Friday, February 22, 2013

Role of Big Data in Building Future Supply Chains

A defining challenge for any supply chain is to be able to be flexible enough to quickly adapt to changing circumstances and estimate the demand with a greater accuracy. No supply chain can meet these challenges without understanding technologies that provide different tools and opportunities in this context. The next big thing in the domain of technology and information that can revolutionize the way businesses operate is Big Data.
This data has everything: From data from social networking websites, Emails, e-Commerce websites, blogs etc. to data streams resulting from RFID tags embedded in supply chain and real time POS data in the stores. Also, these days, people collecting data consider every click on the internet to be a source of some useful information, in the hope of understanding consumer behavior and making use of it for businesses.
Big data also holds information on coupons, change in price and discounts and geographic information which can be used to manage demand by deploying right amounts of inventory. According to the industry pundits this data can also be used for evaluating price and other incentives to improve profitability, manage seasonal ramp-downs, and reduce the need for clearance events.[i] This data also enables demand collaboration with the suppliers. A very good example for this kind of collaboration is P&G and Wal-Mart sharing the POS data to collaborate better.
With all these advantages of big data it is less likely the companies turn a blind eye to this phenomenon. But the question is whether conventional data storage would cope with such huge amounts of additional data? Since we discussed cloud services in class, I would like to know whether cloud could be a solution to this problem.


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