Analytics for supply chain optimization may be the next big trend

Supply chain management is adapting rapidly as global business changes and becomes more complex, and real-time analytics may be the next trend for logistics managers, according to EBN. Each business faces different challenges; some companies may be trying to expand global reach in new markets while, others are attempting to optimize sourcing and manufacturing networks, Logistics Management said. As consumers feel they have more say, other organizations are meeting the challenge of multichannel distribution. 

Supply chain professionals have expressed greater interest in the development of real-time supply chain tools, EBN stated. Eighty percent of executives believed demand forecasting and planning tools would have greater importance by 2014. Supply chain software may need to adapt further before managers can see the benefits of analytics. Technology upgrades and implementing new systems takes some time, and it can be a large investment that companies are unwilling to risk. 

With a multichannel approach, there is a greater necessity for order accuracy because errors can negatively impact perception of a brand, Logistics Management said. Managers need to have greater control over inventory and be able to make real-time changes. Supply chain professionals want analytics because they want to be able to predict fluctuations in demand so they can respond accordingly. 

While supply chain executives understand the increased need for analytics as manufacturers and suppliers change, the data capabilities have not caught up to the industry yet, EBN said. Many companies do not currently have accurate data, so new analytics software will not quickly repair supply chain gaps. Organizations would need to make a considerable investment in an analytics platform before it could be used to predict demand or inventory fluctuations. Though it may prove to be useful in the future, supply chain analytics still needs to catch up before making a significant impact.

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  1. Analytics for supply chain optimization is not the next big trend, it has been adopted for several decades now. Companies like I2, Fourth Shift and STSC were early leaders in the 90's.