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14 Nov 2014

Supply Chain Management: Big Data and the Supply Chain

Supply Chain Management: Big Data and the Supply Chain

‘Big Data’ is the buzz word of the moment. Many manufacturers are exploring how they may use this untapped data to improve operations and reduce waste.

Big Data analytics are expected to benefit all aspects of manufacturing, from production and quality control to supply chain management.

Through the use of Big Data it is possible to reduce the exposure to risk in a global supply chain. Through the use of geographical data for suppliers locations and weather statistics for such events as tornadoes, earthquakes etc… a predictive analytics programme can then calculate the probabilities of a natural disaster occurring.

As a result, companies can put into place a back-up plan and source materials from suppliers from other locations if their key supplier is hit by a disaster, so production can continue to run smoothly.

Big Data has enormous potential to benefit the manufacturing industry, providing it is approached in the correct way. Industries such as marketing and finance have developed sophisticated data tools over the past decade in the application of turning data into value. However, in the manufacturing industry few such tools have been developed.

Manufacturing data can be considered ‘data rich but information poor’, with massive amounts of data being generated and stored. With the sheer amount of data being generated it can become  vastly overwhelming for manufacturers, until they are able to manage and analyse the data they have already acumulated, collecting more data will only bury them deeper.  

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