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Business intelligence is all about employing processes and tools to achieve efficiency in commerce. These technological approaches include all business functions that occur across the enterprise, including the supply chain. Assumed within this quest for efficiency is the ultimate goal of maximizing profit through minimizing operating costs. In order for this to become reality, the performance management-savvy organization must frequently rely on the application of analysis techniques like maximizing gross margin through measuring inventory return on investment or minimizing total operating expenses. Accordingly, supply chain optimization must look at the general problem of putting goods into the hands of one's customers at the best cost and highest yield.
The classic approach to solving this optimization problem has involved traditional forecasting based on historic demand and prediction of future events. This approach is applied to aggregate data resident in smaller data repositories that require little manipulation. The analyst then manually manages any variability in the metrics. Using this forecasted demand, a plan is crafted that addresses the salient supply-related objectives, such as manufacturing rate, plant resource scheduling, re-stock strategy, or transportation modes.
The BI supply chain forecasting and reporting ability resident in today's software solutions provides the technical ability to access and manipulate larger databases more swiftly. The metrics are gathered and manipulated using automated processes and key performance indicators using advanced capabilities, like scorecards and dashboards. Some vendors have integrated these features into their BI products and applying multiple modeling and analytic techniques to supply chain data to enhance the optimization problem.
Managing and employing the human and material resources of a business enterprise is at the heart of supply chain performance management. This term didn't exist in the 1980s, when the term was just supply chain management (SCM). However, it was needed to express the key functions of production where materials were acquired, processed, handled and moved.
As the discipline matured, SCM and the reporting associated with it spread to involve not only the manufacturer, but also every corporation and organization involved in the chain. It wasn't long before the industry realized that significant mutual gains could be realized by exchanging information regarding supply market factors, production plans, manufacturing capacities and anticipated problems.
Today, when the supply chain is integrated into an enterprise performance management framework, substantive information is available to every stakeholder in the supply chain. The technology for querying, manipulating, and optimizing the entire process is in place and ready to serve managers and decision-makers collectively. Incorporating a supply chain system, as embodied in supply chain reporting automation, ultimately leads to an improved competitive environment in the global marketplace where traditional organizational rivalry is replaced with cooperative achievement.
Effective employment of business intelligence methodologies in the supply chain business function area has exploded in the last decade. As the number of vendors providing integrated BI products that span the universe of usable data has increased, the issue associated with acquiring the data for analysis and reporting has grown accordingly.
Supply chain reporting techniques are exploiting information from both within and outside the using organization. Every member of the modern supply chain is a "stakeholder" and in some companies, an active recipient and/or provider of raw data. Here is where the rub comes into play; is the information provided by a partner in the chain from a legally acceptable source?
The Economic Espionage Act of 1996 (18 U.S.C. § 1831-1839), in layman's terms, provides criminal penalties for theft of trade secrets that benefit foreign powers and associated theft for economic or commercial purposes. A point to consider as you mine the data in your supply chain is; could any of that information have come into the possession of a supplier as the result of a potentially criminal act? Forewarned is forearmed!
A competency center in BI parlance is not as much a place as an environment where. The important thing to learn from the concept of a competency center is that such an environment is intended to provide standardization and consistency to a complex deployment of resources and assets.
In a military sense, such a concept would have great value in the command, control, and deployment of armed forces. The British military has embraced such an approach for their supply chain management in The Supply Chain Operations Center ( SCOC ). This concept is a tri-service (Army, Air Force, and Navy) organization that co-ordinates supply chains for the British Armed Forces. In fairness to the US military, many centers of excellence across the military functional areas exist and help us to achieve a state of military performance management.
Supply chain management for the military is a multi-dimensional discipline involving the production, procurement, and logistics of war fighting goods and services. The broad scope of military operations adds to the complexity of the information retrieval, manipulation, and reporting problem encountered by the government and its industry partners. The bureaucratic nature of the government's role in military supply chain functions has led to a number of major advances in business intelligence and information technology advances enjoyed throughout the business world. Check this quick overview of the main components of a typical military supply process.
Supply chain is the generic term for the procurement, distribution, maintenance and salvage of war fighting goods and services. Supply chain, in the military sense, refers to the linked functions of providing supplies from scratch through finished material. These functional areas have elements of:
Control, the manipulation of the item within the supply system and includes requisitioning, receipt, storage, movement, and accounting.
Locality, where items and services are located and issued. There is considerable variability in that movement of forces make locality temporary.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|