CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
February 21, 2020
CSCMP Notebook

Hot Topic: Using Data to Improve Supply Chain Operations

CSCMP publication offers key steps companies can take to get the most out their data.

The latest issue of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' (CSCMP's) Hot Topics publication looks at how data analytics can be used to improve supply chain operations and overall growth.

According to the Hot Topics author Bob Daymon, vice president of operations at Transplace, data analytics goes one step beyond key performance indicators. "KPIs tell you history while data analytics will tell a story that should lead to improved decision making," he explains.

There are a few key steps organizations can take to get the most out of their data. "Knowing the importance of data is only the first step," Daymon writes. "In order to truly put data to work for them, organizations need to have the right processes and strategies in place in order to access that data, analyze it, and then make it actionable."

Companies need to begin by identifying what data is most beneficial for them to gather. Once critical areas are measured and the data is collected, companies can then make that data actionable to drive meaningful change and create an agile supply chain. One way to accomplish this is through using business intelligence tools and reporting, according to Daymon.

The report provides five ways that companies can use these tools to improve supply chain performance:

  1. Create a comprehensive understanding of your transportation operation. Creating a comprehensive view of a company's transportation operations can help supply chain managers anticipate future shipping patterns, secure necessary capacity, and ensure optimal inventory levels.
  2. Improve end-to-end supply chain visibility. An efficient supply chain must track and trace the end-to-end movement of goods. Using a transportation management system can provide greater supply chain visibility and allows companies to track shipments in real time.
  3. Conduct advanced planning and forecasting. Supply chain managers can use data analytics to anticipate what may occur 12 to 18 months in the future and to conduct "what if" scenarios.
  4. Improve capacity planning. Shippers can use advanced data analyticsto ensure that they have enough transportation capacity and drivers to meet future demand.
  5. Improve customer service. Data analytics can be used to provide customers with more timely notifications about shipment status or fluctuations in cost and service. Predictive analytics can also help improve appointment scheduling and delivery tracking.

CSCMP Hot Topicsis free. You can obtain a copy of by visiting



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