Businesses are increasingly recognising the importance of Supply Chain Management (SCM) in the overall performance of their operations. In the Gartner “Hype Cycle for Supply Chain Management 2012” , Gartner analyst says that “After years of a cost-cutting focus, SCM continues to rise up the corporate agenda.” In fact, effective SCM presents a clear path for beating financial inefficiencies and retaining important customers, and is becoming increasingly important across industry.
For example, a large car manufacturing company needs to be able to efficiently manage the supply of new cars to depots and retailers both nationwide and at a global level. Delays or poorly managed unplanned events are costly both in terms of customer relations and monetary penalties, and therefore need to be spotted early in order for potential errors to be rectified at the first opportunity.
However, achieving effective SCM is no minor undertaking. Quoting Gartner in the above mentioned report “The military term “VUCA” (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) aptly describes the environment in which most supply chains now operate”. Facing this challenge, organisations are increasingly recognising the inability of traditional BI tools to deliver the real-time insight into key performance indicators that need to monitor activity and mitigate risks. The time has come to look into new, innovative technological approaches that are better suited to turn SCM into a competitive differentiator.
Here, effective in-memory analytics tools can be invaluable. The technology allows large amounts of data to be analysed in real-time or ‘on the fly’ as needed, to pre-empt potential holes in the supply chain; ensuring issues are caught early, rectified or accounted for swiftly. This makes the business more reliable for its customers, and prevents last minute penalties in scenarios that are often avoidable. There is growing momentum for in-memory analytical technologies poised to become an enabler of effective SCM. Quoting Gartner, “Overall, SCM technology innovation continues, with functional systems, such as transportation and demand planning, continuing to be developed and enhanced to support functional performance increases. New capabilities are evolving in technology areas that take advantage of in-memory/high-speed analytical processing, extremely large datasets and cloud-based platform (providing infrastructure elasticity and easier integration/on boarding capabilities).”
Ultimately, for SCM, the latest technologies help facilitate customer demands and strengthen existing client relationships. Now that analysts are linking the benefits of analytics technology with SCM, it is highly likely that the most forward thinking businesses will follow suit – as some already have. It’s time for the benefits of the most cutting edge technology to be recognised outside of the financial services arena, with this latest step representing the first towards industry-wide adoption.
Gartner, Hype Cycle for Supply Chain Management 2012 by Tim Payne, 27th July 2012. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.