How Businesses Can Leverage Data To Manage Supply Chain Issues
How can businesses leverage data to help mitigate the impact of supply chain disruptions on consumers? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Answer by Joel McKelvey, VP of Product and Partner Marketing at Sisu Data, on Quora:
In order for companies to mitigate the impact of supply chain issues, they need to ask themselves three questions: what happened, why did it happen (most businesses struggle with this to find out), and what to do next. Sisu works with a variety of eCommerce customers, manufacturers, and suppliers around the globe that are faced with answering these tough questions. When you are a large company, such as some of the large retailers we work with at Sisu, there is heavy importance placed on remediating supply chain incidents and increasing efficiencies – even small adjustments can make a huge difference.
To optimize the supply chain and get ahead of issues like late orders, order processing delays, and damaged orders, retailers need fast, comprehensive, and actionable insights. Most of the time businesses’ answers to avoiding and addressing these issues are likely somewhere in their data. The issue is that a data analyst’s process to sift through to find those answers is usually as complex as the data itself (read: very). Companies’ data is sourced from myriad areas across an organization, it is not as simple as whether or not a package was delivered successfully, the outcome of a delivery can be affected by almost every component of an organization. For a lost order, the variables impacting the outcome could stem from a website issue, order processing, manufacturing, warehouse, transport, etc.
If someone wants to know why their business experienced a shipping delay, the ability to iterate beyond that question of why there was a shipping delay in Kansas or why was there a shipping delay in Kansas on Tuesday with a specific vendor is stunted because it takes data teams days to solely answer that initial question of why there was a shipping delay. It takes data teams days, and even weeks, to uncover the cause of a shipping delay which hurts businesses immensely – the longer it takes to identify the root of the issue, the higher the risk of perished goods and lost businesses. To avoid surprises, businesses need a comprehensive analysis of all of their data to envision the full picture and pinpoint challenges and optimization opportunities.
Businesses need actionable results from their data. It’s not helpful to manually look at a thousand possible reasons why an order was late, but statistically being able to target the top 10 possibilities to focus on. Business leaders and decision-making teams first questions when presented with data are typically – “can we slice it by this variable?” or “Can we look into this variable’s impact?” The answer is yes, data analysts can dig deeper into those questions, but that process can take days on end. However, the ability to iterate in real-time is important, it prevents a milk truck from spoiling or a candle from being melted in the heat.
This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.