It is clear from our research that organizations who are trying to optimize their supply chain of resources and partners have much to do for gaining advancements in the effectiveness of these essential business processes. Most manufacturing and services organizations have driven their supply chain processes to be lean and are now looking at the means to find new methods to gain incremental efficiency. This might seem obvious but as organizations realize the inter-connected nature of their processes most have many opportunities to improve them and their resulting performance. I also made the point that there is One Step to Effective Supply Chain Performance but as I mention there are many activities to achieve that step forward.
One of the key areas that innovative organizations have been doing is examining the opportunity to use information about locations and routes to optimize travel and transportation time of resources and goods. This is part of a continued growth in technology for business called Location Intelligence. I asked the question earlier this year about the question if your organization is Your Business Location Intelligence Competent?. The use of location in what is called Location Intelligence brings the opportunity to examine where prioritization and optimization of the supply chain can be achieved through analyzing point to point geographic locations. The advancement of geographic information systems (GIS) to tools and applications for applying to specific business areas like supply chain has been available from many suppliers including ESRI, Pitney Bowes Business Insight - MapInfo and business intelligence (BI) providers like Information Builders and MicroStrategy who have integrated Location Intelligence into their tools along with new solution providers like GeoAnalytics that I am reviewing for research coverage.
To determine how well you are doing in infusing location into your supply chain is to ask anyone in your management and analyst team that manage these areas if they can at any time bring up a geographic view of your supply chain where your suppliers, manufacturing, warehouses, distribution centers and final destination of your products. If you are a service organization you can ask the same question in regards to your field service or retail locations that reach your customers. From a geographic view can you see duration of time between locations, can you examine alternatives or have alternative scenarios of supplies from suppliers or transportation services through alternative routes. Can you examine this in real time or look at analyze yesterdays activities? Can you see the relevance of inventory or final goods to your supply chain? Do you know the impact if you have a delay of a day or week on your supply chain and alternatives to improve? These are all practical questions that you should be able to address quite easily in your supply chain to mitigate risk, maintain or reduce cost structures and maximize profitability.
This is just the beginning of what you can be looking at to improve your supply chain with Location Intelligence to determine how to drive better efficiency while mitigating risk of any issues that could impact your performance. The use of Location Intelligence can help provide you the tools for governing your supply chain while identifying the right options for maximizing your outcomes. If you need a basic primer, you can read this industry white paper Why Geography Matters or for those that want to investigate the trends and direction can look at this more in-depth research on Location Intelligence.