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Big Data and Supply Chain

Big data analysis has risen to the forefront of improvement and optimization models in nearly every aspect of business administration, including supply chain network design, evaluation and feedback-responsive restructuring. Supply chain management has long relied on market information analysis and effective logistics systems to create logistics operational plans and solve problems. But these network designs have also tended to remain static over time, often reducing their effectiveness.

This is especially true of today’s technologically advanced, globalized economy, wherein businesses must constantly innovate and restructure to remain competitive. Product development, introduction to the market, customer feedback and evaluation now occur at lightning speeds, and companies are releasing improved products rapidly, according to that feedback loop. Companies following this modern, rapid product release model must also adjust their supply chain design and logistical systems according to changes in necessary materials, manufacturing costs and target market distribution adjustments.

Big data analysis is essential to all of this. West Florida University’s online Master of Business Administration with an Emphasis in Supply Chain Logistics Management not only offers courses that focus specifically on information systems and big data analysis but also incorporates insights from that analysis into the curriculum. Coursework concentrates on pragmatic, case-based studies in supply chain network design, strategy and policy development, problem-solving, and many other aspects of administrative business decision-making.

The Development of Big Data Analysis

Useful industry and market data used to take immense amounts of time to collect through surveys, research, and the storage and review of internal financials and logistics logs. However, the exponential advancement in digital technologies such as online metadata retrieval and data analysis services has made far greater amounts of data available to companies, from small businesses to multinational corporations.

Moreover, data analysis now offers tailored, results-specific information. This can be both simplistic forms of reviewing internal data as well as complex software algorithms that sift through internet-based data for information on market trends; consumer activity; product success and industry-wide precedents, strategies and trends.

The Use of Big Data in Logistics and Supply Chain Management Companies

Big data analysis can offer logistics professionals actionable information. Modern supply chain management and logistics companies depend largely on industry and market analysis of big data and information systems to determine exactly how their client companies should proceed. This can include the relative success of varying target markets, product release planning, pricing, packaging, marketing and scheduling. This sort of data analysis can also be very effective in collating information on successful supply chain network design, integrating industry- and company need-specific market testing, manufacturing, distribution, consumer feedback, and even automated product improvement plans.

How can Supply Chain and Logistics Managers Take Advantage of Big Data?

Supply chain and logistics managers can use big data analysis to great effect as well. Whereas logistics companies generally specialize in integrating big data analysis and effective business management planning, business administrators can also easily access free online analysis software such as Google Analytics. These free online services provide extensive sets of searchable information on website traffic, broken down by consumer location, demographics, social media referrals, digital marketing sources and other variables.

In addition, many new data analytics companies are now offering tailored services to help businesses sift through the often-overwhelming amounts of available information. They use advanced software to distill data that is especially useful to the client’s business needs, catering to the supply chain and logistics professional as well as the chief executive officer.

In today’s world of ever-evolving, global exchange and exponential technological advancement, big data analysis has great potential to help companies gain competitive advantages in their markets. Startup businesses can use data analysis to help create their initial business strategies, product development, target market, supply chain network design, and business feedback loop improvement model. Stagnant corporations can incorporate internal and external data analysis to determine areas for improvement and restructuring.

Learning how to incorporate big data analysis and information systems into the study of logistics and supply chain management through an online MBA program can help degree candidates prepare themselves for success in the fast-paced, data-based world of modern business.

Learn more about the UWF online MBA in Supply Chain Logistics Management program.


Forbes: Ten Ways Big Data Is Revolutionizing Supply Chain Management

Industry Week: What Are the Critical Skills of Supply Chain Leaders?

Supply Chain Management Review: Big Data is Highlighted in 2017 21st Annual Third-Party Logistics Study

Deloitte: Supply Chain Leadership

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