This past March, after a container ship became stuck in the Suez Canal, the global supply chain was disrupted for days. Though this incident exposed many problems in our global landscape, flaws in the way supply chains operate were especially apparent. However, utilizing a fully connected supply chain, with predictive analytics, may help companies navigate significant curveballs, such as the blockage at the Suez canal, in the future.
In today’s ever-adapting world, the way in which a brand’s information is dispensed along the supply chain is vital. Even parts of the supply chain that seemed unrelated, such as manufacturing and distribution, are all connected to achieve a final product for the end consumer. Unfortunately, these data correlations are often dismissed or overlooked, leading to mistakes and missed opportunities further down the road that may be costly and harmful to a brand’s image.
Though it’s not possible to know exactly when and for what purpose this data may be needed down the line, brands can begin to better manage and capture data flow to reduce risk of future errors, analyze growth patterns, and optimize cost reduction. This is where integrated prescriptive analytics in a single platform or unified repository, powered by AI-learnings, come into play. These analytics help to merge information from different steps within the supply chain, as well as analyzing the latest trends, buying habits, and service-level contracts that would otherwise be expensive and time-consuming if dissected by a human.
In the past, descriptive analytics (using data mining to provide insight into past performance) and predictive analytics (providing insight into future data dependent on current, specific actions) were used to make business decisions across the supply chain. However, prescriptive analytics, with AI-backed, unified and integrated systems, are the way of the future, allowing businesses to make more organized, data-driven determinations, such as the actions a brand needs to take to produce a specific, desired outcome.
In the supply chain, prescriptive analytics help companies utilize the entire supply chain all at once, instead of concentrating on only specific parts of the customer journey. Let’s say a brand is worried about shipping delays; prescriptive analytics can give a brand a solution, instead of simply predicting that there will be delays. Prescriptive analytics can also give insight to customer demand, which products do the best in what geographic area, and how much inventory is needed where, mitigating reputation-ruining mistakes and poor brand management. This data can also help aid in waste reduction, making a company’s entire supply chain more sustainable, prime areas for recovered profits. Essentially, supply chains that utilize these new prescriptive-based technologies diminish future risk and examine other opportunities through more accurate data.
Let’s look at the Suez Canal incident and how delays could have been avoided using prescriptive analytics. A retailer would receive a notification informing them of the particular shipments that are delayed; all this data would be centralized and made visible to impacted parties, without the need for human intervention. Most important, this data would suggest solutions, including new, different ways to obtain lost inventory, along with those solutions’ effects on the retailer’s business.
Project Verte cloud-based logistics platform, together with AI, deliver a supply chain “operating system” that offers speed, flexibility, and intelligence to partners, providing one of the most advanced 3PL systems for retailers.
AI-backed technology can help retailers make decisions based on prescriptive analytics all throughout the supply chain, answering questions like where, what, when, how, and to whom to sell. Additionally, our solutions can interpret where products are profitable, how to deliver them, what, how, and where to market, and what to promote. In essence, our AI-powered, cloud-based platform can help retailers make more informed business decisions and reduce costs, by measuring the probability of need, demand, and consumption. Brands can plan ahead of time and manage their inventory accordingly.
As brands become more and more reliant on a transparent, technologically-advanced supply chain, prescriptive analytics will become even more significant in building, and maintaining, a profitable business, happy customers included. Contact us today to learn more about how our solutions can help.