Turning Big Data into Actionable Insights

By Carol Miller

Big Data—the massively complex and exponentially generated data businesses generate and gather from multiple sources (including structured databases, unstructured machine outputs, and semi-structured records) at an increasingly fast pace—has long been on the radar of supply chain organizations as the source of potential competitive advantages for those who leverage it successfully.

The organizations that harness, process, and analyze Big Data well are the ones who will reap a variety of benefits. Among them: faster, more effective decision making; better customer service; enhanced operational efficiency; reduced operational costs; and greater resiliency in the face of disruption.

The part about harnessing, processing and analyzing this massive trove of data inputs, however, has proven to be extremely challenging to nearly all companies of all sizes. Particularly as the sources of the data itself become more varied and diverse. In fact, many had only made tentative steps—if any at all—toward leveraging Big Data until the COVID-19 pandemic.

With that global crisis exposing major global supply chain weaknesses across nearly every market sector in 2020, companies have prioritized Big Data. Eager to forestall similar stumbles moving forward, finding ways to glean operational enlightenment from the wealth of information buried within it is once again a major strategic objective.

Yet, some companies are finding success converting Big Data into actionable supply chain insights that produce the benefits noted above. To learn more about the tactics and technologies those organizations are applying to the task, and the impacts those efforts are having, MHI Solutions queried four Big Data experts:

•          Casey Adams, president of Visible Supply Chain Management

•          Carlton Sapp, managing vice president of the data analytics for a technical professionals team at Gartner

•          Joe Vernon, supply chain analytics and transformation practice lead at Capgemini

•          Alex Wakefield, CEO of MHI member Longbow Advantage

Read on for their insights and guidance into putting Big Data to work for your supply chain.

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