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Only 1 Week Until the Supply Chain Analytics Conference at NC State!

With only one week left prior to our upcoming SCRC meeting, students are busily preparing their final posters, putting the finishing touches on their presentations, and getting ready to meet with their project sponsors to deliver their insights and findings.  Many of the projects students in my MBA 541 class have been working on this semester will focus on analytics….coincidentally, the subject of our upcoming SCRC meeting on December 7-8, 2015.

The theme of analytics is one that is pervasive in the media.  We continue to hear about the power of “big data”, as well as how important analytics are to driving performance.  Inspired by the plethora of new technologies for collecting, analyzing, and presenting data, everyone is scrambling to find a way to not only monetize analytics, but figure out how to apply it to supply chain management.

Based on my observations this past year, there is a noticeable gap between the stated intentions of organizations to pursue value through analytics, and their actual outcomes as they pertain to application of analytics to effective procurement and supply chain transformation. Today across many industrial sectors the proportion of value that stems from the supply chain is almost 80% and in many companies the outsourcing ratio can be greater than 90%.  Even as organizations have become heavily dependent on the performance of their suppliers, I hear of many that still struggle with driving useful analytics to monitor, measure, and improve performance of their supply chain. As a central function working with suppliers, procurement plays a key role in the management of supplier relationships. This role is not only a matter of cost reduction, although saving money remains a priority for any procurement organization, but it is also about ensuring that the need for a range of criteria, including for example quality, delivery, innovation and service, are being met by suppliers.

Although the link between supply chain performance and enterprise success is accepted, there is a not a clear linkage between the platform technologies developed to support procurement, and the capabilities of supply chain managers to employ this data to create useful analytical insights.   In particular, the need for technologies that drive sourcing analytics, risk management, supplier life cycle management, contract management and market intelligence will become critical in building effective supply chain and internal relationships – yet the linkage to these approaches is not well described or understood in the supply chain community. Too often, poor systems and lack of data is used as the reason for this failure to produce useful analytics.

As part of this meeting, we will explore innovative approaches to leverage supply chain data, regardless of what level of supply maturity transformation your organization is at. We will explore alternative methods employed by organizations to create insight using different internal and external datasets, to drive the right set of conversations with stakeholders, suppliers, and third parties around transformation of the current supply chain operating model. We will hear from a number of senior executives who has achieved results, and how they approached the problem of creating useful analytics.  We will host a panel and hear from people who have spent their entire lives working in the analytic space with large datasets, and learn from them what they have seen.  And we will also have a “surprise” in store for attendees from an up and coming analytics start-up, “PredictifyMe”, with lots of fun….in the end, I expect that this will be much more of a working session for all involved…I expect to learn a lot!