Why Better Data Beats Bigger Data in Global Logistics

 

Big Data has been referred to as the oil of the modern economy, and nowhere is this more apparent than in global logistics. It takes a lot of data to power supply chain insights across a global network of thousands of touch points.

From the mines where raw materials are extracted to the end consumers’ hands, data drives every stakeholder action along the way. That said, there is no dearth of data, or shortage of methods for recording flows of information. IBM estimates 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data points are created everyday, meanwhile, the Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding at an extraordinary pace. Gartner approximates more than 8 billion IoT devices already exist worldwide, and projects the deployment of about 12 billion more by 2020. Many of these new endpoints will transmit granular real-time data over vast distances - information that will be invaluable for supply chain stakeholders.

However, there is one key resource yet that keeps many manufacturers, retailers, and 3PLs from achieving true supply chain transformation: A central data refinery to turn crude information into high-octane fuel that drives better supply chain decision-making.  

At this point in supply chain 4.0’s development, Big Data is already a reality. The focus now needs to be on using better data to discover new value in the supply chain.

The most disruptive technology of them all

There are many benefits to be gleaned from disruptive technology in the supply chain – IoT, robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and so on, but without unfettered access to high-quality data, the only thing that will be disrupted is your own success.

More information is better – assuming it’s more of the right information and you have the right technology to take advantage of it. If new digital technology and Big Data aren’t delivering on the hype, it’s not because there isn’t enough of it, it’s because not enough of the data is reliable. Unreliable data leads to unreliable insights; unreliable insights leads to inefficient processes and missed opportunities - essentially “Garbage in, Garbage out”.  

This problem is borne from two especially complex supply chain circumstances:

  1. Data integration: Controlling the flow of data into a central platform is complicated given the vast number of data sources (inventory management software, TMS, EDIs, international trade data , ERPs, CRMs, etc.). Multiple sources means formatting issues, latency, and quite often errors and missing information. This can result in poor decisions being made in silos or based on inaccurate or incomplete information.

  2. Data quality: Even enterprises that are successfully mapping Big Data aren’t necessarily refining it – e.g., deduplicating it, validating it and normalizing it for descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics.

The companies that have figured out these problems possess a competitive advantage, and not a moment too soon – 2018 is a particularly big year for disruptive supply chain technology. Why? Because, we have data and we have the means to make sense of it.

The real competitive advantage won’t be with whoever has the most data or the most cutting-edge technology. The winners will be the companies that use the best data as fuel for their supply chain processes and decisions.

Quality data, quality insights, quality global logistics

Many businesses have struggled to solve the problem of data quality, and it’s an admittedly complex one. Nevertheless, at ClearMetal, we’ve come up with a solution that has helped our customers uncover millions of dollars in new value within their supply chains. Save millions of dollars by uncovering value within their supply chains.

We’ve developed a robust supply chain platform that, aside from giving you supply chain visibility, can collect Big Data from many disparate resources and map it into a central repository. Think of it as a network of pipelines that centralizes your crude oil supply into one place. Once aggregated, ClearMetal refines that data, and prepares it for its ultimate purpose: Fuel for your supply chain management applications.

When you top off the tank with Big Data, it better be with good data. Only ClearMetal gives you that.


To learn more about the data problem, download this whitepaper

 
Nandini Nallasivan