Few industries boast supply chains equal in complexity to those in the manufacturing sector, yet the industry as a whole has been slow to apply the power of data to daily operations. This leaves companies of all sizes poised to implement a timely and nearly fail-safe opportunity to achieve cost-savings and revenue growth.

By Jeff Eiben, Principal Owner, River Point Technology

Backed by facts

Above the industry average in revenue growth and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT): According to a Deloitte study1 of 400 company executives, this highly coveted designation is achieved by approximately 75 percent of organizations deemed to have superior supply chain capabilities, as compared to fewer than 10 percent of companies whose supply chains are performing at less than an optimal level. Based on those findings, it’s a safe bet that an investment in a data-compliant IT architecture and supply chain optimization will be a winning decision in 2017.
Silos and stagnant data
Decision makers are most effective when they are equipped with a comprehensive and accurate set of data. Access to sufficient data is not the problem. In fact, the sources seem limitless: orders, shipments, inventory, sales, invoicing, transportation, assets, downtime, staffing, salaries and nearly every other aspect of daily operations. Unfortunately, many companies are operating in the realm of disjointed business systems, scattered data storage and archaic recordkeeping. Without a central repository, data trickles in from one departmental silo at a time. Some data will be lost
along the way and even more will arrive in a variety of formats that make unified reporting impossible. Plus, a percentage of the compiled data will be outdated before it ever reaches the desks of decision makers. This incomplete and stagnant picture does little to help companies evaluate their risks and opportunities.

Consolidation and real-time data
Consolidation immediately enhances the organization and security of data, but its value extends much further into the role of supply chain optimization. Instead of viewing one supply chain link independent of all others, data consolidation provides insight into how the performance of one link impacts the performance of others. A robust collection of data can be analyzed in multiple ways, so that every “if this, then that” scenario can be considered. In turn, this vast amount of business intelligence can contribute significantly to informed decisions, operational efficiencies and enhanced fiscal
management. This level of business intelligence is in itself a virtual return on investment.

Keeping up with IT Lingo

New tech terms keep popping up to describe advances in technology. The terms and the technologies they define are all important to your business strategy, but keeping up with the lingo can be a real challenge. The following are a few of the most common terms:

• Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data are synonymous; both are based on the premise that virtually everything will one day be connected to the internet. For your business, that means more and more data to manage.

• Data Explosion is similar to IoT; it is another way of referencing the rapid increase of information and the potential data overload that could eventually hinder your business operations.

• Data 360o goes beyond a point-in-time, rearview mirror view of data. Data 360o means that you are always looking at a simultaneous view of multiple sources of data, which gives you great perspective and brings you one step closer to predictive analysis and more informed decision making.

• Cloud Computing works a little like electricity. Cloud computing gives you all of the data storage space you need, as you need it. This means that you don’t have to continually absorb the cost of growing your in-house data storage or risk the loss of information.

• Evergreen Storage refers to “forever” storage that grows with your company’s needs.

• Disruptive Innovation refers to the adoption of new technologies that change the way you do business. Companies that engage in disruptive innovation take advantage of technology to advance their businesses with creative and more efficient processes.
• Data Breaches occur when an unauthorized person gains access to confidential information. Data breaches pose significant liability for your business in terms of cost, reputation and business sustainability.

To view the full article contact Deirdre Morgan.

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