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Challenges Facing Supply Chain Analytics Success

3 minute read

The recent global supply chain disruption has exposed the vulnerabilities of traditional supply chain management strategies. Many of these tactics were reactive, leaving companies scrambling for solutions.

Embracing supply chain analytics can give you the edge needed to thrive in today’s uncertain market. However, despite its numerous benefits, incorporating analytics into your current strategy may take some work.

Dig in as we highlight common challenges you’re likely to face when implementing supply chain analytics and how to overcome them.

#1: Many organizations lack the right data

A company’s supply chain is a complex system with countless moving parts. This makes utilizing analytics nearly impossible if you don’t collect high quality data across the network.

While most companies gather data, it tends to be fragmented and unreliable. In fact, research shows 47% of newly created data records have at least one critical error. This leads to the inability to analyze the data needed to drive change.

Solution: Successful supply chain analytics hinges on clean, reliable data. Therefore, it’s crucial to prioritize data management before jumping into analytics. Because different departments and processes produce different data types, a common data language helps structure the data and break down silos.

Read: Data Management & the Supply Chain

Coworkers holding meeting over laptop

#2: Seeing ROI is a lengthy process

Most companies are reluctant to implement new supply chain solutions because of the initial cost and long path to ROI.

It takes the average company four months to implement new supply chain software and up to 14 months to achieve ROI. That’s a lot of time and money invested, so it’s critical to get it right.

Solution: Working with an implementation partner will help you select the most relevant analytics system and lower the margin of error during execution. Bringing in outside expertise will also accelerate adoption and reduce employee hesitation, allowing companies to achieve a faster ROI.

#3: Stakeholder resistance

Failed analytics adoption also occurs when management isn’t fully invested in the plan. A lack of support and buy-in from stakeholders can create significant hurdles including process delays and clouded project leadership.

Solution: Dissolving stakeholder resistance is a multi-step process:

1. Identify all relevant stakeholders
2. Set a clear timeline and communicate the project’s value and goal
3. Be upfront about costs and resources needed
4. Explain how the investment will provide ROI—and when
5. Explicitly define what stakeholder investment looks like
6. Solicit feedback and incorporate it into the project plan

Following these steps provides stakeholders with a complete view of the project and integrates them in the decision-making process.

Read: 7 Reasons to Embrace Supply Chain Analytics

Woman presenting to her team in a meeting

#4: Comprehensive training is needed

New technology often comes with a steep learning curve. It’s not realistic to implement supply chain analytics software and leave employees to figure it out. People are naturally resistant to change and may become indifferent or opposed to new workplace initiatives unless you make the transition seamless.

Solution: Successful implementation of new technology often comes down to change management. To help employees embrace the changes brought by the new technology, Training Industry recommends:

1. Considering and preparing for employee pain points
2. Encouraging employees to voice concerns
3. Building excitement in advance
4. Customizing communications across different departments
5. Creating interactive and tailored training programs
6. Promoting wins through internal marketing campaigns
7. Embedding the technology in company culture

Ensuring employees are on board is just as important as stakeholder buy-in. The best technology can be rendered useless if there’s resistance and confusion. 

#5: Supply chain analytics skills and talent are limited

Nearly half of supply chain leaders are increasing their spending in digital technologies, reports SupplyChainBrain. However, there’s a lack of tech-savvy talent to fill the newly created roles.

Supply chain analytics professionals must have comprehensive programming, analytics, mathematics, and data management skills. These specific requirements, coupled with the ongoing labor shortage, make finding qualified talent difficult.

Solution: Working with outside consultants can help you bridge the skills gap and find talent in a highly competitive market. Catena Solutions specializes in helping companies solve their supply chain problems through data & analytics and business transformation expertise.

Contact us today to learn more.

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