How Better Supply Chain Data Quality Improves Operations

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Whether your focus is on improving operations and logistics or looking for ways to monitor customer service levels to improve customer retention, supply chain data quality is crucial to improve operational management.  Best practices in supply chain planning include everything from managing operations and logistics to managing data quality with a single source of truth, achieved with platforms such as Vanguard Predictive Planning™. 

Supply chains have millions of data points to manage.  The systems that generate or manage this data vary from enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems that manage core processes of an organization to customer relationship process (CRM) systems that handle interactions with current or future customers.  Without a single source of truth in place, each of these systems can have different versions of the same data element, making collaboration between departments complex and the potential for risk high. 

With so many data silos and multiple versions of data, errors from manual entries, and inaccurate data, this issue multiplies over time without using a solution that applies a single source of truth to improve data quality. 

Leaving traditional supply chain planning practices behind and moving to a modern solution: 

  • Reduces data quality issues 
  • Improves operational efficiencies by aligning data 
  • Increases group collaborations 
  • Improves the customer experience 
  • Saves resources through automation 
  • Reduces risks 

Lets look at these in more detail. 

The value of accurate forecasting 

Accurate forecasting is essential for supply chains to manage future demand. 

Supply chains must decipher market signals and align demand planning throughout the operation to help meet the bottom line.  This process helps optimize forecasting accuracy and ensures better resource allocation. 

Strategies might include 

  • Enabling collaboration between sales, demand, and supply teams 
  • Opening up your supply chain to customers and vendors 
  • Orchestrating demand-driven responses through better visibility across operations and synchronizing demand signals 
  • Leveraging an integrated supply chain planning platform 

Breaking down point-of-sale data 

When a supply chain targets their sell-through data, it helps them analyze their actual sales data from end-to-end, not just sales orders.  This data is different than what a retailer has on the shelf or what a distributor has in stock. 

Predictive and advanced analytics give you a more accurate understanding of future sales.  They can gauge inventory levels and inventory replenishment requirements and explore ways to achieve future success by meeting demand accurately and efficiently while reducing costs. 

Integrated business planning 

Your organization should incorporate integrated business planning across multiple lines of business.  This planning, for example, provides the finance office with have real-time visibility into changes in the demand for their products and resources.  It also enables additional funding for supply chains to add more resources, make acquisitions of new machinery, or add a new warehouse.  Integrating both long- and short-term planning processes throughout your business is essential to align corporate goals.  These can include 

  • Tactical short-range planning for a year or less 
  • Strategic planning that focuses on direction and allocation of resources and labor 
  • Operational planning that links objectives and strategies with milestones 

While these planning approaches have differences, they are all integrally related.  Supply chain planning should include predictive and prescriptive analytics to take the guesswork out of decision-making. 

Collaborations with customers and supplier relationships 

Understanding customer relationships is vital to your business. However, don’t forget to develop relationships with suppliers.  Collaborative relationships establish programs with channel partners and customers, prioritizing supply chains that want to manage demand. 

By collecting and analyzing data and developing key collaborations, your business can improve insights, optimize the customer experience, and have better relationships with suppliers and vendors. 

Many Vanguard clients expose their supply plans in real-time with their vendors for confirmation or, at least, to improve visibility.  This collaboration and communication reduces potential issues with suppliers. 

Continuous improvements in the customer experience 

More businesses are exploring customer-driven supply chain strategies that require software to identify seasonal products or merchandise correlated to other leading factors.  For example, generators have a sales spike when a hurricane is in the forecast, typically in the summer. 

To help gather insight into customer behaviors for future demand, use demand forecasting and demand planning software to improve forecasting accuracy.  Inventory optimization software targets appropriate inventory levels to allow supply chains to know how much inventory to carry at which locations 

In Conclusion 

Supply chains that leverage a modern solution with a single source of truth achieve excellence in supply chain management.  As a result, they improve operations and execute effective and accurate decision-making.  Vanguard Predictive Planning™ is a best-of-breed supply chain planning platform that enables these best practices. 

To learn more about Vanguard Predictive Planning™, request a custom demo of the platform.