How analytical managers bring supply chain efficiency


We’ve already spoken about different skills that supply chain managers must have. However, in the information age, one of the most critical tools for management positions is data execution. It’s not just about supply chain visibility  in a dashboard, regardless of its integration, but to make informed, forward-looking decisions with raw data or indicators.

In 2014, the movie “The Imitation Game” portrayed artificial intelligence (AI) pioneer Alan Turing’s efforts in World War Two, to develop an algorithm and a machine to decode in a timely way Nazi intelligence messages.

His success depended on not only in data visualization, but in making informed decisions about them, with an analytical, deductive capacity, and  criteria which only critical human reasoning can make:

  •  Even though the algorithms and mechanics were in tune, Turing’s team was not capable of cracking the code until they isolated a hidden variable: messages kept repeating the word weather and Heil Hitler.
  • When the “Enigma Code” was deciphered, British intelligence faced a dilemma which could cost thousands of lives. With the availability of abundant amounts of information about troop movements, they took the hard decision to avoid acting upon all of them. They statically calculated the use of information by British forces in certain scenarios, to avoid giving away their knowledge to Nazi intelligence, who could then change the code and beat their competitive advantage.

Turing is not only one of the founding fathers of information technology but one of the predecessors of a rising 21st-century management technique: “business intelligence“. A good manager requires quick and timely analysis, logical and critical asessments with the use of its data, alerts and signals.

Logistics and supply chain managers, in particular, require quickly assessing scenarios, understanding client behaviors and predictive models.

Today, any value proposal from any company is not only based on the product or service but customer segmentation, considering attributes such as integrated business planning.

This is highly critical when we consider that a decision can have system-wide causes or consequences, either direct or indirect. Route optimization doesn’t only depend on monitoring and visibility fleet tracking systems. A route planning problem can come from multiple factors, and a correct or rushed decision can have several unplanned consequences.

When logistics intelligence allows interaction, the channels is to work with high volume o data to analyze promptly.

Management expert Peter Drucker says it best regarding the information technology era:

“The knowledge that we consider knowledge proves itself in action. What we now mean by knowledge is information in action, information focused on results.”

What challenges do you see in analysis from supply chain managers? What elements do you think a route optimization software can assist or not? We appreciate your comments and suggestions.

Francisca is the Business Development Director of Drivin, a SaaS transportation management solution that generates an optimized delivery plan, improves customer service, and reduces transportation costs by up to 30% from day one.