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Enabling and delivering analytics capabilities

Enabling and delivering analytics capabilities
I think the key area where analytics going to add value to companies is providing global visibility. Supply chains are becoming more extended, managers are tending to work above market and global service centres and they really can’t see the detail of what’s happening in the supply chain anymore. They can’t see the performance, and in particular, they can’t see the performance of their processes. Analytics can provide that insight and show them areas where they need to intervene to improve processes and behaviours in the company. So why do companies have difficulty with this when they’ve got integrated ERP systems? They’re probably got even global planning systems in place.
And the reason is despite having those systems, the information’s still in the functional silos and to get the real insight of performance and how they can improve, you need to pull together sales and marketing information with supply chain information with manufacturing information to get a full picture of how the supply chain is performing. And its analytic tools and capabilities can provide that and the only things that can do that. The key benefit is to support the change management process in the business. That with the analytics bringing together that cross-functional information, you can show people what’s really happening in the business and you can show it in a way that people can understand.
So if you bring together analytic information to cross-functional forums like SMOP forums where you’ve got sales and marketing people, finance people supply chain and manufacturing people, they really can see the full picture of how the supply chain is operating and they can get that common understanding. And then with the analytics you can actually start answering questions as to why it’s happening and what’s going wrong and what you can do about it. And so I think that breaks the inertia and you can break through to making decisions to change things and taking actions to correct processes, and that’s how you create value.
I think with the tools you can link the transactional data with master data and so you can create insights by drilling up and down and people can get big picture understanding of the business and detail. And the other thing with the new visualisation tools, you don’t have to present the data was numbers and charts. You can actually present it more graphically and more intuitively and so people can really understand which part of the business are performing well or badly by looking at pictures, really. So I think that will help people who aren’t good at numbers to still use analytics.

Do you have to be good at numbers to use supply chain analytics tools?

As he explains in the video, Andy Birtwistle (Supply Chain Director, Concentra) believes not. The way in which a new emerging breed of analytics tools enable visualises data into ‘pictures’ enables us to see the full picture and creates a common understanding. In turn it enables us to see what is working well, and not so well, to guide us to take decisions that drive improvement. It is not so much about ‘big data’ but the decisions that the analysed and visualised data enables us to make.

As Andy explains, supply chain analytics can be particularly useful in enabling more holistic business decisions. Concentra’s SupplyVue tool pulls together data from sales and marketing, manufacturing and supply chain into one view. This view can be interrogated from a range of different perspectives and support ‘best for business’, rather than ‘best for function’ decision making. It shows the business where to intervene, to improve processes behaviours and ultimately business performance. It is part of a new breed of analytics solutions that help to ‘reveal’ the current state, ‘diagnose’ areas for improvement, ‘model’ the potential benefit of the improvement and ‘track’ progress.

Such tools are critical to ensuring strategic alignment is maintained across a business. They could also prove to be the missing link in helping us to gain visibility of the end to end supply chain, and move beyond ‘best for business’ to ‘best for supply chain decisions.

If you are interested in hearing more from Andrew on supply chain analytics solutions, please watch Andrew’s full presentation to the WMG Supply Chains in Practice event on YouTube: Enabling and delivering analytics capabilities (21:48)
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Supply Chains in Practice: How Things Get to You

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