Importance of Real-time Analytics in Supply Chain Management

“The supply chain stuff is really tricky!!” We aren’t saying this. Elon Musk did!

With time, in order to meet the increasing demand for faster turnaround times and competitive end-product pricing, supply chain operations have become very complex and distributed. Managers across departments, often, find it difficult to monitor progress of processes, identify causes of delay, monitor productivity, reduce risks and anticipate trends.


The need to gain unrestricted visibility into processes and achieve complete control over operations in the highly volatile sector of supply chain management, has driven companies to consider incorporating real-time analytics into their core processes. In fact, 66% of supply chain leaders are of the opinion that advanced supply chain analytics will be crucial to their operations in the next two to three years. Many organizations have already adopted business intelligence solutions with visual analytical dashboards, integrated with their enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, to gain greater business efficiency. But what are the exact benefits that these solutions can extend? Let’s take a closer look:

Driving visibility:

Globalization has led to an explosion of manufacturers, dealers, suppliers and distribution areas. While this amplifies business growth, it also demands unfaltering management of a complex network of the regional supply chain. Thus, organizations are looking for ways to improve visibility into their operations, across departments and beyond boundaries of locations. Real-time analytics brings to the table detailed reporting – the very basic requisite of visibility. Real-time monitoring of demand, critical events, KPI and transactions, not only improves control and cost efficiency but renders the business more agile by enhancing responsiveness to situations and ultimately minimizing customer impact. Take a look at how a leading jewelry manufacturer leveraged a business intelligence solution, enabled with automated KPI notifications, to gain complete visibility into stock levels and accordingly streamline their processes.

Driving volatility management:

Inaccurate forecasting is plaguing businesses everywhere – especially the ones in industries like healthcare, consumer goods, retail, automotive, and logistics. The instability in demand is driving businesses to adopt tools to gain real-time forecast ability, to respond to highly volatile markets that have no tolerance for bottlenecks. For example – while healthcare businesses cannot afford to be understocked, overstocking can lead to costly wastage for those that deal with consumer goods. Investing in real-time supply chain analytics can help businesses gain key inventory and forecasting metrics to combat volatility of markets.

Driving cost optimization:

Increasing operational costs inevitably affect budgets, working capital, cost of end-product and cash flow. Systematic and timely analysis of critical data can help to achieve cost optimization in areas including material sourcing, load planning, fleet sizing, route and freight costing. Detailed analysis of finances, capability constraints and potential supplier risk can minimize monetary loss in the later stages of supply chain management.

The revolution in real-time analytics is being driven by accessible technology and multiple, rich data sources. The data to insight to action process is indispensable for creating supply chain patterns that sense, run and change smartly. If implemented effectively, analytics can help to effectively manage fluctuating demand patterns in diverse and expanding markets. So, when are you implementing analytics to ensure enhanced business performance?

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