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Big data the future of supply chain management and logistics

Released at: 14:48, 11/12/2017

Big data the future of supply chain management and logistics

Photo: Internet Archive

Big data becoming popular among local enterprises in utilizing customer information.

by Khanh Chi

In the age of digitalization, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT), the data from everyday life can be collected and kept in storage, creating a huge collection of “big data”. As data is captured at a higher velocity and with more diversity, the analysis of big data can provide valuable information to improve many aspects of life, including business, customer service, and supply chain management, according to CEL Consulting Vietnam, an advisory firm in supply chain and operations.

In recent years, the topic of big data has gained major attention as it is considered most relevant to the supply chain strategy of companies and organizations.

In discussing the application of big data in Vietnam, “there are enterprises that choose to take small but smart steps to gradually learn and apply big data instead of making massive investments only to follow the trend,” said Mr. Julien Brun, CEO of CEL Consulting Vietnam.

For instance, he added, a lot of Vietnamese firms have shaken hands with each other to together use big data in analyzing customers’ needs, so that they can best approach potential clients.

Quoting the Harvard Business Review, Mr. Brun said there are many businesses around the world that choose to follow the big data trend with huge investments and they recruit a large number of data scientists, which has dramatically pushed up the salary range in the profession globally.

According to an IBM report, in 2015, global vacancies for data scientists reached 4.4 million, but only one-third were filled. However, not all investments in big data produce the expected results. Mr. Brun believes that unless you are a tech giant like Google, Amazon, or Facebook, the wiser approach is to invest in small steps, focusing on processes that have potential for improving profitability.

For example, “if you are an express courier or last-mile logistics company, you can consider starting your big data investment in delivery routing optimization,” he said. “The small steps you can make could be to begin collecting data relating to delivery performance. Some examples include delivery lead-time, late delivery rate, traffic conditions, road conditions, and weather conditions for each delivery route.”

According to the Supply Chain Insight Report, it is estimated that 18 per cent of businesses worldwide have started exploring ways to utilize big data to improve sales and operations performance. The number of companies utilizing big data is forecast to rise to 43 per cent within the next ten years. Supply Chain Insight also projects that although only 6 per cent of businesses currently possess big data (over 1 million GB), 38 per cent will do so within the next decade. Big data is forecast to continue growing in terms of volume, diversity, and velocity in the context of fast-growing IoT.

CEL Consulting, a member of the CEL Asia Group, is a management consulting firm specializing in supply chain and operations in emerging markets like Southeast Asia since 2005. CEL Consulting pioneers the development of technological solutions that support the management of supply chains and improve business performance.

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