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Big Data: how to reap the benefits

03 Jul 2017


In Part 1 of our 'Big Data' blog, we explained how many organisations are missing the mark, when it comes to making the most of Big Data in business. In this blog, we explore how when Big Data is properly understood, the benefits are infinite. 

Greater forecast accuracy is one of the by-products of Big Data, as predictive analysis is refined through the use of big data. By using corresponding tools, such as modelling, and sophisticated IT systems to identify hidden patterns and interpret early signals, companies can anticipate future customer behaviours to inform their forward business plan with true knowledge.

By understanding what the customer wants and is likely to want in the future, manufacturers can stay a step ahead in terms of meeting customer demand, with faster response times and shorter lead times.  

Big data also has a role in optimising a lean supply chain, especially in transportation logistics, both in delivery raw material or shipping out products. Advance analytics give organisations the ability to analyse weather patterns and forecasts, highlighting events that might cause delay in supply chain such as tornadoes, earthquakes and other natural disasters. Based on these statistics, companies can then form contingency plans – identifying back-up suppliers, for example – to enable them to continue to meet operational targets.

In process-based industries, one of the proven benefits of advanced analytics is increased yield, whether through improved production or reducing waste. Similarly, superior quality is a by-product of advanced analysis, as insights emerge as to exactly which parameters influence yield variation. By carefully pinpointing which processes are underperforming and using data to assess the effect of the varying factors on production, organisations can decide on a course of action as to how to best tackle issues which are negatively affecting yield.

Big data and advanced analytics are clearly key to a successful business and there’s no doubt that the potential for big data and advanced analytics in the future is huge – but only for companies who have the correct data, people and processes to properly use it.


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Dawn Howarth

Associate, Oliver Wight EAME

With over 20 years experience in global supply chain and demand management across international markets, Dawn brings a pragmatic and practical approach to organisational development.

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