It’s difficult to predict the unpredictable (think along the lines of weather, health emergencies and other geo-political situations). But adding feeds from data sources could keep you operating as normal. These sources may not have been something you’ve previously considered but they can help you better prepare to roll out mitigations and flex operations.
Here’s how advanced analytics can help you better prepare for unpredictable events that might impact your supply chain.
Remember the floods that crippled various communities in the UK during the earlier parts of 2020? According to the Environment Agency, the frequency of this type of event is increasing due to climate change. Towns and villages will continue to be cut off from the road network, meaning hundreds of businesses are likely to be affected if this happens again.
No doubt you’ll want to ensure your supply chain keeps moving even during these times of crisis.
There are simple data feeds available online that can provide a regional view of the risk and likely impact of unusual weather events. You’ll also gain access to guidance on how to interpret and utilise the data.
Analyse these in combination with your customer and vendor data and you could gain some early warning for your business to plan and execute a response.
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All news is good news
Both governmental and non-governmental organisations provide data feeds relating to other events going on in the world that are likely to cause disruption to transport, population movement or other hazards. Risk assessments have been carried out on the data relating to earthquakes, droughts and even volcanic eruptions.
For example, the UK Government provides a risk register of civil emergencies which can be a useful planning aid as much of the worst-case scenario thinking has been done upfront.
Using this type of data can be of real benefit, particularly when mashed up with data that likely sits in your transactional ERP or other line of business application databases.
What else could go wrong?
If it’s not weather or natural disasters, it’s oil prices, election results and sadly, even war. But feeds exist that allow this type of data to be gathered from around the globe, ready for analysis.
You can gain insights to:
- Energy security
- Military issues
- Political events
Connecting to this type of data is probably easier than you think.
That data needs to be stored somewhere…
It’s important to collect all that analytical data but it needs to go into a single repository so it can truly be the lifeblood of your business. If you can harness that data and understand what’s going on, your business will be in a better place to adapt to the changing conditions.
Know what’s happening both out there and within your business, and you’ll know what you need to do to improve and rectify issues.
It’s an analytical approach, which joins the data dots and can result in building a powerful tool that will help your business manage risk. Be prepared to act on the next unexpected event and you give your customers, partners and employees confidence that you are doing all you can to lessen any future impact.
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Improve supply chain visibility and management with the right technology
As we said earlier, you can’t predict the unpredictable but the right technology can certainly help you mitigate the consequences of disruption. Ultimately, this can ensure your supply chain is as stable and efficient as possible.
It’s time to start utilising technology, such as advanced analytics, business intelligence and AI, to improve your supply chain.
About the author
Martin Clothier has over 20 years of experience in managing the technical aspects of ERP in the manufacturing sector. He has worked on 10+ Microsoft Dynamics AX implementation projects from version 4.0 onwards, with his current main emphasis on the cloud. Martin is currently the Head of Shared Consulting Services (D365 ERP) at business transformation consultancy Columbus.
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