Effective supply chain management minimizes cost, waste and time in the production cycle. The industry standard has become a just-in-time supply chain where retail sales automatically signal replenishment orders to manufacturers. Retail shelves can then be restocked almost as quickly as product is sold. One way to further improve on this process is to analyze the data from supply chain partners to see where further improvements can be made.
By analyzing partner data, Perkins and Wailgum identify three scenarios where effective supply chain management increases value to the supply chain cycle:
- Identifying potential problems. When a customer orders more product than the manufacturer can deliver, the buyer can complain of poor service. Through data analysis, manufacturers may be able to anticipate the shortage before the buyer is disappointed.
- Optimizing price dynamically. Seasonal products have a limited shelf life. At the end of the season, these products are typically scrapped or sold at deep discounts. Airlines, hotels and others with perishable “products” typically adjust prices dynamically to meet demand. By using analytic software, similar forecasting techniques can improve margins, even for hard goods.
- Improving the allocation of “available to promise” inventory. Analytical software tools help to dynamically allocate resources and schedule work based on the sales forecast, actual orders and promised delivery of raw materials. Manufacturers can confirm a product delivery date when the order is placed – significantly reducing incorrectly-filled orders.