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GTS Blog

How Data Visualization Can Improve the Supply Chain

Posted by Ascent Global Logistics on Mar 28, 2017 6:23:56 PM

 AustralianOutbackThe ability to effectively manage your supply chain has a direct impact on the organization’s bottom line and market share. With new customer demands and advances in technology, businesses must have visibility into their processes to ensure products are being delivered and meeting customer’s expectations, all while reducing costs. Likewise, the increasing complexity of today’s supply chains has made it more difficult to monitor and control related tools, activities, and procedures. By achieving visibility, managers can more effectively identify and manage risks in the supply chain and respond to customer demands and other complexities in real time. However, this is easier said than done.

Most organizations lack the required resources to gain this visibility. Either the business lacks the technology necessary to receive real-time updates or the data is too complex for non-technical personnel to digest. Although many organizations face this challenge, emerging data visualization trends are providing real-time insight to businesses of all sizes.

What is Data Visualization?

Simply put, data visualization (DV) is the visual representation of data. Rather than staring at spreadsheets on spreadsheets of data, trying to manually comb through and extract what is relevant, data visualization organizes the relative information to be easily read and applied. Data Visualization is being used all around us in the form of infographics for example and is considered a new form of data communication. Further, all aspects of a business can benefit from data visualization, from marketing and sales to finance and customer service. Since many have already experienced some form of it, more consumers, employees and businesses are expecting this information.

Can DV help my supply chain?

The purpose of data visualization is to break down big data sets into more manageable and relevant ‘snapshots’ to help users focus on specific aspects of their supply chain. It is quickly becoming essential for all businesses due to the extreme amount of data that flows through the company. Effective visualization can help make smarter or more educated business decisions, improve productivity, and even provide real-time visibility into processes and procedures.

Specifically for the supply chain, data ‘snapshots’ allow managers to better understand what is happening with their employees and further, allow immediate notification of any complexities that arise. Before, management struggled to communicate in real time with those on the floor and further spent time digging through large data sets to find the visibility necessary for making business decisions. Managers are now better able to communicate and improve productivity with these snapshots of data. Likewise, if an issue arises, management is notified immediately and able to be more proactive with solutions. Data visualization also provides more cost saving opportunities since managers do not have to dig through their data sets.

Employees also benefit from data visualization. They can utilize this information to better monitor and track their progress. Further, they can more easily communicate with their team and managers in real-time, reducing time and frustration. Data visualization makes it easy for anyone (even if you are non-technical) to gain greater insight into their department as a whole.

All in all, data visualization can have a dramatic impact on your supply chain’s visibility at all levels of management. It provides an alternative way to communicate real-time information about your company’s current business processes and success, allowing management to make a smart business decision, improve productivity and find hidden cost savings. Likewise, it can increase communication and transparency between all management levels.

Topics: Supply Chain, Logistics, Business Growth, Cut Costs, Big Data