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Turn Supply Chain Data into Actionable Information

Okay, so you’re committed to rolling out Business Intelligence across your supply chain, you have tons of data, so how do you turn that data in to actionable information?

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There is a continuum in terms of presentation of data that allows for continuous sophistication in understanding and interpreting data.

There are lots of ways to view data, but three that are particularly useful in supply-chain analytics are—Reporting, Scorecarding, and Benchmarking.

The simplest form of looking at data is what we have all seen dozens of times, we call it “Reporting”. Back in the day, reporting was numbers printed out on green bar paper, but today’s business intelligence reports are far more detailed and dynamic than in the past.

For instance, a business intelligence (BI) report of today displays all the data about transportation providers as usable information, in a scorecard format. Factors such as on-time delivery, freight cost per unit shipped, and transit time are assigned metrics and weighted averages to help users determine how well carriers are performing overall.

Operation managers and executives who want a quick, daily overview of what is happening in their transportation or supply chain network use dashboards to provide information in near real-time to help users understand what is happening within their network, and allows them to make proactive decisions to remedy problems as they occur. Where reporting is really like looking in the rearview mirror, dashboards are used to see what’s going on now, and makes it easier for users to identify trends and exceptions, and to intervene before something goes wrong.

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Dashboards can be implemented by companies to track all their real time data and provide detailed reports of information such as claims as a percent of freight cost, space utilization, fuel efficiency, vehicle time utilization. Essentially, the dashboard determines whether or not a transportation system is effective. Significant cost savings can occur when KPI’s are monitored and the data is accessible in a format that allows users to make informed decisions. The biggest advantage of using dashboards to present Business Intelligence data is that dashboards give companies the advantage of allowing, users to make decisions without having to wait for someone to pull and send reports.

Business Intelligence applied to supply chain also allows for benchmarking. Comparing data on factors such as freight rates and on-time delivery percentages against peers allows companies to get a more complete picture of their performance in the marketplace. Take freight rates, for example. Rates have fluctuate with the economy recently, so your job is really to assess whether or not a deal offered by a vendor is good or not. By benchmarking carriers against each other, you can easily see who is offering you the best deal.

Consistently monitoring and making informed decisions based on data is good business intelligence. As you become more mature in your supply chain analytics, you will be able to apply predictive and prescriptive analytics to find patterns in historical data that yield insights into future risks and opportunities in your supply chain and transportation networks. This predictive analysis capability uses real-time data-driven insights to speed decision-making and help create an optimized and responsive supply chain.

So as you think about rolling out a BI system. Think in terms of the applications, not the data. Think about what reports are important and how scorecards could improve your visibility into data. Develop dashboards to give you a look ahead, and use scorecards to make sure that you are getting the best deal from your vendors and suppliers.

Doing this allows you to see what you want, and get what you see.

Ray Major

About the Author
Ray Major is the Chief Strategist of Halo Business Intelligence. A data scientist, economist and statistician by training, he’s a life-long practitioner in the mysterious arts of data intelligence and analytics.

You can contact Ray by email at [email protected]com and also follow him on Twitter at @majorbi


Related: What Makes an Effective Analytics Group Part of Your Supply Chain Organization?


Article Topics
Best Practices   Technology   Big Data   Analytics   Business Intelligence   All topics


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24|7 Pro Team

The 24|7 Team is your direct pipeline to solutions for your business challenges. It's your opportunity to have supply chain and logistics experts look at your specific challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information.

The 24|7 Team will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list.

1
  Choose a topic for your RFP

Transportation RFP/RFI

The Transportation RFP is your direct pipeline to solutions for your transportation challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific transportation challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request.

Choosing the perfect software or system can be an indomitable challenge. Using this transportation/TMS RFP will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list.

Warehouse/DC Management RFP/RFI

The Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) RFP is your direct pipeline to solutions for your WMS challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific WMS challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request.

