Future of Supply Chain
Good Data Will Set You Free
Supply chain management and logistics cover a lot of ground: meeting with manufacturers, product planning, production and tooling capacity, inventory planning, third-party logistics relationships and fulfillment operations, and managing overseas production. But the best supply chain managers are also data analysts at heart. All the answers that you need are in good data somewhere.
The advent of big data has provided retailers with the most comprehensive end-to-end view of their business they’ve ever had. That has enabled smarter decision-making based on what customers are doing.
To get the most value out of that data, and run the most efficient supply chain possible, companies need two other things: talented employees to mine and make sense of the data, and strong partners that can help them raise their game and deliver great customer service. But first, let’s look at how the data can set you free.
The primary role of a retail supply chain manager today is to understand consumer demand and use that information to make sure the right product gets to the right place at the right time. Data available today gets us closer to our consumer base and helps us respond more quickly and effectively to their needs.
The primary role of a retail supply chain manager today is to understand consumer demand and use that information to make sure the right product gets to the right place at the right time.
That starts with point-of-sale information—crucial data captured by transactions taking place at the store-level in real time. Foot traffic in the store, buying patterns, and responses to promotions can all be integrated into planning and production processes. And today, companies can often get readings from across the industry to round out their own customer data.
Without information, you’re flying blind, vulnerable to mixed signals from customers. Lack of reliable customer data has historically stressed the supply chain, with huge peaks and valleys in the manufacturing industry to support customer demand trends that proved fleeting or illusory.
Once you have the data, you still need to make it readily available and interpret it correctly to make it actionable. Today’s technology and systems can help companies make smarter operational decisions, but it takes experienced people to extract all the value from the data. You need people who have analyzed end-to-end supply chain data to reduce inventory levels, increase forecast accuracy, and improve fill rates and on-time shipping performance. It requires people who understand how to reduce the costs of working capital and fulfillment, and to increase sales through better inventory management. Without that experience, you don’t know what you don’t know.
And once you have the data, technology, and personnel in place, you can amplify their value by building productive partnerships with organizations that can deliver expertise your organization lacks.
Without information, you’re flying blind, vulnerable to mixed signals from customers. The best supply chain managers are also data analysts at heart.
Start looking at partners and vendors as an extension of your internal team and treat them as such. This means collaborating closely with them, but also holding them accountable to deliver the targets on which you agree.
At S’well, for example, our core capability is to design a fashionable, functional water bottle that people love. We don’t want or need to develop internal expertise to get them manufactured, shipped, picked, packed, and fulfilled to consumers. But we do have to establish and maintain great partnerships to drive great results from those segments of our supply chain.
The best partnerships are designed as win-win relationships. I’ve got to be a good partner to my supplier and they’ve got to be a good partner to me. And that’s all a matter of delivering high quality on a regular basis, meeting deadlines, and service level agreements so that both parties derive value from the relationship.
And that brings us back to the data. There’s no reason to keep it to yourself. Your partners should know as much about your business as you do, because the more you’re informing them about your expectations and future forecasts, the more they’ll be able to plan efficiently and react to that. Sharing your data helps your partners deliver better service to today’s increasingly demanding retail customers.
Sharing your data helps your partners deliver better service to today’s increasingly demanding retail customers.
Supply chain management and logistics cover a lot of ground: meeting with manufacturers, product planning, production and tooling capacity, inventory planning, third-party logistics relationships and fulfillment operations, and managing overseas production.
But the best supply chain managers are also data analysts at heart. All the answers that you need are in your data somewhere. You just need the ability to mine your data to develop solutions that really make sense for yourself and the suppliers and partners that you rely on to surprise and delight your customers.
Disruptive Innovations and the Art of Warehousing
Ken Ackerman, The Ackerman Company
- Chapter 1: Supply Chain Disrupted
The Old Supply Chain: That System Is Broken, and We're Not Fixing It
Tina Sharkey, Brandless
We Are All in the Supply Chain Business Now
Neil Ackerman, Johnson & Johnson
Supply Chain Is the Heart of Business Today, Its People Are the Lifeblood
Dale Rogers, Arizona State University
- Chapter 2: Evolving Technology Drives Efficiency, Visibility, and Results
Supply Chain Collaboration Drives Business Opportunity
Rich Thompson, JLL
The Power of Supply Chain Design
Jeff Metersky, Llamasoft, Inc.
Fulfilling the Promise of Supply Chain IoT with Rain RFID
Jason Ivy, Impinj
Good Data Will Set You Free
John Heller, S'Well
- Chapter 3: Emerging Supply Chain Business Models
A Roadmap For Reshaping The Retail Supply Chain
eCommerce Logistics: Matching Real Estate with Demand
Steve Callaway, Prologis
Supply Chain Brings Challenges – and Opportunity
Kurt Beckett, NW Seaport Alliance
Self-Inflicted Wounds: Taking Stock of the Retail Industry
Ben Conwell, Cushman & Wakefield
- Chapter 4: Meeting Customer Demands and Supply Chain Professionals
Constrained Assets Add To Supply Chain Challenges
Scott McWilliams, Geodis
Balancing Technology With The Human Touch
Ryan Gorecki, Innovel Solutions
Embrace Supply Chain Innovation, But Don't Neglect The Fundamentals
Kevin Kryscio, Ace Hardware
In The Commerce Era, The Customer Wins
Bob Speith, QVC Group