Supply chain executives believe they could make smarter decisions and increase profitability if they were "armed" with the right analytical software.
Seventy-five percent of the 191 top supply chain officers who took part in a June 2012 Aberdeen Group survey said their decision making could be improved with the use of proper analytics, defined as special software tools built to discern patterns or trends in supply chain and logistics operations. Aberdeen Senior Research Analyst Bob Heaney detailed the survey results in a presentation at Dematic's 27th Annual Material Handling and Logistics Conference in Park City, Utah, where more than 400 people gathered in early September to hear presentations on the latest supply chain and material handling developments and trends.
Respondents to the research firm's survey said predictive analytical software would help them to achieve cost savings, increase profitability, and differentiate their customer service from that of competitors. Heaney said that 44 percent of the survey respondents are currently using analytics to improve internal processes for forecasting, pricing, and planning promotions as well as for making mid-course corrections. In addition, 37 percent said they are optimizing inventory based on predictive analytics for customer demand or service levels. Another 35 percent are using analytics to "transform" their supply chains.
The Aberdeen analyst said the survey findings revealed that the number one pressure on supply chain executives is the need to manage the growing complexity of global operations. Survey respondents said that supply chain complexity is increasing due to longer lead times, expansion into more countries, and an increase in the numbers of suppliers, partners, and carriers.