What is supply chain analytics?

Supply chain analytics refers to the process by which organizations seek to understand and optimize their supply chains — the set of activities involved in delivering goods and services to customers. Understanding the supply chain typically involves gathering and analyzing information from multiple operational systems. These include systems used for procurement, inventory management, order management, warehousing, fulfillment, shipping and more. A supply chain analytics platform provides decision-makers with a comprehensive and up-to-date view of their supply chains to help them make more informed business decisions.

Supply chain analytics is about more than raw goods. While supply chain management (SCM) is often associated with the raw materials and sub-assemblies that serve as inputs to a manufacturing process, this is only part of the story. A supply chain analytics platform also needs to help analysts understand the nature of various facilities, mechanisms for transporting goods, and the routes between facilities and end customers. All of these factors can impact schedules, costs and organizational efficiency. Decisions around supply chains are complex. Besides component availability, organizations need to consider order lead times, inventory levels, pending orders, shipping costs and historical supplier performance.

How to use analytics in your supply chain management

While each of these functional applications typically has its own reporting capabilities, supply chain analytics is most effective when data from all these sources is integrated and viewed holistically. A supply chain analytics platform enables data from all of these sources to be combined in a single place to deliver a complete end-to-end view of the health of an organization’s supply chain. With a better understanding of their supply chain, organizations can:

  • Minimize inventory carrying costs
  • Optimize order fulfillment
  • Proactively manage material spending
  • Optimize supply chain planning
  • Avoid stockouts and safety stock levels
  • Manage suppliers and purchases

With a supply chain analytics platform, organizations can identify trends based on patterns in historical data. These insights can be used to develop predictive models that reduce costs and devise strategies to cope with possible future scenarios and minimize the chances of costly supply chain disruptions.

Supply chain analytics tools and platforms

Building a supply chain analytics platform in-house can be challenging. Organizations need to interface with multiple operational systems, and extracting and transforming operational data into useful information can involve significant data engineering work. Developing intuitive reports and dashboards that are useful to business users is usually time-consuming, expensive and hard to get right.

The Incorta supply chain analytics platform

Fortunately, Incorta can be used to provide a comprehensive supply chain analytics platform that can be deployed quickly and cost-effectively in the cloud with virtually no impact on production systems. With Incorta supply chain data analytics, customers can leverage prebuilt integrations with popular ERP and SCM systems. They also benefit from dozens of prebuilt dashboards and reports that can help analysts, logistics professionals and supply management teams answer business-level questions about their supply chain. By combining data from purchasing, sales and operations in a single data environment, supply chain analytics enables organizations to gain a full picture of customer orders, inventory levels, raw materials, work in progress (WIP) and finished goods, in addition to production schedules. By leveraging Incorta’s Blueprints, supply chain teams can accelerate the deployment of full supply chain dashboards and reports.