Supply Chain Agility Begins with Analytics

Data can unlock new opportunities by demonstrating agility and the ability to meet ever-changing demands.

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When it comes to consumerism, instant gratification is the name of the game. E-commerce giants like Amazon have created two-day shipping norms and powered a new global mindset with big expectations. But the “I want it right now” mentality extends beyond the teenager shopping for laptops online. Retailers are also raising their standards and requiring manufacturers and warehouses to step up and meet new demand.

Whether it’s big-box retailers like Walmart fining suppliers whose orders aren’t on time and in full 98 percent of the time, or smaller brick and mortar stores instilling chargebacks into contracts, suppliers are on the hook to meet deadlines or pay the price. Leading companies are turning to supply chain technology and analytics to ensure agility and combat the new demands of today’s competitive landscape.

Many manufacturers that lack the resources and in-house support to ensure delivery precision are leveraging supply chain technology to achieve one critical goal: increased visibility – especially since only six percent of professionals claim to have full visibility into their supply chain.

Global supply chains can have hundreds of touchpoints throughout the value chain, and this complexity makes it difficult to keep track of order life cycles which can result in costly delivery delays or incorrect shipments. With the right data analytics, suppliers can take back control of their orders with a new level of real-time visibility – one that allows them to get ahead of issues before they arise and ensure delivery goals are met.

In fact, a cutting-edge analytics solution can allow suppliers to reconcile invoices against purchase orders, shipment documentation, and receipts to identify quantity and price discrepancies. This empowers faster, smarter decision-making to ultimately eliminate costly fines and fees, prevent late payments and late shipments, and realize revenue faster.

Fueling Agility with Collaboration

Another challenge plaguing manufacturers is around the difficulties associated with aggregating data and streamlining EDI (electronic data interchange). Today, too many organizations are still relying on the IT team or outside consultants to manage EDI requests. This process is time-consuming, reactive and costly, and limits the amount of collaboration, insight, and actionable intelligence supply chain leaders can derive.

The smarter approach involves leveraging modern technology. Enabling technology equips teams to consolidate information that’s scattered throughout multiple systems and makes EDI accessible for all users in all departments. And since different departments and trading partners view and interpret supply chain data in slightly different ways, this allows everyone to get on the same page without any grey area.

This level of collaboration allows for even faster decision-making by establishing a data-driven, self-service supply chain culture. Everyone in the organization is able to share information, work together, and solve problems collaboratively, without relying on IT resources. In a nutshell, it creates the perfect environment for supply chain speed and precision, and encourages accountability for all.

As of 2017, a typical supply chain accesses 50 times more data than just five years earlier. However, less than a quarter of this data was being analyzed. When manufacturers harness the power of their underutilized data with analytics for control, visibility and collaboration, they’re able to get ahead of problems, and understand why and where previous orders went wrong.

The results speak for themselves. According to industry analyst IDC, leveraging the right analytics tools will result in a 15 percent productivity boost by the end of 2021. Supply chain tech and data analytics help manufacturers innovate, drive cost reductions, improve service and meet customer expectations more efficiently than ever.

Plus, as industries continue to become more cluttered with competition, the supply chain becomes the differentiator. Businesses can use it as leverage to provide quick and accurate service, or they can allow it to weigh them down and burn brand reputation and customer relationships.

It’s time to build resiliency through agility in the supply chain, and technology can help bring your company there.

Michael Rabinowitz is the Founder and CEO ofCoEnterprise.

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