Integrating Data Collection to Improve Your Supply Chain
Technology has been used to gain insight and increase efficiencies in the supply chain for years. While companies who have built technological improvements into their supply chain benefit from data driven decisions and more efficient operations, integrating new technology before the business is ready can cause problems. Consider the following questions as you make the move toward using technology to improve your supply chain:
- Which data points are most important to the success of the business?
- How does the company align its business objectives and strategy with the choice of technology?
- How will the organization integrate its current data collection processes with new system(s)?
- Will the company build its own system(s) or utilize third-party resources?
- What is a realistic timeline for adopting fully integrated data collection?
Integrating data collection allows quick reaction to supply chain disruptions. While data integration can be a daunting task, the following steps can help guide you through the process. Modernize Your Current Processes Bloomberg's "The Value of Trusted Data" (2016) explains, "technology should align with the strategy and support key objectives, not the other way around." Create a solid team to help drive the adoption of new systems within the framework of your company's goals.
- Reduce the use of paper
- Ensure current and future databases remain secure
- Create a change management team to introduce new technology
- Choose system(s) that meet the company's current and projected needs
- Train or hire employees who can assist in maintaining up-to-date systems
Integrate Your Data With the New System
A 2015 article from All Things Supply Chain discusses the importance of properly integrating data. The article explains, “Implementation without understanding might cause resistance from within the company and a move to the cloud could be counterproductive.” Plan and set expectations before starting data integration efforts:
- Introduce new technology in planned phases
- Understand that there will be issues throughout the process
- Ensure employees understand the value and operation of the systems
- Encourage a collaborative work environment focused on reporting and analytics
Learn to Use the Technology
Reporting and analytics are pillars of the modern supply chain, where customer satisfaction often determines the success or failure of a business. The following types of systems may be useful to you:
- Sales management
- Operations insights
- Inventory visibility
- Transportation management
The benefits of modernizing a business include the ability to track and trace usage, customer data, and shipments; 24/7 access to the essential information; collaboration, reporting, and analytics tools that increase efficiency; the ability to identify overlap, shortfalls, and opportunities for growth within the supply chain; and AI/machine learning capabilities that add efficiency and provide customer-specific data. Companies that thrive on the use of analytics and collaboration provide a solid foundation for adapting to an ever-changing environment. Technology growth is exponential, and businesses must adapt to the customer's needs to maintain brand loyalty. The use of creative and integrative technology will help provide invaluable insights that could increase the business' bottom line. At J.B. Hunt, our innovative approach to applying technology and best practices helps businesses thrive. As supply chain trends continue to fluctuate and consumer demands grow more specific, applying forward-thinking technology is a must. Contact our team today to learn how our we can help modernize and improve transportation and logistics for your business. Learn more about our exclusive J.B. Hunt 360 platform here.