In a recent study by The Hackett Group on the digital transformation of the supply chain, the overall consensus is that data analytics will be a major catalyst for change in 2018.
The study examines the impact of data analytics on performance in supply chain organizations, as well as in other industries. It revealed that 66% of supply chain leaders believe advanced analytics are critically important to their business operations in the next 2 to 3 years.
As for the strategy over the next 2 to 3 years, respondents plan to use data to drive performance in four key areas; cost reduction, inventory optimization, improving quality, and improving working capital and service.
Despite the generally bullish statistics on data adoption, the respondents of the study did reveal that there were factors that impeded their ability to capitalize on these areas. These factors included internal and external information silos and disparate processes across functions and locations amongst others.
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The study also delivered insights into how supply chain-related technology would play an important role in shaping businesses over the next 2-3 years.
83% of respondents felt that the ability to integrate different systems to improve transactional flows was important. Supply chain tools such as QuickBooks Commerce come with an expansive suite of integrations to connect every part of a business's operations and be a single source of truth for merchants.
75% of respondents added that being able to integrate tech platforms to better manage an omni-channel model was important. Omni-channel business tools like QuickBooks Commerce become especially helpful because they are able to integrate eCommerce with B2B sales and brick-and-mortar stores seamlessly.
In terms of being cost efficient, as well as providing a better customer service experience, 82% of respondents felt that using online tools would be a vital part of their processes.
Looking further into the future of supply chain, the study sheds light on more complex areas that advanced data analytics could still optimize, such as:
Currently, the majority of organizations that The Hackett Group interacted with for this study fall into stage 1 and 2 of their supply chain analytics maturity model, as shown below;
Stage 1 and 2 companies are still relying on manual methods to collect data and have employed some basic data visualization tools. Their analytical capabilities range from being descriptive to diagnostic and they still have not started using end-end tools to do more predictive and prescriptive analytics.
Tools that would help an organization move to stage 3 and 4 should have five key elements, as shown below;
QuickBooks Commerce Intelligence is a tool that provides thousands of wholesalers and retailers with end-to-end data analysis. With its granular reporting capabilities, Intelligence optimizes every part of your business operations. You can forecast sales over time periods to refine procurement processes, track spikes and slumps geographically or even calculate the commission of your sales team. The tool comes with your cloud-based QuickBooks Commerce account, and has access to all your sales data, across all your channels. You can save reports for future reference or export them. What’s more, the interactive dashboard gives you vital information at a glance.
QuickBooks Commerce Intelligence is a powerful tool that will help your business use data analytics in predictive and prescriptive ways. As concluded by The Hackett Group, when tools like that are implemented effectively and run efficiently, companies will be able to drive vastly improved, insight-driven business results, and create a sustainable competitive advantage.
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