As Dell Computer, Amazon and Walmart demonstrate, thriving companies embrace agile supply chains and master the nuances of flexible manufacturing. Unilever’s logistics managers scrutinise demographics in each of the consumer goods company’s markets to tailor products and logistics. Inditex, the parent of “fast-fashion” chain Zara, has accelerated its design, production and distribution so it can rapidly deliver new styles at bargain prices. Supply-chain operations are so critical to Apple’s success that their details remain top secret.
Supply-chain managers can no longer just cut costs; they have to add value by making their firms more responsive to changing customer needs and shorter product cycles. As a result, “demand-sensitive networks” are replacing outdated supply chains. In the past, the typical supply chain consisted of a few vendors in a defined geographic area. Now, both suppliers and customers are scattered around the globe. As supply chains grow more multifaceted, one small problem – a strike, a political upheaval, a transport snafu – can reverberate far and wide. For instance, after Japan’s 2011 earthquake, Toyota suddenly lacked more than 400 different parts, which curbed its operations in Japan and the United States for six months.
The new breed of supply chain relies on data and analytics not only to decrease shortages and supply risks but also to provide knowledge that allows for proactive strategies. Cloud technologies like what we use at Intuendi , social media and business networks are some of the tools companies can use. For example, retailer Home Depot shifts required goods to stores in specific areas based on local weather reports, and it advises customers via Twitter about product availability at different outlets.
Businesses now need to start pulling “unstructured data” from blogs, text messages and web videos and combining them with historical information to forecast trends in pricing and purchasing.
The Internet of Things will generate even more data. Firms will increasingly tap into “the knowledge of crowds.” So can you see why at Intuendi we are the first company to move into demand sensing as the next generation of demand forecasting?
So if you are ready for the next generation of demand forecasting, then contact the Intuendi Team.