How can big data help my supply chain?

When people speak of data science they often talk about Hadoop, Cassandra and such technologies. However I am still a data scientist and don’t use such technologies.

In fact I think that Operations Research, cleaning Data and using Python, R and MySQL can be sufficient for a lot of Logistics.

 Supply Chain performance programs should have three objectives:

  • (1) improve the efficiency of decision-making processes throughout supply chain operations by synchronizing production plans, inventory control, transportation policies;
  • (2) integrate the core business processes of planning and budgeting with supply chain operations;
  •  (3) achieve system-wide cost reductions through global optimization. Optimizing each component of the supply chain does not usually imply total optimization and off-the-shelf solutions do not fully guarantee either smooth integration or global cost optimization (Chen et al. 2006).

Applying a holisitc or total systems management approach to managing the entire flow of materials, services and information in fulfilling customers’ expectation is sometimes conflictive with managerial objectives who focus on optimizing their internal operations.

Key performance indicators utilized to track departmental performance do not guarrantee system-wide performance optimization and in many cases are conflictive. Arbitrations or trade-offs are in most cases subject to personal views (biases), interorgnaizational politics or short-term gains, lacking an integrated framework.

Having the different components of a supply chain system perform independently may lead to inefficiencies from systems, processes fighting each other.

My favorite part of data science is producing data products that help people make business decisions. I like to have my hands on KPIs, integrating analytics and users needs into new product design. Building data products is one of the most exciting parts of data science. And I truly believe that data makes the world go around. In a series of future posts I’ll talk a bit about big data in logistics.

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