Analytics technology massively under-used in supply chain operations, says Advanced

Published Monday, February 22, 2016 3:00 PM by Advanced, Editor

80% of businesses recognise they should be embracing analytics solutions

Only 7% of operations functions are using fully implemented analytics software despite 80% of executives believing they should be doing more with the technology. These are the findings of research carried out by Source for Consulting in partnership with leading business applications and service provider, Advanced Business Solutions (Advanced).

The report is based on a survey of executives in a variety of roles from 297 UK mid and small-sized organisations. The results also revealed that 34% of operations functions have yet to even consider using analytics, 20% are discussing doing so, 9% have plans in place to start using it and 30% have partly implemented the technology.

Compared to other functions’ implementation of analytics, supply chain operations (at 37%) was behind all but HR (17%). Marketing topped the list (48%), followed by strategic decision making (42%), finance (38%), and customer-facing relations (37%). This is despite operations topping the list of functions who think they understand analytics.

Analytics technology supports greater understanding of trends and predicting of demand, enabling businesses to manage inventories intelligently and lower the risk of holding unnecessary excess stock levels. With improved insight, potential risks further down the supply chain can also be identified and mitigated quickly.

Simon Fowler, Managing Director, Advanced Business Solutions (Commercial), says, “Analytics technology gathers information at every stage of the supply chain, providing a comprehensive picture and enabling businesses to accurately forecast trends and predict demand, improving inventory management.

“Greater insight further down the chain supports operations departments to be more efficient and easily identify the potential impact of events on future requirements.”

The research showed that the top three barriers to implementing an analytics solution were; having no clear owner or champion for analytics, the inability to step back from day-to-day operations, and lack of awareness about what is possible.

Respondents also identified the key benefits of using the technology. Enhanced decision-making ability was cited as the primary benefit (86%), followed by improved understanding of why things have happened and improved operational efficiency (both 69%), and the ability to predict future trends (64%). Other advantages included financial benefits, quick access to information, and reduced time spent on producing report.

Fowler adds, “The world is increasingly digitised and businesses cannot afford to be left behind. Analytics solutions do not just belong in the strategy and marketing departments any more. Other business functions are increasingly recognising the benefits this technology can bring and the necessity of implementing this software to remain competitive.”