Big data analysis becoming more usefulLogistic managers are receiving information "every time a sensor is pinged or a barcode is scanned," DCVelocity recently noted, creating a wealth of information about how products and raw materials move through a supply chain. The data is being used to streamline operations and create a more efficient supply chain.

According to DCVelocity, there are a number of operational areas where "big data" analysis can be helpful to the supply chain, including radio-frequency identification, which can track a product's location at any point in time. The analysis could lead to drastic changes in supply chain execution to facilitate more efficient delivery. However, more information about consumer behavior will also impact supply chain management in the near-term.

While computers have collected this data for some time, technological advancements are making it increasingly easy to sort through a large amount of data to determine what consumers are purchasing and how often they are purchasing these items.

"Think of pulling information from texts like e-mails or comments left on a warehouse management system," said Aditya Naila of DreamOrbit, one of the vendors developing this kind of software. "Because this is unstructured data, traditional tools couldn't make much of them."
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