How Data Gives Your Supply Chain a Competitive Edge

By September 4, 2020blog
How Data Gives Your Supply Chain a Competitive Edge

We’re truly in an era of information overload. Between social media, business software tools, Google, and your own website analytics, you have tons of bits of data at your disposal at all times. Now, what to do with all those details you collect?

For many businesses, the process of collecting data isn’t an issue. Every CRM entry, email, ad campaign, and website visit contributes to your growing data pile. The problem lies in knowing which pieces of data are most valuable to your business and how to go about using that data to your advantage. And in doing so, you also want to make sure you’re not infringing on privacy or otherwise misusing the information you’ve been entrusted with.

No matter the size or scope of your business, you can put your data to work in your supply chain in a number of ways:

1. Get to Know Your Customers

How well do you really know your customers? Using Big Data is arguably the easiest way to gain insight into the customer experience and discover how to better serve your buyers. Some specific details to look into include:

  • How you’re reaching your customers
  • Where your most profitable accounts come from in terms of geography and marketing campaigns
  • What they’re buying
  • How much they’re spending
  • How long they remain a customer 
  • Total value of the customer relationship

Use these details to create lookalike profiles to attract more of the same type of customer you want.

2. Improve Your Product or Service Offering

Every business thinks they’re delivering what their customers want and need, but do your customers agree? Data from feedback surveys, online reviews, or even your CRM can give insight into what customers like or dislike about your products. 

Specifically, you can look at how long your customers are using a specific product or service, reasons why they discontinue use, which products or services are the most popular, and whether some products or services are more popular in certain areas.

Use these details to continue innovating products and services that go above and beyond your buyers’ expectations.

3. Streamline Supply Chain Operations

Data can also be used to improve how you operate internally. For example, you can use tools like CRM and ERP to gauge employee productivity and measure the number of hours of work against actual accomplishments. When you know more about what activities are being performed, you can optimize employees’ time to get the most from their workday. 

Data may reveal where inefficiencies are occurring, such as filling and shipping orders, admin tasks, human errors, or “dead” time. Once you recognize where bottlenecks are happening, you can go about reducing or eliminating them.

How to Take Advantage of Your Data Assets

Supply chains consist of many moving parts. It’s helpful to use the right data tools that can help you facilitate them all. A comprehensive platform like ERP is an excellent way to unite operational silos and get more from your data. 

Regardless of how you choose to manage data, know that doing so isn’t an option. Many companies are doubling down on Big Data to empower their business. Those that don’t make data a priority are likely to get left behind. When used correctly, data can be an effective tool to accelerate your business growth.