Supply Chain Data Management: Making Data Make Sense for Supply Chain Planning

Managing the data required for supply chain planning is a bit like raking leaves. The data keeps coming all year round. And just when you think you have clean and consistent data to work with, new internal and external data “blows into the yard.”

Wind Speeds Will Increase
The amount of structured and unstructured supply chain data available to businesses today continues to grow at an exponential rate. In addition, it’s difficult to manage data for a fast-paced, global supply chain, especially considering that around three-quarters of supply chain data originates outside the ERP system.

It’s not unusual to have dozens of organizations involved in providing a product or service, including suppliers, manufacturers, logistics partners, wholesalers, retailers and the end consumer. This complexity creates risks of miscommunication and disruption, often involving incorrect or incomplete data. In fact, supply chain performance is dependent on consistent data definitions of customers, products, items, locations, and other master data objects. When data is poorly managed and inconsistent, supply chains become inefficient. More time is spent managing information between systems and trading partners, and less on value-added activities.

Supply Chain Data Management is Crucial
Implementing a robust supply chain data management (SCDM) process powered by an integrated digital platform is the best way to ensure high-quality data is available for your supply chain planning system of record (SOR), systems of innovation (SOI) and systems of differentiation (SOD).

SCDM aggregates product, reference, customer and potentially other data from disparate internal and external resources and performs data-quality processes to merge records and remove duplications. It also validates the data against business rules and approves the data through workflows.

Having clean, complete, consistent, current, controlled, and convenient data for supply chain planning has always been important, but it is even more so today, and the list of reasons is long:

  • Forward-thinking companies understand the value of using this data to reduce costs, take advantage of opportunities, avoid disruptions, and get closer to their customers. However, much of this extended data does not exist in a company’s ERP systems, so often the burden of ensuring this data is clean and consistent falls on the supply chain organization. Without an SCDM system, organizations may find themselves becoming data rich but information poor. Data is available, but the organization can’t effectively use it in their planning and optimization operations.

  • More companies are focusing their efforts on becoming demand-centric. Understanding and ultimately influencing a customer’s needs requires insight provided by information that originates closer to true customer demand, like point-of-sale (POS), syndicated data and unstructured data from social media, customer feedback, etc. SCDM is essential to ensure this data is clean, consistent and synchronized to internal planning data.

  • Collaborating with trading partners requires close attention to data quality and consistency. Often a company’s growth depends on its ability to collaborate on new products, new businesses, new selling regions and new channels. Poor data quickly eats into the profits of new business opportunities. Successfully managing multi-organizational data has become a foundational capability for a competitive supply chain and is on the radar of many chief supply chain officers.

  • Many companies are improving their planning capabilities through advanced sales and operations planning (S&OP). S&OP is a data-intensive, collaborative process that aligns and synchronizes demand and supply, while meeting company performance objectives. Including more internal and external information in the S&OP process enables richer analyses, leading to better decisions. An SCDM solution is essential to consolidating data and ensuring it is clean and consistent.

In short, SCDM can help your supply chain organization:

  • Ensure optimal inventory to meet customer service goals and service level agreements
  • Reduce last-minute, expensive shipping due to incorrect product information
  • Improve tactical and strategic planning and decision-making
  • Avoid supply chain disruptions
  • Increase perfect orders
  • Become more demand-centric
  • Reduce exceptions and firefighting
  • Boost customer satisfaction through improved product availability.

Does your company have robust supply chain data management capabilities that support your supply chain planning and optimization processes? If so, what value are you seeing from SCDM? If not, it may be time to contact Logility to discuss adopting advanced supply chain data management capabilities.