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Is Balancing Complex Retail and CPG Supply Chains a Total Fantasy?

Is Balancing Complex Retail and CPG Supply Chains a Total Fantasy?
Recent events have more than illustrated the fragility of ultra-lean supply chains. Global haulage driver shortages, Brexit implications, and the various impacts of COVID have created the perfect storm. This is further accentuated by the rapidly changing patterns of consumer behaviour, which combine a desire for instant gratification, with an increased concern over the ethical and sustainable impacts of shopping. Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) must somehow balance all these demands in an effort to manage costs, speed and quality of service. 

Some faced with the disruption of the past few months, may reach the conclusion that maintaining this balance in today’s complex, fast-moving environment is a fantasy, and that increased costs creeping back into the supply chain is an inevitability. Teradata can, however, help CSCOs avoid this, while maintaining the critical balance across all supply chain characteristics.

Visibility Across Silos

Visibility is central to overall supply chain success. To make the right business decisions in a timely manner it’s essential to know, at a granular level, not just the location of goods, but everything related to those goods and their movement. However, today’s complex, multi-party, global supply chains make it almost impossible to manually maintain a single view across all the data that exists around a product. Over time, silos build up within organisations, functions and geographies, leading to that silo inadvertently focussing on its own needs, rather than on what’s most important to the end customer.

Although there are many applications out there that automate and streamline different aspects of the supply chain to help make improvements, these tend to focus on specific functions such as transport management, warehouse management or demand forecasting. They are effective and add value, but further extenuate the challenge as they also operate within silos, and thereby don’t support the goal of overall visibility.

At Teradata, we know how hard it is to remove these silos – as they are deeply embedded aspects of overall management and organisational structures. What if you could resolve the challenge/opportunity though, by providing an integrated data hub that enables retail and CPG organisations to leverage all the data from every single silo? This would facilitate each silo to operate in the context of all the other silos, and hence the overall supply chain. With Teradata, companies can combine data at massive scale and in near real-time to not only make accurate up-to-the-minute operational decisions, but to also leverage that data to enhance the more strategic aspects of supply chain such as network design, sourcing and scenario planning.

Avoiding the Balloon Effect

Decisions within supply chains often fall foul of the ‘balloon effect;’ squeezing performance in one characteristic, or in one function, that simply leads to bulging costs, inefficiencies or quality deterioration in another. By connecting data from every silo, Teradata can help retail and CPG businesses by delivering end-to-end visibility, providing not only the data but the context of every data element. Furthermore, integrating this data and providing a variety of lenses through which the different parts of the business can view that same data, allows CSCOs to model the holistic ramifications of any decisions, and so minimise the balloon effect. This single source of integrated data provides the foundation for the automation of entire supply-chain processes, rather than creating islands of automation that can work against each other.

Your data foundation will then be able to support a range of capabilities, helping you better manage the types of supply chain disruptions that we’ve seen over the past months. With integrated data at scale, retailers and CPG’s will be able to understand in real-time exactly how their entire supply chain is working. Automation can then deliver intelligent alerts to highlight when interventions are needed for the good of the overall business, and recommend resolution options based on pre-defined business priorities. This approach eliminates the noise generated from constant churn at each node, in turn reducing the associated disruption. This same granular, real-time operational data can also be analysed to create powerful new predictive analytical capabilities, providing early warnings of arising issues, and hence a longer window to develop the appropriate response to them.

Retailers & CPGs rely on Teradata

Teradata’s integrated data hub approach has additional key benefits for CSCOs. Viewing all the data relating to specific goods movements – not only their location, but the costs, CO2 footprint, performance against plan and against previous time periods - provides insights into potential weak links. CSCOs and their teams can quickly ‘drill-down’ to specific elements within the data and make informed decisions as to how to respond, and what the implications of executing those responses are. They can use the same granular data as a foundation to conduct detailed, accurate scenario planning, resilience stress testing, ‘what-if?’ analysis and other simulations. Thereby building ever-increasing levels of understanding and agility.

Bringing together increasingly diverse data sets that are needed to make sense of today’s complex and dynamic market situation is essential for better, faster, and more informed decision-making. The alternative, manually reconciling data from multiple sources in multiple formats, can quickly occupy most of the CSCOs teams limited resource – not to mention increase the potential for errors or mismatches of data from different silos. A single data platform that acts as a source of consistent data, and which can operate at the massive scale and near-real-time speed of today’s global supply chains is therefore becoming table stakes.

Retailers & CPGs around the world use Teradata’s data & analytics expertise across their organisation’s different functions, and the same platform can be extended to provide much-needed support to the CSCO. Our technology, consultants, developers and data scientists are already working to streamline the most complex supply chains at the leading retailers & CPG’s worldwide. To find out how Teradata can make balancing every element of your supply chain a reality, please email our retail and CPG supply chain specialists.
Portrait of Chris Newbery

Chris Newbery

Chris Newbery leads the Retail & CPG Industry Consulting practice for EMEA. Working with major global Retailers & CPG's to deliver high value business outcomes, strategy and thought leadership to achieve Architecture, Advanced Data & Analytics, Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Finance, Marketing & Commercial excellence, through Teradata's software, services, consulting and partnerships. Before joining Teradata, Chris has driven growth for leading Retailers and global CPG's since 1998, with a cross-functional background having worked in Consulting, Customer, Marketing, Digital, Operations, Commercial & Merchandising roles, across all online and offline distribution channels, in multiple countries. View all posts by Chris Newbery
Portrait of Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor

Paul has over 20 years of experience in the aerospace and automotive industries. His career started at Rolls-Royce Aero Engines in manufacturing and engineering, broadening his experience through a series of customer facing, programme management and business orientated roles before moving into supply chain. Most recently Paul has worked with Jaguar Land Rover to manage their Connected Supply Chain programme. This programme aimed to drive a step change in how the OEM collaborates with its suppliers, to optimise inventory levels and to provide visibility, tracking and issue alerting for long distance supply chains. 

Paul has a degree in Aerospace Manufacturing Engineering from the University of the West of England. 

He has a passion for motorsport, in particular MotoGP, and has built a replica AC Cobra kit car which he now enjoys driving whenever time and the weather allow. View all posts by Paul Taylor

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