Big data analytics in supply chain


The amount of available data has rapidly grown in recent years as a result of the globalization of the world's economy and was further encouraged by the ubiquity of the internet, social media networks and mobile devices. The amount of data is currently doubling in volume every two years and is expected to account for 40 trillion GB by 2020.


The continuously growing amount of available data has accelerated the emergence of numerous business intelligence applications that are summarized under the term Big Data Analytics (BDA). Accelerators of data volume growth include, inter alia, the internet of things (IoT), sensor technology enabled tracking, cloud computing, social media feeds and computerized mobile devices.


All functions from “source to sell” will be affected, initiatives of BDA in SCM. The following are critical concern areas for BDA implementation:

  1. Transition of the traditional role of SCM within organizations will increase the importance of human expertise and strategic decision-making.

  2. Increasing dynamics in the business environment of SCM rang in a new age of volatility and complexity.

  3. SCs need to be aligned with changing customer preferences to enable the provision of sustainable and individual products and logistics services.

  4. Digitization of operations in production, warehousing and transport logistics intensifies the digital transformation of SCM.

  5. Various disruptive technologies and trans-formative business model innovations are on the rise with the potential to reshape entire supply ecosystems.

Supply chain (SC) processes will become increasingly automated and traditional tasks of SCM will be substituted as a result, following exemplary performances improvements are expected with BDA applications:

  1. Demand forecasting are expected to become significantly more accurate.

  2. Inventories may be substantially reduced to lower levels.

  3. Management of suppliers will be improved.

  4. Increased operational efficiency and productivity.

  5. Reduction of uncertainty of SC operations.

  6. Fast decision-making and responses to SC disruptions.

  7. Increased network visibility and transparency.

  8. Great impact on SC resilience, SC agility and responsiveness, SC sustainability and SC innovation capabilities.

SCM gains the opportunity to evolve its core competence to more sophisticated decision-making tasks, since intuition, trust and experience are expected to remain key competences that cannot be simulated in the near future.


Presented By,

Azhar Qadri

BE, PE, CDDP, CSCM, CSCA,CSCP, CSSC


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.


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