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Applications of Data Science in Supply Chain in 2024

  • July 13, 2023
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Meet the Author : Mr. Bharani Kumar

Bharani Kumar Depuru is a well known IT personality from Hyderabad. He is the Founder and Director of Innodatatics Pvt Ltd and 360DigiTMG. Bharani Kumar is an IIT and ISB alumni with more than 18+ years of experience, he held prominent positions in the IT elites like HSBC, ITC Infotech, Infosys, and Deloitte. He is a prevalent IT consultant specializing in Industrial Revolution 4.0 implementation, Data Analytics practice setup, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, Industrial IoT, Business Intelligence and Business Management. Bharani Kumar is also the chief trainer at 360DigiTMG with more than Ten years of experience and has been making the IT transition journey easy for his students. 360DigiTMG is at the forefront of delivering quality education, thereby bridging the gap between academia and industry.

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To make a firm profitable, many departments and procedures must operate in perfect harmony. The supply chain is the department that keeps the company together out of all of these. Demand, supply, logistics, warehouses, freight, inventory, raw materials, suppliers, distributors, retailers, and other elements are among them.

Those involved in the supply chain. The need for businesses to modernise their processes has arisen as a result of the market and environment evolving with more technologically sophisticated processes, increased competition, and more informed customers. This is the rationale for the incorporation of data science and machine learning into supply chain management today.

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Supply Chain Analytics

Supply chain is one of the trickiest parts of a business and as the chances of error are quite high, the need for proper synchronization and analytics is very important. Something simple getting out of hand can make the business lose a lot of money as it can create a break or kink in the supply chain. When it comes to strategic and operational parts of the supply chain management, the need for resolving issues on-the-go to keep the chain continuous is very important or every step in the continuation can become a painful point which will block the resources in the wrong places.

This is the reason why data analytics is now taken very seriously in the management of the supply chain. The data analytics help in making data-driven and analyzed steps and decisions, thus adding data intelligence to the business. With the use of machine learning and visualization tools and software in the supply chain, not only is the operation becoming easier but the services also get improved. Overall, the use of data science in the supply chain is helping the management and professionals get a clear picture of the operational efficiency and make timely decisions right away.

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Understanding the Supply Chain Management

Regardless of the subject matter of the business, the supply chain is a well-understood component that cannot be overlooked. Every company's primary goal when managing the supply chain is to lower expenses overall and improve the process' accuracy and dependability.

Some of the main steps that are covered in the supply chain of the business are:

  • Procurement of raw materials
  • Inbound logistics
  • Inventory of parts
  • Manufacturing of goods
  • Inventory of finished goods
  • Fulfillment order of the goods (customer goods)
  • Outbound logistics

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As distinct entities, each of these processes need individualised care. There can be no doubt about their interconnectedness or shared reliability, though. Each and every stage must be finished on schedule in order for the subsequent ones to be effective. The entire supply chain will break down if even one step is left unfinished. Separate operational channels, administration, visibility, and data gathering are required to manage every supply chain process. Visibility is a key factor in all of this.

Visibility is a trait that shows the management's capacity to respond in response to past data. Business intelligence and decision-making therefore rely on the collected historical data. Forecasting for both supply and demand can benefit from historical data. Additionally, it can aid in predicting market demand and choosing time-saving, more effective operational routes. Demand forecasting may assist in providing a clearer picture of how the manufacturing line should function and what the future logistical needs will be.

It would not be crazy to argue that the supply chain is a department that can rely on data science approaches like predictive analysis given that it is now a data-oriented department as well.

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Supply Chain and Predictive Analysis

As mentioned above, supply chain management is all about accurate forecasting where further decisions regarding logistics and production can be taken. This is the reason why predictive analytics can be very useful for the business to make their supply chain more productive. Supply chain forecasting is a tricky situation as there are many variables to take into consideration. Long-term forecasting is still something that can be managed, but short-term forecasting can become quite difficult. This is because the number of variables that come to the scene in short-term forecasting are numerous and hard to track.

Applications of Data Science in Supply Chain

Applications of Data Science in Supply Chain


There are many ways in which supply chain managementis becoming more and more competitive and efficient with the help of predictive analysis:

Demand Analytics

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With the aid of recent sales, predictive analytics assists in predicting future demand on a variety of levels. It may provide precise forecasting at numerous points of sale, such as retailers, shops, wholesalers, etc. Incorporating with promotional activities after taking into account holidays and weather forecasts may also be helpful.

Finished Inventory Optimization

With this, predictive analytics helps in giving a clear forecast about how much inventory there must be and how it should be positioned. This makes inventory budgeting easier and more optimized. Also, analytics helps in getting recommendations for safety stock along with customized holding of stock for various customer demands.

Network Planning

The inventory facilities and production facilities must be adequately networked in order to have a strong supply chain and a successful business. Analytics takes into account the factories and warehouses that are available as well as how they may impact the supply chain in the event of a changing demand. Additionally, it aids in the creation of flow channels that can assist in meeting client requests across diverse segments at the most affordable rate.

Replenishment Planning Analytics

Analytics helps in creating a clear plan regarding when and where to ship the products. This allows proper planning which can be easily integrated at various levels like channel, retailer and distributor. Also, the various constraints that are levied on various points of the supply chain can be taken into consideration. This increases the in-store availability of the products and also enhances customer satisfaction with better services. Learn Supply Chain Analytics Course

Procurement Analytics

Finding and acquiring the finest suppliers is the very first stage in the supply chain, which is one of its most crucial components. Predictive analytics, which are based on the most data, may aid in locating supplier partners that are both affordable and of high calibre. The grading systems for supplier cost, vendor quality, and general stability of the long-term relationship with the suppliers are all taken into account.

Transportation Analytics

Lastly, predictive analytics help in predicting and visualizing the best routes of transportation. It takes into consideration various predictive models to find the best shipping routes, backhaul routes, shipment scheduling techniques, and various constraints and compliances of transportation that are to be followed.

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Benefits of Analytics and Machine Learning in Supply Chain

Now that the benefits of data science are quite clear, let's delve into some significant benefits of using data science and machine learning in supply chain management.

  • Accuracy: The fact that data science can provide more precision when compared to other technologies is one of its main advantages. The likelihood of producing accurate predictions is relatively high since larger data sets may be analysed with a variety of quality levels.
  • Improved Management: Supply chain management is not easy and it requires finding the right insights that can be both time and cost-effective. Data science takes help from supervised and unsupervised learning to find the features and factors that affect the overall quality of management.
  • Better Performances and Lesser Costs: Tools for machine learning and data science allow different transportation and logistics networks to work together horizontally. This lowers the risks and improves the efficiency of the supply chain.
  • Pattern Recognition: Whether it is a data insight pattern or a visual data pattern, data science and machine learning are highly effective in recognizing the same. Therefore, it helps in inspecting the quality of the physical assets of the supply chain.
  • Selling Newer Products: Machine learning can anticipate demand and revenues when a company introduces a new product. The statistical models provide sophisticated demand forecasting that also takes a number of market-related causal factors into account.
  • Supply Chain Enhancement: As the market keeps changing, the techniques of handling the supply chain become newer and better as well. Therefore, there is always a scope of reducing the costs of the supply chain by lowering the resource wastage, inventory blockage and risks of scarcity. For this, machine learning can give insights on how to improve the warehouse, logistics, inventory, and manufacturing management.
  • Well Managed Production: Last but not least, machine learning takes into account a variety of elements that have an impact on manufacturing and production operations, such as inventories, restrictions, equipment, warehousing, etc. This aids in streamlining the workflow, cutting down on delay, and successfully balancing compliances and restrictions.

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