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Managing supply chain with BI Platforms: Optimizing operations and reducing costs

BI Platform_supply chain management

Supply chain management is key to the success of any business. To stay ahead of the competition, business leaders must find ways to tackle a variety of supply chain challenges ranging from unexpected disruptions and delays to rising costs. 

The best way to address these challenges is with smart, data-driven supply chain management. That’s where business intelligence (BI) platforms come into play. 

BI platforms help business leaders uncover valuable insights from their data so they’re able to make informed decisions about supply chain management. Taking advantage of these tools can be the difference between strong supply chain management and poor management decisions that hold the whole company back. 

Read on to learn how BI software and analytics are crucial in supply chain management. 

How BI platforms can help with operations and costs

Many of the current challenges in supply chain management are related to rising costs. Luckily, BI platform software — when applied correctly — is incredibly useful for reducing supply chain costs. 

High labor costs are currently a major supply chain concern right now, for example. Even since the start of the pandemic, there have been labor shortages in critical areas of the supply chain like warehousing and distribution. These labor shortages drive up labor costs and cause headaches for companies as they try to keep their supply chain costs low. 

Business leaders can use business intelligence software to reduce supply chain labor costs. The software will analyze key metrics to help businesses identify areas where they can cut costs. Beyond specific cost-cutting measures, BI software provides information business leaders use to streamline operations.  

Use cases for BI platforms in supply chain management

The use cases for BI software in supply chain management are nearly endless. Here are some of the top supply chain applications of this software: 

Demand forecasting

Even though no one can say with certainty what the future holds, business leaders are always trying to make predictions — especially when it comes to future demand. Companies need to forecast demand to minimize their risks and make intelligent decisions in the present. Demand forecasts help business leaders make inventory management decisions, capacity planning, and decisions about resource allocation. 

Unfortunately, demand forecasts are often inaccurate, leading management to make ill-informed business decisions. BI platform software can greatly increase the accuracy of demand forecasts and eliminate this problem.

Through artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics, BI platform software considers all your data to create accurate demand forecasts. The software doesn’t just use historical sales data. Instead, it combines that sales data with additional information like market sentiment, trends in the industry, and economic conditions. 

Inventory management

Inventory management is all about having the ideal quantity of goods in the right place at the right time. Of course, it’s easier said than done.  

Since the ideal inventory level is directly linked to customer demand, BI software supports better inventory management by improving demand forecasting. That’s not all the BI software does, though. Part of what makes BI software so powerful is the capacity for real-time analytics. Instead of waiting to gather and analyze historical inventory data, companies can make decisions based on the most recent, up-to-date data. Being able to analyze inventory levels and other key metrics in real-time changes inventory management entirely. 

BI tools can also analyze warehouse data to recommend the best places to store products. Then, business leaders may use the software to generate the most efficient picking routes for those products. 

Evaluating suppliers

So much supply chain activity occurs outside your company’s direct control. Instead, your suppliers control vital components of your company’s supply chain. That’s why working with the best, most reliable suppliers is so important. 

But how can companies determine which suppliers are reliable and trustworthy and which are not worth working with? BI software can play a role in that supplier evaluation process. With BI platform tools, you can compare different suppliers by analyzing data such as their prices, KPIs, compliance history, and other key metrics. 

And once you select your suppliers, BI tools also help you evaluate their performance. For example, keep track of their customer service metrics and defect rates to hold your vendors accountable. This analysis will make it easier to identify and get rid of poor-performing suppliers, saving your business money and frustration. 

Optimizing logistics

Logistics is another piece of the supply chain puzzle that BI platforms help with. From route optimization to predicting vehicle maintenance, BI platform will make optimizing your logistics and transportation easier.

For instance, the software can analyze driver behavior and recommend ways to save on fuel costs. Or, using traffic information and weather data, the software can generate the most efficient routes for delivery. If your company uses third-party logistics companies for deliveries, consider using BI software to find the best partners. 

Freight maintenance is costly and interruptive to a company’s supply chain operations. Analysts can use BI software to analyze vehicle data and conduct preventative maintenance, reducing downtime and costs. Your fleet will spend more time out on the road making deliveries and keeping your customers happy. 

In summary

Modern business leaders must rely on data to drive their decision-making — in supply chain management and all other business areas. Unfortunately, even as companies collect more and more data, extracting actionable insights from data is a challenge. BI platforms make that task much easier. 

These platforms help businesses analyze, visualize, and, most importantly, understand their data. In supply chain management, leaders can use BI software to forecast demand, plan ahead, and improve supplier evaluations — among other applications. 

The end result? Enterprises that use BI platforms in their supply chain management outpace their competitors and lay the groundwork for ongoing success. Leaders at those companies can make evidence-based decisions backed up by strong data and analysis. 

BI platforms like Live Earth can revolutionize your supply chain management and other business areas. Contact us today to schedule a call with our data streaming experts. 

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