Just 37 per cent of supply chain executives are using analytics technology to assist in operational decision-making, according to a new study.
The research, carried out by Source for Consulting in partnership with business applications and service provider Advanced, highlighted low take-up for operations functions using fully implemented analytics software despite 80 per cent of executives believing they should be doing more with the technology.
Marketing topped the list of implementation of analytics at 48 per cent, followed by strategic decision-making at 42 per cent, finance (38 per cent), customer-facing relations and supply chain operations (both at 37 per cent) - all ahead of HR at 17 per cent. Despite operations topping the list of functions who think they understand analytics, the statistics are surprising.
The report is based on a survey of executives in a variety of roles from 297 small- and medium-sized organisations. The results also revealed that 34 per cent of operations functions have yet to even consider using analytics, 20 per cent are discussing doing so, 9 per cent have plans in place to start using it and 30 per cent have partly implemented the technology.
Analytics technology supports greater understanding of trends and predicting of demand, enabling businesses to manage inventories intelligently and lower the risk of holding unnecessary excess stock levels. With improved insight, potential risks further down the supply chain can also be identified and mitigated quickly.
Commenting on the results of the study, Simon Fowler, managing director of Advanced Business Solutions, said, “Analytics technology gathers information at every stage of the supply chain, providing a comprehensive picture and enabling businesses to accurately forecast trends and predict demand, improving inventory management.
“Greater insight further down the chain supports operations departments to be more efficient and easily identify the potential impact of events on future requirements.”
The research showed that the top three barriers to implementing an analytics solution were; having no clear owner or champion for analytics, the inability to step back from day-to-day operations, and lack of awareness about what is possible.
Respondents also identified the key benefits of using the technology. Enhanced decision-making ability was cited as the primary benefit (86 per cent), followed by improved understanding of why things have happened and improved operational efficiency (69 per cent), and the ability to predict future trends (64 per cent). Other advantages included financial benefits, quick access to information, and reduced time spent on producing report.
Fowler added, “The world is increasingly digitised and businesses cannot afford to be left behind. Analytics solutions do not just belong in the strategy and marketing departments any more. Other business functions are increasingly recognising the benefits this technology can bring and the necessity of implementing this software to remain competitive.”
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