Supply Chain

From Raw Data to Actionable Insights: Techniques in Supply Chain Analytics

October 31, 2023

Since 2020, the global landscape of supply chains has been rough. Disruptions are becoming a frequent challenge for some or other reasons like COVID-19 lockdowns, poor economic outlook, wars, and many other factors. This has led to the cost of running a supply chain has also gone up. Only a few options are left for the companies to come out of this situation victorious. One such way is investing in supply chain analytics. The supply chain generates tons of data, pushing companies to increasingly lean on analytics to understand their supply chains better and find areas for further improvement. 

But why is supply chain analytics important? Today, when the world runs on data, understanding the finer details of your supply chain can be done through analytics. The ability to sift through vast amounts of data and extract meaningful insights can be the difference between winning and merely surviving.

3 Reasons Why Supply Chain Analytics is Essential for Business Success

1. Decision-Making with Data-Driven Insights:

Decision-making based on intuition or outdated data can lead to missed opportunities or costly mistakes. Supply chain analytics offers real-time and actionable insights, ensuring every decision, from inventory management to demand forecasting, is informed, timely, and accurate.

2. Optimized Operational Efficiency:

Complex supply chains often have hidden inefficiencies across different functions. Analytics shines a light on these areas, pinpointing areas with potential for improvement. By addressing them, businesses can significantly reduce costs, improve turnaround times, and flow from suppliers to end customers.

3. Proactive Risk Management:

Global supply chain uncertainties are at an all-time high, from geopolitical tensions to unforeseen events. Supply chain analytics helps businesses to anticipate and prepare for disruptions, delays, and challenges. Companies can develop their plan B on the fly when facing disruption and ensure minimum impact on the business.

Supply chain analytics is more than just any particular tool or system. Instead, it's a strategic initiative for a company. Many companies have invested substantially in this journey, and their investments have shown encouraging outcomes.

Let's look at three real-world examples of organizations that have harnessed the power of supply chain analytics.

UPS: Harnessing Predictive Analytics for Logistics

  • Background: UPS, a global shipping giant, delivers approximately 21 million packages daily, surging during peak times like the holiday season in December.
  • Challenge: Traditionally, UPS relied on historical data and expert insights to monitor package statuses.
  • Solution: UPS implemented the Harmonized Enterprise Analytics Tool (HEAT), a Business Intelligence platform powered by Google Cloud. This tool analyzes customer, operational, and planning data, providing real-time updates on every package within UPS's vast network.
  • Impact: HEAT processes over 5.3 petabytes of data weekly, utilizing predictive analytics, machine learning, and advanced forecasting. This has revolutionized UPS's planning, network management, and package processing.
  • Key Takeaway from Juan Perez, UPS's CIO: Data strategy is an ongoing journey. Continuous improvement and adaptation are essential to stay ahead and support business needs.

PepsiCo: Predicting Product Availability with Analytics

  • Background: PepsiCo, a leading food and beverage company, faced challenges with specific products being rapidly sold out during the early pandemic days.
  • Challenge: Predict product availability and ensure retailers are alerted when restocking.
  • Solution: PepsiCo's Sales Intelligence Platform was developed to automate operations. The platform predicts potential stockouts by merging retailer data with PepsiCo's supply chain information and prompts timely replenishments.
  • Impact: This focused approach on out-of-stock ensured that products were available to meet the sudden surge in demand.
  • Advice from Jason Fertel, PepsiCo's E-commerce Engineering Head: Concentrate on specific business challenges and seek enthusiastic early adopters for your projects.

Pfizer: Digital Transformation for Efficient Supply Chain Management

  • Background: Pfizer, a pharmaceutical powerhouse, had the monumental task of manufacturing and distributing the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine globally.
  • Challenge: Ensuring efficient manufacturing and uninterrupted supply of the vaccine.
  • Solution: Pfizer introduced the Global Supply – Digital Operations Center (DOC). This "cockpit" offers a consolidated view of manufacturing and supply performance data.
  • Impact: With the DOC, Pfizer identified ways to cut down to 10% of cycle time in specific manufacturing sectors. This ensured a steady supply of essential medicines, including the Covid-19 vaccine.
  • Insight from Lidia Fonseca, Pfizer's EVP, and CDTO: The DOC transformed collaboration and decision-making within manufacturing teams. Predictive tools enabled them to foresee potential issues and make real-time adjustments.

These case studies highlight the transformative power of supply chain analytics. By converting data into actionable insights, companies can navigate multiple known and unknown challenges, optimize operations, and stay ahead in the competitive landscape.

Holocene provides the support you need to help your business on this journey. Contact us today to discuss more.