March 17, 2010 – Superior supply chain business intelligence capabilities can differentiate top performers from those with less efficient and more costly processes, according to a new study from market research firm Aberdeen Group.

The report, “Supply Chain Intelligence: Adopt Role-Based operational Business Intelligence and Improve Visibility,” highlights to role of advanced business intelligence technologies in the enablement of supply chain processes.

Many companies still lack timely visibility into the critical process metrics in local supply chain management, a problem that often prevents organizations from making better supply chain decisions all together, according to Aberdeen.

The firm assessed that companies with the capabilities to provide executives and top-level managers with insights into business-level and operational metrics, like those gleaned from predictive analytics, are better positioned to improve supply chain performance.

Aberdeen surveyed 209 businesses, identifying best-in-class, average and laggard performers. Those identified as best-in-class had over 95 percent of orders delivered to customers and suppliers complete and on time.

Best-in-class companies were more likely to strategically use data acquired during supply chain monitoring to drive improvement and analyze supply chain risks, according to the report. “Without visibility into current and historic supply chain processes, a company wouldn’t be able to formalize the way it thinks about supply chains.”

Best-in-class companies included in the study were 79 percent more likely than all others to have implemented a formalized process for supply chain risk management and 61 percent more likely to be able to analyze current levels of risk exposure.

They also consistently reported faster time to information in monitoring supply chain events, 31 percent more likely than all others to gain visibility in to international outbound shipments and 47 percent more likely to gain visibility in to inbound shipments.

Accurately exchanged information is the key to making good business decisions for the supply chain, according to Aberdeen analysts. And, 85 percent of the best-in-class organizations surveyed were more likely than all others to report that data obtained during supply chain monitoring is accurate over 90 percent of the time.

Establishing an adequate level of supply chain intelligence is the only way to ensure that a company’s supply chain is able to adapt to continuous business changes fast enough, according to said Viktoriya Sadlovska, researcher of product value chain and supply chain management at Aberdeen. “This requires putting in place processes and tools to effectively monitor supply chain performance and notify specific process managers before problems turn into disruptions.”

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