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Guide 101- Choosing the Right Supply Chain Analytics Partner 

The increasing complexity of supply chains in today’s world makes it even more necessary to adopt data-driven models for efficient decision-making. Here, we’ll discuss the role of a supply chain analytics partner and how to choose the right one for your business.  

The supply chain is one of the top priorities for a business. Disruptions can not only affect your supply chain but also lead to loss of revenue and diminished customer satisfaction. It’s 2024, and the right time to revamp your supply chain using data analytics, artificial intelligence, and automation. According to a PwC survey in 2023, almost 86% of businesses agreed that investing in technology is necessary to handle supply chain risks. 

Moreover, a report by Deloitte shows that around 70% of emissions come from the supply chain. This can be tackled by making your supply chain sustainable and transparent through digitalization and technology adoption. Using analytics can strengthen your supply chain management processes. 

Businesses can work with a reliable supply chain analytics partner to overcome the challenges and achieve long-term goals. But how would you identify and select the right supply chain partner? What sets the best apart from the rest? How should you choose the right partner to digitally transform your supply chain? 

Let’s find out in this blog. 


What are the 4 Types of Supply Chain Analytics?

Supply chain analytics is the process of collecting, storing, and analyzing large datasets to derive meaningful and actionable insights. These insights are presented as data visualizations through graphical reports and used to make faster and better decisions. When you choose a supply chain analytics partner, make sure they offer the following analytical solutions. 

Descriptive Analytics

Descriptive analytics involves KPIs (key performance indicators) and historical data to describe the various supply chain events of the past. 

Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics for the supply chain is where real-time data is collected from different sources and analyzed to determine the possible future outcomes, trends, customer demands, etc., that will affect the business. 

Prescriptive Analytics

Prescriptive analytics plays a vital role in decision-making as it provides insights into the areas for improvement and the best way forward to tackle a situation while minimizing risk. 

Cognitive Analytics

Cognitive analytics and diagnostic analytics are similar in a way. Both deal with determining the root cause of a problem and finding a comprehensive and long-term solution for it. It helps take appropriate steps to resolve supply chain challenges.


What to Look for in a Supply Chain Analytics Partner

The right supply chain analytics partner can handle the various processes from end to end and offer continuous support to enhance your supply chain across all levels. The service provider should take care of everything from strategy formation to deploying analytical models and creating adequate supply chain risk management policies. 

So, what are the criteria for a supply chain partner? How do you identify the best analytical company to become your long-term partner? Here’s how. 

Types of Services 

A supply chain analytics partner has to take up many roles and responsibilities. It has to provide a robust strategy to digitally transform the supply chain. It should help identify issues in planning and designing a reliable analytics model to integrate with the existing business systems. The partner should also set up custom supply chain dashboards to deliver on-demand analytics and insights in real-time. Similarly, it should offer embedded analytics and business intelligence visualizations based on your requirements. Most importantly, you should have the flexibility to choose the services you want – consulting, end-to-end, customized, or rapid analytics as per your needs. 

Access to Technology 

Technology is another essential aspect to consider when choosing a supply chain analytics partner. For example, IoT (Internet of Things) devices and RFID tags can make your supply chain more efficient. Does the company offer artificial intelligence and machine learning-based analytical models? Can the service provider use AI to automate your supply chain tasks? Does it have the necessary tools to deploy transportation management systems (TMS) for real-time tracking and alerts? Can you invest in robotics for warehouse management? 

Domain and Industry Expertise 

An increase in demand for supply chain analytics has led to more companies offering similar services. However, not every company has a team of expert analytics, AI engineers, and data scientists to cater to your diverse and complex requirements. The supply chain analytics partner should have the necessary expertise in using the latest technology as well as understanding the minute aspects of the supply chain industry. Additionally, the company should have good knowledge about your niche. This will ensure that the company knows your competitors, challenges, market trends, opportunities, risks, customers, etc., to create solutions that align these aspects with your business goals. 