Choosing the perfect WMS solution can be an indomitable challenge. Using this WMS RFP will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your WMS Request for Proposal list.

Supply Chain RFP/RFI

The Supply Chain RFP is your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific challenges and needs, and receive free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information. It simplifies finding a pool of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list. The companies in the Logistics Planner have agreed to respond to your request for in-depth information and follow-up, and your request is totally confidential.

Software/Technology RFP/RFI

The Software/Technology is your direct pipeline to solutions for your logistics information technology challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific technology challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request. Whether it's WMS, TMS, Mobile or Cloud, our pros can help.

The companies listed below have agreed to respond to your request for in-depth information and follow-up. Your request is totally confidential.

Executive Education RFI

The Logistics and Supply Chain Education RFI can help you identify the schools, coursework, continuing education, distance learning and certification opportunities available from leading logistics educational institutions.

Upgrade and improve your logistics and supply chain skillsets. Whatever route you choose—advanced degree, executive education, certification or distance learning—the time and money you invest in your education today can pay off in continued career success tomorrow. Contact leading universities and professional institutions for the information you need to prepare for the future.

Third Party Logistics RFP/RFI

This 3PL Request for Proposal (RFP)/Request for Information (RFI) can help you find the 3PL and 4PL providers that can meet your specific 3PL service challenges and needs. The 3PL companies below will provide free, no-obligation third-party logistics advice, solutions, and information.

Ask your 3PL questions, you'll get answers. Simply complete the information, and detail your 3PL challenges. Then, check off the third-party logistics companies that you want to review your request.

1. Choose an RFI topic.
2. Enter your contact information and challenge.
3. Select companies and optional categories.
4. Submit.


2

Your Information



Your Challenge, Problem or Request *

3

Select Transportation Companies

  • Select All

  • 3Gtms
  • BluJay Solutions
  • CSX Trans. Intermodal
  • Kuebix
  • Landstar
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • One Network
  • Pitt Ohio
  • Purolator
  • Quintiq
  • SEKO Logistics
  • SMC3


Select Relevent Categories

  • Air Freight
  • Intermodal
  • Motor Freight
  • Ocean Freight
  • Rail Freight
  • TMS

Select Warehouse/DC Management Companies

  • Select All

  • 3PL Central
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • Honeywell Intelligrated
  • Kuebix
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Swisslog
  • Westfalia Technologies
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • Auto ID & Data Capture
  • Automation
  • Conveyors & Sortation
  • Lift Trucks
  • Packaging & Labeling
  • Pallets & Containers
  • Shelving & Racking
  • WMS

Select Supply Chain Companies

  • Select All

  • 3Gtms
  • 3PL Central
  • Amber Road
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • APICS
  • BluJay Solutions
  • CSX Trans. Intermodal
  • Frontier Business
  • Kuebix
  • Landstar
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Logility
  • One Network
  • Purolator
  • Quintiq
  • SMC3
  • Synchrono
  • TAKE Supply Chain
  • Westfalia Technologies
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • Global Trade
  • Inventory Management
  • Risk Management
  • Sustainability

Select Software/Technology Companies

  • Select All

  • 3GTMS
  • 3PL Central
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • BluJay Solutions
  • Honeywell Intelligrated
  • Frontier Business
  • Kuebix
  • Logility
  • One Network
  • Quintiq
  • SMC3
  • Swisslog Logistics
  • Synchrono
  • TAKE Supply Chain
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • ERP
  • Sales & Operations
  • Sourcing/Procurement
  • Optimization
  • Transportation Mgmt
  • Warehouse Mgmt

Select Executive Education Choices

  • Select All

  • Graduate Courses
  • Online/Distance
  • Executive Education
  • Certifications
  • Undergraduate
  • Seminars
  • Associations
  • Conferences
  • Tradeshows


Select Third Party Logistics Companies

  • Select All

  • 3PL Central
  • Landstar
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Purolator
  • SEKO Logistics
  • Westfalia Technologies


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