What Are Supply Chain Predictive Analytics?

There is a lot of talk within the supply chain industry regarding the value supply chain predictive analytics. This is because data collection and analysis prepare freight managers for the highs and lows the industry will likely face in the new year. And that amounts to opportunities to reduce transportation costs. But they are often overlooked, underused and outdated.

According to a survey of business owners conducted by Deloitte: "21% of respondents—the highest of eight answer options—said their companies rely most heavily on existing supply chain resources to execute digital and analytics initiatives. However, 82% identified internal expertise as the No. 1 talent challenge, indicating that these existing supply chain resources are not equipped with the required technical and analytical skillsets to deliver digital and analytics initiatives successfully."

Unfortunately, supply chain predictive analytics remains subject to interpretation. Why? It's easy to get lost in the technical terms and data. However, there is a solution that's easier to attain than most realize. To cover the need for better supply chain predictive analytics, many companies turn to third-party consultants and vendors to assist in filling in the gap. But first, let's take a closer view of supply chain predictive analytics and how they are an invaluable tool in the logistics' managers toolkit.

A Primer on Analytics

The discipline and basic structure of supply chain analytics have been around for many decades. However, it has only been within the last ten or so years that a more in-depth analysis level has been taking place. The shift in focus has given rise to several different but equally important types of analytics:

  • Descriptive analytics to describe with data and details what happened.
  • Diagnostic analytics for figuring out why a particular event happened in the first place.
  • Predictive analytics to create possible scenarios based on general trends.
  • Prescriptive analytics works to help managers determine the steps needed to achieve the best result.

Predictive Analytics Provide Insight Into What Is Going to Happen

By addressing general trends and looking at what may happen down the line, managers can be better prepared by taking steps sooner rather than later. Supply chain predictive analytics makes such a thing possible. If trends over the last few years show seasonal spikes for the holidays, managers can use the predictive data to begin preparing ahead of time and ease into things with less stress. And as the value of analytics has grown, it's now possible to look beyond yearly data. In other words, companies can compare week-over-week and day-over-day trends to create a practical plan of action. That is the power of embracing supply chain predictive analytics. Predictive analytics provide insight into what's happening as well as why and what else can be achieved through more transportation optimization in the network.

Tips for Using Supply Chain Predictive Analytics

To make the most of predictive analytics within the supply chain, shipping managers should follow these simple tips:

  1. Work across all transportation modes. All modes, including parcel, of shipping and freight transport can benefit from supply chain predictive analytics.
  2. Think about your direct and indirect areas of improvement. Some changes are active, and others may be more passive. Capture on both to find the best savings possible.
  3. Use connecting technologies to capture data. Interconnected communication lines improve visibility within the supply chain network, pool and standardize data for quick analysis.
  4. Automate data aggregation and analysis. Analyzing and sharing data quickly and easily depends on digital automation and advanced, in-depth learning shipping tools.
  5. Make insights easy-to-digest with visual aides and dashboards. Presenting data in practical, useful ways is also a must.
  6. Source the right talent. No matter where it is applied, supply chain predictive analytics is only as good as the team utilizing it.

Deploy Supply Chain Predictive Analytics With the Right Resources and Partnerships

Predictive analytics is the secret sauce in successful freight management. To learn more about utilizing predictive analytics and other real-time data within the supply chain network, contact Intelligent Audit. Call or visit them online to get started today with supply chain predictive analytics.

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