Big Data has found a variety of applications in this era, and supply chain was a natural choice. From improving delivery times by synchronizing shipments to identifying better ways to reduce the communication gap between manufacturers and suppliers, today, BDA is working as an evolutionary catalyst for the supply chain management in the following ways:
Consumer Habits and Behaviours
Most of the big telecom companies such as Vodafone Business Services, Reliance Communications, and Bharti Airtel Ltd. are actively investing in BDA and using it to analyze the usage patterns of their customers. Using the data collected from the analytics systems, they retain their subscribers and increase revenue significantly.
While Airtel has introduced “data marts” for managing reports and gathering data that can help in the development of new products and consumer retention campaigns, Vodafone is using BDA technology to predict the network growth and plan network expansions efficiently.
- Customer Experience
BDA has been found to be extremely helpful in opening new pathways to a better customer experience. For instance, BloomReach is one of the leading companies in this segment that has been researching and learning what people search for, click and share on the Internet.
BloobReach offers a subscription model of four BDA-based mobile APIs that businesses can easily integrate into their platforms. One of these, Predictive Search takes into account the previous consumer interactions to predict what they are most likely to search for using just a few characters typed into a search box. Similarly, the Cross-Device Retargeting tracks the customers on different platforms to carry over their preferred experience- mobile, tablets, computers, etc.
In another example, yatra.com, which is one of the biggest online travel agencies of India is using a combination of both in-house and third-party technologies to better understand the needs of its customers and offer a personalized experience to each.
- Streamlined E-Commerce
Online retailers such as Flipkart or Snapdeal would be foolish to ignore BDA, and they are not. All the big players in this space have their teams of dedicated data scientists and state-of-the-art analytics systems to streamline their supply chain management system.
For instance, Snapdeal uses a multi-tier system called Hadoop-based farm which is an open source data analytics software. Similarly, Flipkart strongly emphasizes on technology to ensure top-notch supply chain management. Its engineers are encouraged towards developing and improving algorithms for accurate delivery predictability, advanced mobile technology for route optimization, and increased automation in the warehouse, etc.
In a notable example, when the Diwali festive sale of 2015 led to a 500% traffic growth for Snapdeal, it was already prepared, thanks to BDA. With predictive analytics, it was able to deal with the logistics and handling of massive volumes of concurrent orders with ease.
- Exceptional Inventory management
A small retailer who runs a brick-and-mortar store isn’t really bothered by inventory management due to the small scale of the operation. However, big box retailers and top online stores deal with a sizeable inventory which poses several challenges. This is where BDA has emerged as a game changer.
Operations managers now get a minute-to-minute overview of the operations and identify bottlenecks that slow down the system, using advanced BDA tools. Moreover, consumer trends also tend to go hand-in-hand in this and allow the business to promote the best-selling products and optimize inventory accordingly.
Amazon is one of the leading players using BDA in its inventory management. Amazon selects warehouses based on the proximity of vendors and that of the customers to brings its distribution costs down. Using predictive analysis, it distributes the inventory based on the consumer demands and preferences in a particular area, thus keeping the flow of the supply chain at the maximum level.
BDA has tremendous potential, and while we have reached new heights in the supply chain management today, there is considerable progress lined ahead in this age of the fourth industrial revolution.
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