BI adds new dimension to supply chain management


The ability to spot issues and inefficiency along the supply chain quickly is a capability that companies in all industries are always trying to obtain. Identifying problems early increases the chances of the company resolving them with little to no effect on the rest of the manufacturing process.

On paper, the task is much easier said than done. Without a program for supply chain community management, a company doesn't have the visibility needed to recognize when an area requires attention. It's still difficult even with a solution in place.


Recently, however, companies have added a new layer to their supply chain management efforts by implementing business intelligence technology, according to a new report from U.K. industry news provider Works Management. With analytics, companies gain insight of the inner workings of their manufacturing lines like never before.

Warehouse management is one area in particular that has benefited from the deployment of analytics, according to the report.

"The emphasis previously was on satisfying orders, whereas now we can not only see the associated costs at each stage of the plan, but also take these into account when deciding what to do," supply planning manager Chris Buckle of Aunt Bessie's said. "This helps go a long way towards achieving our requirement to balance inventory management with production efficiency."

Aunt Bessie's is a producer of frozen food products in the U.K. Each week it produces about 20 million products, so efficiency across its supply chain is a must.

Previously, Buckle said, responding to problems on its manufacturing line was a serious hassle. Spotting the problem alone could take days, he said. Now, in addition to identifying issues much quicker, Aunt Bessie's enhanced supply chain management program allows the company to analyze various scenarios for resolving issues.

"The increased visibility from [BI] has also helped us to respond quicker, especially when we have a problem on a line," Buckle told the news provider.

Organizations in all industries can benefit from improving their supply chains, as a recent report from the AORN Journal highlighted. Referencing pediatric hospitals, the report said healthcare providers can enhance patient care by streamlining processes for product selection, acquisition and distribution, inventory management and control, among other areas.