This blog was cowritten by Sukesh Dixit, Product Director, and Nina Seth, Marketing Director.

For the past few years, supply chain uncertainty has tested every company. The world’s supply chains have been stalled by challenges like labor capacity, imperfect inventory positioning, unpredictable supply, rising costs, and prolonged fulfillment times. Adding to the complexity, an increasing number of orders must be captured and fulfilled across a growing number of channels, supported by flexible delivery options.

Matching products accurately with demand, and delivering them profitably, has never been easy. But now companies are faced with ongoing operational uncertainty on the one hand, and a need for incredibly precise supply chain orchestration and cost control on the other. Their short-term profitability and long-term competitive success depend on making the right decisions, almost immediately, about how to source and store products, manage and fulfill orders, and schedule assets like labor and transportation.

They need to source products from the most cost-effective, reliable suppliers, then store them as close to the final customer as possible. They need to allocate products intelligently across stores and channels, to avoid stockouts and markdowns. They need to choose the ideal fulfillment node — one that has no labor or inventory constraints, while also optimizing delivery costs. They need to split shipments strategically. They need to match assets like labor and transportation precisely as possible with demand.  And they need to drive time and costs out of every stage of the supply chain, while maintaining speed and accuracy.

Most importantly, they need to make reliable customer promises and keep them. Every decision that’s made across the end-to-end supply chain has a direct impact on the customer experience, customer retention and the bottom line. 

In today’s hyper-competitive omni-channel landscape, precise supply chain orchestration has become a business imperative. But that’s easier said than done, especially considering that upstream and downstream volatility seems here to stay. Companies need to have an accurate understanding of what’s happening across the supply chain right now as well as what’s likely to happen next. They need to monitor changing conditions in near real time and make decisions based on the newest insights.

Data: A Challenge and an Opportunity

Today’s digitally connected world means that companies have access to enormous volumes of near real-time data that can help them manage their end-to-end supply chains profitably and precisely, despite uncertainty. By collecting and analyzing that data, they can develop insights that support better and more timely decision-making. They can distinguish between “normal” supply chain conditions and anomalies — like an unexpected product or labor shortage —that will interfere with their ability to keep customer promises. They can anticipate these events and resolve them proactively, instead of reactively.

There’s never been a better time to have near real-time access to data in a usable form and apply it to answer critical questions about product sourcing, labor management, warehousing, transportation, fulfillment, order management, and other core competencies — while also using it to continuously measure and improve supply chain speed, efficiency, accuracy, and profitability.

The problem? While there are vast amounts of data available, most companies struggle to easily access it, manage it and apply it to their everyday decisions. The data in today’s typical omni-channel supply chain organization is highly distributed and aggregating it can be a challenge for many companies — let alone making it both accessible and actionable. Moreover, companies are increasingly looking for data that lives outside their four walls to ensure decisions reflect market realities.

Introducing Analyst Workbench From Blue Yonder

To solve this problem, Blue Yonder has developed a comprehensive framework that’s capable of ingesting near real-time data from any source — and delivering it to stakeholders across the supply chain in a tactical, usable format via an interactive User Interface.

Analyst Workbench, is an innovative solution that helps companies collect data, generate insights, and apply those insights in practical ways for daily decision-making. Combining Blue Yonder’s market leading technology and IP with Snowflake’s powerful data management capabilities, the solution enables companies to access, share and consume live governed data, industry-specific datasets and data services at scale — without the latency, cost and effort required with technical integrations across applications or with traditional data marketplaces. Blue Yonder’s dynamic, scalable data models together with Snowflake’s data storage, processing and analytic solutions – which are faster, easier to use and far more flexible than traditional database offerings — make it easy for Blue Yonder customers to extract the insights they need.   Analyst Workbench then provides a user-friendly, easily accessible interface to access and view the rich set of unified data that’s centrally stored in a common data cloud.

Analyst Workbench provides supply chain decision support, empowering companies to mix, match and analyze data from any digital touch point in their omni-channel supply chain ecosystem. They can visualize in near real time the many factors that will affect their ability to keep their customer promises. And it creates a digital twin of the physical supply chain, enabling companies to track the overall health and profitability of their supply chain — including the utilization of critical assets such as inventory, labor and transportation resources. Companies can apply these insights to improve key performance indicators (KPIs) that directly impact cost, profitability and service outcomes.

One Data Platform, Endless Insights

One key reason companies struggle to unify and strategically apply their data is that it exists in so many places, and in so many formats. For example, an allocation and sourcing service will have its own data structure and storage policies, while an order fulfillment service will have very different data characteristics. Leveraging decades of supply chain experience and technology leadership, Blue Yonder has adopted a “one data” perspective, where data gets stored based on omni-channel functions — including order, inventory, labor, and transportation management — to reflect the real-world supply chain journey and deliver a unified analytics landscape, unified view and unified journey.

With Blue Yonder, data is collected from the moment a customer lands on a website, and from the moment a product is sourced from a supplier. Data capture continues through inventory management, warehousing, order management, fulfillment, and transportation. The result? A full picture of the end-to-end supply chain, with deep insights into what happened, and what could have been improved, at every stage in the journey. By slicing and dicing different data elements across different dimensions, supply chain stakeholders can identify issues and take meaningful action. For example, they can improve the placement of inventory to create ideal fulfillment nodes that minimize both delivery time and cost. They can create policies to prioritize certain customers based on their strategic importance. These and other meaningful supply chain improvements are only achieved with easy access to practical, actionable data.

Leave the Heavy Lifting to the Experts

Today’s supply chain challenges are both incredibly complex and extremely time-sensitive, which means they exceed the capabilities of human analysts equipped with traditional tools and methods. Blue Yonder’s Analyst Workbench provides a robust, data-driven, out-of-the-box solution that reveals exceptions across the supply chain ecosystem and drives near real-time resolutions. This framework is tightly integrated with Blue Yonder’s solutions in commerce, inventory management, labor management, warehousing, fulfillment, and transportation to deliver the greatest opportunity for digital transformation.

Today every company is tasked with overwhelming challenges as they seek to master supply chain uncertainty. As they work to leverage the enormous volumes of real-time data that are available to them — and apply that data to make more informed, profitable decisions in near real time — Blue Yonder and Snowflake can help with the heavy lifting of data management and analysis.