Combining Visibility with Analytics in Supply Chains

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Key Takeaways

⇨ Supply chain visibility has consistently emerged as a top requirement across all SAPinsider’s research, including the most recent research Building Resilient and Agile Supply Chains Leveraging Data, Analytics, and Automation.

⇨ While it is certainly helpful to understand where your products and materials are, the real value of visibility solutions lies in the analytics that needs to be leveraged on this visibility data.

Supply chain visibility has consistently emerged as a top requirement across all SAPinsider’s research, including the most recent research report Building Resilient and Agile Supply Chains Leveraging Data, Analytics, and Automation. All leading visibility solutions provide holistic visibility into the movement of products and materials in end-to-end supply chain networks. However, while knowing where and how products and materials move in the supply chain is beneficial, the true value of visibility is in the analysis of visibility data. The session, “Procurement Innovation in The Age of Inflation,” presented by James Marland, Global Vice President, Sales Excellence, Intelligent Spend & Business Network, during SAPinsider Vegas 2023, discussed the criticality of generating insights from supply chain visibility data to create real value through analytics.

Let us understand this need with the help of an example. An organization’s visibility solution allows it to track material movements in real-time based on certain aspects, like where shipments are in their journey and the expected delivery date. While this visibility is valuable, organizations can interpret this data further and gain more insights into their operations.

During the session, Marland elucidated how SAP Business Network facilitates this by providing an example illustrating different analytics types on the visibility data. The descriptive analytics aspects pertain to shipment details and a risk score. This risk score is calculated on the planned shipment delivery date, the consignment’s current state, the shipment’s planned status, and external and internal data inputs like the weather. Based on these parameters, the solution assigns a risk score useful in understanding disruptions’ possibilities.

A network graph of an end-to-end supply chain is an example of useful descriptive analytics. Network visibility penetrating beyond your suppliers’ first tier is a powerful visualization and helps in understanding the possible complexities and risks in supply chains. SAP Business Network also provides the capability to get supplier details in the network and a complete understanding of their profile.

The prescriptive analytics aspect helps planners and managers understand the impact of these risks on their plans and understand mitigation options. The solution flags which sales orders might be at risk due to a possible shipment delay. This level of granularity is essential for supply chain and manufacturing planners. The solution suggests the procedure planners must undertake to mitigate or minimize disruption risks in this scenario.

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