Supply chains empowered through business intelligence

Data use is spreading rapidly through corporate structures. The future of business intelligence is based on collaboration and effective use of information throughout a company. Freight Industry Times contributor Claire Umney recently stated that increased business intelligence software use in the supply chain could unlock unique value for firms.

Supply chain answer

There are a number of systems that go into an advanced and effective supply chain. Umney explained that there are five key performance indicators that can explain how well a company is operating its logistics arm. She encouraged firms to monitor how reliable, flexible, responsive, costly and efficient operations are to determine what needs improvement.

Umney’s suggested course of action for companies includes analytics tools. She stated that companies can extract the data they need from their enterprise resource management systems and turn it into important insight. When a business intelligence project is underway, Umney stated, it will produce results capable of helping numerous sections within a company and its close trading partners. In her view, every department from marketing to procurement can each harness its own set of BI reports for unique value.

“Visibility” has long been an important word in the supply chain field. According to Umney, the real way to achieve a full view of the supply chain involves harnessing business intelligence. Simply knowing what is happening in various sections of a firm through a stream of data is not useful to companies. The central promise of BI, no matter the function or department, is turning that information into actionable insight.

Umney linked the concepts of visibility and risk. Supply chains are in constant danger from a number of environmental factors. Transporting goods across the world, accepting the instability and threats that come along with such movements, requires constant faith and commitment from companies. Securing an edge in such a market, in Umney’s view, requires the transparency and effectiveness born from business intelligence.

Procurement efforts

Supply Management contributor Scott Hays explained how companies can take value from BI systems in the procurement processes in particular. He explained that some companies may believe that procurement processes are effective, as each individual section within the firm is getting what it requires. However, he asserted, if firms proceed without adding analytic scrutiny, they may be missing opportunities to take high-level actions that could improve processes and save money in ways that were not readily apparent.

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