Supply Chain Management (SCM) is the management of the flow of goods and services, raw material, maintaining inventory and order fulfilment. The SCM sector is always on its toes, constantly moving and extremely dynamic.
But as the adage goes ‘Change is the Only Constant’ –it applies to the SCM sector too. For an SCM business, any change needs to be foreseen, analysed, and based on information and analytics. And for that to happen, there is a need for intelligence – to be specific ‘Business Intelligence’.
What is Business Intelligence?
Business intelligence (BI) is the implementation of technology and strategies which analyse company data to provide historical, current and predictive views of the business. BI provides real-time statistics of business. Typically, a business leader would like answers to questions like:
- What’s the current state of my business?
- Why is it at the current state?
- Where is it heading?
The answers to the above questions allow informed decision making and also the ability to anticipate change and take necessary actions.
To summarize, business intelligence helps in:
- More accurate reporting, analysis or planning.
- Better business decisions.
- Improved operational efficiency.
- Improved order fulfilment.
- Increased competitive advantage & revenues.
Applying BI in SCM
Supply Chain is a set of intricate systems, functioning independently but moving simultaneously. Several factors drive the demand for integrating BI in SCM. One of the main drivers is the need for granular information. Professionals need to benchmark operations, identify the negative trends, root causes and take corrective actions. A ‘Red flag’ is a dreaded situation in SCM and Logistics operations. BI helps in:
Converting Data into Information
While data is being generated, understanding it, discovering trends and converting it to useful information is important. BI presents data in three different ways:
|Reports:||Business Intelligence reports can be extremely detailed. Elements like On-time deliveries, Capacity availability, Impact of maintenance schedules can help a transporter immensely.|
|Real-Time Dashboards:||Dashboards which present processed data about the daily operations. Dashboards also help in giving a ‘quick view’ of problems as they occur, this also enables quick informed reactions.|
|Benchmarking:||Very important to improve efficiencies. A simple case could be - the time required to pull out and package a product of a certain dimension from the warehouse. Once the optimum time is understood, it can be improved or maintained, making warehousing a nimble and sure fitted function.|
|Demand Planning:||Festive seasons are the times when Supply chain managers are in hyperdrive. But with the help of BI, the expected demand for the oncoming festive season can be anticipated and the needful resources are aligned/ sourced. By combining historical figures and the sales pipeline, a business can also estimate the time and resources required to fulfil demand.|
|Distribution tracking:||Fulfilling an order is the main objective. With an efficient BI platform, a manager can track whether the deliveries are happening on time or not. External factors such as weather, or situation which was experienced recently during the pandemic, information about ‘containment areas’ can help transporters track if their fleet is adhering to the service level agreements.|
|Inventory levels:||Businesses like to avoid a surplus or deficit inventory levels. With inbuilt demand predictions, a BI platform helps to maintain optimum inventory levels.|
With the integration of BI, the information generated is comprehensive and helps in building a successful strategy.
What to look for in a BI platform?
When it comes to choosing a BI platform for a supply chain business, the following abilities need to be considered:
Root Cause analysis
Flexible & Scalable
|Every system is generating information. Making credible sense out of it is crucial.||Assisting business managers to pin point a root cause of is an very important||Does the platform have role-based views for transporters, managers and decision makers?||Nobody would want their systems to fail during a busy season, due to the load.|
People Plus Software Inc’s iM3 SCM Suite satisfies all the above conditions. iM3 SCM suite is an intelligent cloud-based SCM and WMS platform. The suite can be integrated with existing ERP systems to provide analytics and real-time dashboards for informed decision making.
People Plus Software is aleader in providing intelligent solutions for the dynamic SCM sector.