SCM information gains value when it is analyzed, especially if that analysis can take in a broader view of the enterprise. This kind of integration was neither common nor easy until recently, when platforms such as SAP began offering modules that could provide a BI window on SCM.
BI and analytics cut across three levels: strategic decision making at the top of the organization, tactical in the middle and operational at the base.
BI and analytics cut across all three levels but will usually tend to be more for the tactical and operational level," said Ellis. "So when manufacturers integrate BI with SCM they should think about what information and insights the business will need at that level to achieve its goals.
If you are working with a solution that includes built-in SCM and BI visibility, things are usually pretty straightforward. If not, you may be looking at fairly daunting integration task.
If you are a make-to-order business your focus may be different than if you are a make- to-inventory business. The latter, for example, may want to focus more on doing a better job of optimizing the inventory mix and, on a higher level, to things like where warehouses should be located. In other words, know what you need and plan accordingly.
SCM and BI integration now a built-in feature in many cases. Most SCM applications have or are probably working on a dashboard to integrate into the BI layer. In addition, platform vendors like Oracle and JD Edwards recognize the need to have B2B intelligence across and on top of multiple systems.
SCM applications will simply need to have their own layer of BI. On the other hand, there are obvious advantages in BI that can span the enterprise and include SCM.
Business Intelligence for Supply Chain Management
- Monitor each phase of the supply chain with automated alerts, to expose issues before they result in problems
- Analyse and share information to help suppliers and production planners take corrective action and fine tune plans and schedules
- Empower executives with the latest, integrated metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to analyse the quality and services of vendors, inventory shortages and production yields and much more
- Analyse critical supply chain details, e.g., most reliable suppliers with balances outstanding, inventory of warehouses, transport and courier performances, and material demand/supply chain.
- Report and analyse current stock status, and location and value with inventory investment and distribution details
- Monitor stock levels and fluctuations affecting customer demand
- Generate reports to illustrate time-to-delivery, quality and plant, department, and shift costs and monitor organisational efficiency
- Track product cycle, inventory age, patterns of routing, material usage and substitutions
- Evaluate trends and manage inventory and distribution, analyse vendor performance problems and optimise supply chain costs and resources
- Accurately forecast and plan with ongoing analysis of supply and demand during production and distribution