Ushering in the Era of Insights-Driven Supply Chain
Expectations are higher than ever due to new technology that makes shopping bigger, better, faster and easier. These rising demands have caused brands to think about how to leverage technology in a way that delivers a top-tier consumer experience from start to finish. To navigate this transformation, many companies are turning to supply chain solutions providers to help implement digital technologies in their supply chain — and just like today’s consumer, brands should have equally high expectations of new partners.
Today’s forward-thinking supply chain solutions providers understand that in the digital age, the best way to drive business value is to harness insights from big data within their supply chain. With the right tools in place, brands can leverage real-time analytics and customer data to inform more proactive decision-making, better comprehend consumer preferences and introduce more flexibility into the supply chain. The right supply chain partner knows how to implement and manage this in a way that unites physical and digital supply chains end-to-end and enhances each step of the process.
An insights-driven supply chain can transform the demand planning process by aggregating and analyzing big data, often in conjunction with artificial intelligence (AI). AI solutions can identify and maximize opportunities that humans may not recognize on their own, helping brands to understand customer demand and ensure their inventories match this demand ahead of time. AI can then look at forecasting-related data coming in — from where products are stored in a warehouse to how quickly products are moving — and assess which forecasting algorithm has the most predictive power. Such foresight can help prevent product excess or shortages and optimize sales opportunities.
Still, even with new insights, siloes of information across the supply can complicate forming a cohesive big picture. A sophisticated supply chain partner like ModusLink simplifies this by uniting those siloes and offering detailed reporting and analysis so clients can easily keep track of activity.
Manufacturing facilities have much to gain from an insights-driven approach when coupled with the implementation of digital enhancements such as the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT solutions increase operational efficiency and reduce potential breakdowns by enabling real-time visibility at every level of the supply chain — providing a real-time snapshot of global logistics operations so companies can identify deficiencies and delays that will affect the bottom line. In addition to this, supply chain partners are now offering cloud-based solutions that allow IoT device producers and product manufacturers to connect smart devices to the cloud and collect service and usage data that can be used to improve consumer service throughout the supply chain.
To satisfy high consumer expectations, brands need to reduce the time from click to fulfillment, requiring a level of flexibility that one warehouse may not be able to provide. One benefit of partnering with a supply chain solutions provider like ModusLink is gaining access into a network of strategically located warehouses that minimize the distance to consumers. Coupled with insights-driven planning, this helps to avoid product shortages per consumer area, speed up delivery and reduce shipping costs.
Replenishment is also optimized in the insights-driven supply chain. As IoT devices increase in popularity, connected devices and products are generating large quantities of usage information for brands to take advantage of. A solution like ModusLink’s Poetic Service Cloud Solution can help companies capture recurring themes within their revenue streams and monitor real-time consumption, as well as virtual inventories, and use that information to trigger automated replenishment to the point of use. This capability ensures customers get the immediate delivery experience they want and satisfies what should be the end-goal of today’s companies: retaining customer loyalty.
Ultimately, the era of the insights-driven supply chain has arrived, and only companies that learn to leverage digital technologies and analytics will be able to keep up with consumer expectations. To learn how ModusLink can help brands meet and exceed those expectations, please visit our solutions page. For more information on how IoT is transforming the supply chain, download this whitepaper.
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