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Achieving Continuous Improvement in Complex Supply Chains Today – Part 2

In Part 1 of Achieving Continuous Improvement in Complex Supply Chains Today, I reviewed Robert Bowman’s article in GLCS “Achieving Continuous Improvement in Complex Supply Chains Today” and took a closer look at the P&G example cited there. In this post, I intend to focus on the application of Business Intelligence and its role in continuous improvement.
Robert brings up the notion of Managing by Dashboard in the latter half of the article. He introduces the following:

A crucial element of any such technology is the executive dashboard, software which allows managers to monitor at a glance a series of key performance indicators (KPIs). HighJump has built some 500 screens into its products, although each customer utilizes no more than a handful of measurements, based on its unique needs. The tool gives users the data needed to pursue continuous improvement.

If one refers to the age old diagram of a supply chain’s structure, one would find product flow as well as information flow (typically in the reverse direction). Even with such an explicit definition of the importance of information flows and awareness of the importance of data within a firm, my experience in Supply Chain consulting shows that data about even the simplest transactions within a firm are mangled in ways that might drive horror into Frankenstein’s cold living heart. The one piece of data that is never mangled though is payroll. Ah! if only?
Robert alludes to that by writing:

Dashboards are only as good as the data they contain. The first step, then, is to set up a database that can act as the single point of storage for all relevant information generated by a company and its trading partners. In addition, the database must be scalable to accommodate rapid growth in sales, says Brad Fellows, senior partner of transportation, logistics and distribution with Teradata in Dayton, Ohio.

Read the rest of this entry »

About me

I am Chris Jacob Abraham and I live, work and blog from Newburgh, New York. I work for IBM as a Senior consultant in the Fab PowerOps group that works around the issue of detailed Fab (semiconductor fab) level scheduling on a continual basis. My erstwhile company ILOG was recently acquired by IBM and I've joined the Industry Solutions Group there.

@ SCM Clustrmap

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August 2006