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Dinanath Kholkar
Vice President & Global Head, Analytics & Insights
9 January 2020

Supply Chain Management (SCM) is evolving rapidly, and customers need to be agile when dealing with new-age challenges brought on by globalization, fast changing market preferences, and social customer care. Customers require complete visibility of their supply chains to strike the right balance between inventory management and customer demands, while at the same time carrying out efficient forecasting. And, all the while ensure low operating costs.

This is certainly a tall order for supply chain managers, to say the very least. However, it is gratifying to know, that goliaths in the business world have also walked this treacherous path. A popular example is iconic clothing designer, Ralph Lauren, which suffered a 50% plunge in profits due to Supply Chain Management complexities. This cost the company millions in revenue, not to mention valuable customer loyalty. More recently, multinational consumer electronic and video game company, Nintendo, also showed signs of tackling supply chain issues when their new gaming console ‘the Nintendo Switch’ indicated a critical shortage in the market, leading to frustrated consumers.

While such companies are forced to resort to a reactive approach to fix their supply chain, customers would be wise to adopt a proactive approach to tackle their supply chain problems.

Fortunately, tackling these sticky situations can be easy. If customers look for answers to high impact questions such as “What’s next?” and “What’s best?”, they can adjust their supply chain strategies and thrive amidst the complexity and uncertainty which defines the market today.

Opting for a Proactive Approach to Supply Chain Management

Data driven analytics can serve as a crucial and fitting solution to address supply chain disruption in today’s digital transformation era. Supply Chain Analytics can help improve demand forecasting by increasing the accuracy, optimizing the inventory levels along with safety stock, ensuring better inventory classification, supporting strategic decisions through network optimization and simulation, improving the procurement process and optimizing direct and indirect spend. Customers can be equipped to act quickly and accurately identify opportunities to optimize the supply chain. Here are a few areas that customers can examine how they can achieve agility in their supply chain.

The IoT revolution and Big Data presents tremendous opportunities to optimize the supply chain. However, leveraging the power of Big Data and IoT can be a daunting task with humongous unstructured data.

  • Demand Forecasting – Fast changing market preferences which impact market demand and impede demand forecasting can be tackled with segment-based forecasting. This will resolve demand-supply disparity and facilitate 
    predictable operation planning.

  • Inventory Management – Various inventory management challenges such as inaccurate forecasting, regulatory compliances, poor cross-department communication, etc. can be effectively addressed through inventory classification 
    methodologies and advanced optimization algorithms. Supply chain managers embracing these methodologies can improve the accuracy of inventory orders and ensure a more organized warehouse set-up.

  • Procurement Planning – Streamlining the procurement process (i.e. tackling market analysis, spend analysis and need analysis) can be handled through process simulation, multi-criteria decision making, and advanced 
    optimization algorithms. Adopting these techniques can assure a responsive and cost effective supply chain.

  • Network Design – Delay in supply of goods and services resulting in high cost implications for customers can be addressed through industry agnostic network design. This not only ensures optimal network recommendations, 
    but also provides what-if scenarios and analysis for effective decision making.

    The IoT revolution and Big Data presents tremendous opportunities to optimize the supply chain. However, leveraging the power of Big Data and IoT can be a daunting task with humongous unstructured data. With insightful recommendations and analytical tools, these concerns too can be laid to rest. The advanced analytical capabilities will maximize productivity and minimize overall supply chain costs, while providing real time metric tracking to take immediate action.

    By exercising agility with analytics for Supply Chain, customers can move away from a reactive approach to a supply chain that boast complete control. We, at TCS, are working with a number of customers who have taken the proactive approach to supply chain management and embraced the principles of Business 4.0. These customers already have an advantage over the others who are yet to jump on the bandwagon. With us as a partner, you are certain to analyze and identify opportunities to enable an efficient and effective supply chain and truly transform your business.

About the author(s)
Dinanath Kholkar
Vice President & Global Head, Analytics & Insights

Dinanath (Dina) Kholkar is Vice President & Global Head, Analytics & Insights at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). In this role, Dina guides some of the world’s best companies in their journeys to unlock the potential of their data through the power of analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to uncover new business opportunities, drive business growth and increase revenue streams.

Dina has been recognized as one of the top 100 influential global data leaders and data visionaries. He advocates ‘data centricity’ as a strategic lever for business growth and transformation. His thought leadership in addition to his team’s expertise and collaborative working with customer organizations is empowering them to realize the power of their data in real-time decision making and ensuring success in their Business 4.0 transformation journeys.

Dina holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He has been providing industry leadership to the IEEE Pune section for over 15 years; currently Chair, Industry Relations and Membership development. He also provides leadership, guidance and strategic direction in domains including education, sustainability, agriculture, and ‘data for good’ through his volunteering work at IEEE Pune Section, Pune International Center (PIC), and the Tata Group. Dina is a member of the Board of Governors of his alma mater Veermata Jeejabai Technological Institute (VJTI), Mumbai and actively involved in the institute’s alumni association. He is a review committee member, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata and is on the advisory committee at Pune Knowledge Cluster (PKC).