Experience and Project Portfolio 

The supply chain analytics partner should have the necessary experience in delivering complex supply chain projects to different clients. Ask for their project portfolio to determine if the company can handle your specifications. For example, the analytics partner should help you achieve your business goals like supply chain cost reduction, inventory optimization, increased sales and revenue, minimized losses, and enhanced customer satisfaction. An ABI research study predicts that over 4 million robots will be used in around 50,000 warehouses around the globe by 2025. So, if you want to use robots in your warehouse, your supply chain analytics partner should help you set up the necessary automation and workflows. 

Communication and Transparency 

Another essential aspect to consider is how well the supply chain analytics company can communicate and interact with your teams. Is it easy to approach the analytics working on your project? Do they send regular updates? Do they explain the concepts in simple terms and answer your questions satisfactorily? Are they transparent about what they offer and what they don’t? Do you have a clear idea about the pricing? Have you had to pay for hidden charges at the last minute? A worthy supply chain partner will keep things simple and uncomplicated. You will know the pricing and services offered in advance. There will be little to no confusion. 

Maintenance and Support 

Your supply chain already has numerous vendors, suppliers, transporters, and distributors. Why complicate things further by hiring multiple companies to build data analytical tools and then upgrading them over time? Find a supply chain analytics partner who offers continuous and long-term maintenance and support services to ensure that the analytical tools and business intelligence dashboards are seamlessly working 24*7*365 and delivering the required insights. The company should accommodate your changing requirements and scale the solutions as your business volume increases. 

Client Testimonials and Reviews 

It is recommended to go through the various testimonials provided by the previous and existing clients of the supply chain analytics company. Look for reviews on social media and other websites. Then, contact a few of them and speak to the representatives to get more information about their experience working with the service provider. You can ask for pointers and even get recommendations from them. That way, you will have a better idea of what to expect from your supply chain analytics partner. 


What Makes a Good Supply Chain Partner? 

Choosing the best supply chain analytics partners is easier said than done. The following aspects are a must to streamline and strengthen your supply chain. 

Agility 

The markets are ever-changing. Customer preferences are diverse. You can no longer follow rigid production techniques and ignore the trends. A good supply chain partner understands the need for agility to adjust and adapt to market uncertainties. This helps optimize costs and production. 

Value Addition 

Your supply chain partner should bring something worthy and valuable to boost your business. It can enable greater supply chain visibility, optimize transportation with real-time tracking, or automate recurring processes at different stages of the supply chain to eliminate additional expenses. 

Scalability 

A good supply chain partner will be able to accommodate your growing requirements without compromising quality. This will enable you to meet the market demand and increase sales. It also gives you more opportunities to enter new markets and attract more customers. 

Innovation 

Innovation keeps you at the top of the game and reduces the risk of being replaced by a new competitor. Your supply chain partner should promote innovation, be it in adopting advanced technology, finding better sources of raw materials, or identifying faster distribution channels.


Benefits of Working with a Supply Chain Analytics Partner

Businesses are under immense pressure from different parties like suppliers, vendors, customers, competitors, etc. Working with a supply chain analytics partner can provide various benefits, such as the following: 

  • Better planning 
  • Demand forecasting 
  • Seamless procurement 
  • Cost-effective and quality manufacturing 
  • Inventory and warehouse management 
  • Streamlined logistics and distribution 
  • Resilience and flexibility 
  • Sustainability 
  • Customer responsiveness 
  • Operational efficiency 
  • Higher revenue and business growth 

Partnering with a supply chain analytics company is a great way to foster meaningful business relationships to increase your business performance, enhance customer satisfaction, and generate more sales.


Conclusion 

Implementing supply chain analytics with a partner reduces the risk of errors and wrong decisions, which minimizes losses for your business. Experts bring more efficiency and profitability, thereby boosting your brand value and recognition in the global markets. 

A lot depends on whether or not you work with the right supply chain analytics partner who understands your business and aligns the processes to help you achieve the goals. With the right support, you can easily manage any kind of disruption and become an industry leader. 

Talk to us for more information!

Fact checked by –
Akansha Rani ~ Content Creator & Copy Writer

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