurred, there was little planning professionals could do except respond to correct or “true up” numbers.

However, technology has progressed today, allowing supply chain planners and managers to use big data analytics as a crucial digital building block in business processes.

As companies embrace advanced data analytics as part of their supply chain management, they have moved from reactive to proactive responses.

Why a Proactive Response Matters

Recent years have seen unprecedented disruptions in business. These include:

  • Climate change and mitigation initiatives
  • A reduced labor pool for critical manufacturing jobs
  • Rapidly shifting consumer preferences with more sophistication and a push for mass customization
  • Lingering impact from Covid-19
  • Regional disruptions from trade wars and global conflicts

A proactive response is critical for most companies and existential for others, given the number of complex variables placing constraints on supply chains. As a result, supply chain professionals are rethinking and redesigning their systems to act quickly and with resilience.

Benefits of Big Data Analytics in the Supply Chain

The use of big data analytics in supply chain software offers significant benefits. The software allows managers to identify trends and patterns within large data sets. It creates the opportunity for visibility from end-to-end that was not possible previously.

Key benefits include:

  1. Improved Demand Forecasting – Data analytics uses these patterns and trends alongside historical sales to create accurate forecasts. Software and analytics can sense demand and provide an optimized plan for meeting it.
  2. Lower Inventory Cost – With more accurate forecasting, planners can use data analytics to identify optimal reorder points, automate inventory ordering and adjustments to stock orders, and eliminate costly human errors by automating transactional data.
  3. Improved Logistics – With energy and labor driving up transportation costs, data analytics can help streamline logistics. End-to-end visibility across the supply chain allows companies to use a “control tower” approach to improve timing and reduce expediting.

Examples of Proactive Supply Chain Management

Many industries have been forced to adopt big data analytics to survive. One example where proactive supply chain management has had an enormous impact is the food and beverage industry. A rapidly changing and expanding regulatory and compliance environment has placed new pressure on companies for traceability.

Using advanced software and analytics allows food and beverage companies to trace their products digitally at any point. IoT sensors, fleet monitoring, and other advances drive visibility. They enable them to head off contamination expiry issues and meet shifting demand quickly as real-time data is analyzed and made available to planners.

Another example is the automotive industry. The shift to a significant proportion of autos to EVs means that identifying demand and consumer preference for models and features is even more critical than before as producers struggle to manage complex inventories for battery and internal combustion builds.

Big data analytics within a robust software platform helps hold down the cost of inventory while ensuring the right parts and quantities for both. It also helps automotive manufacturers efficiently service customer demand for custom builds and features.

Address Tomorrow’s Problems with Today’s Insights

With supply chain disruption becoming the norm instead of the exception, you can’t afford to be reactive.

Demand and supply planning software from Plex DemandCaster lets you develop accurate forecasts and a resilient supply chain using real-time data.

The software’s advanced analytics provides actionable insights to execute your plan confidently and proactively. Contact us to learn more about our solutions so you can respond before problems occur.

About the Author

Plex DemandCaster Supply Chain Planning

Plex DemandCaster