If you're working in supply chain, then you know how complicated it can be to manage metrics. And it only gets more complicated if you're trying to manage multiple points of sale across different channels. For example, let's say that you sell electronics and have a brick-and-mortar store at a location in Manhattan as well as an online shop that distributes worldwide. If something goes wrong—let's say there's a spike in returns or damaged deliveries—it can be difficult to figure out what was responsible for the problem. And all this makes it hard to measure success as well.
Any single metric might not tell the whole story: maybe your online sales are excellent but your brick-and-mortar sales are suffering; maybe your business is growing overall but customers are becoming less satisfied with their experiences engaging with individual points of purchase—but which ones? As with many other aspects of business, having lots of data can make it easier to see where there are problems, so that you can fix them. In order for data analytics to help supply chain managers meet their goals, they need dashboards tailored specifically toward their specific line of work. Luckily, we've compiled some tips for how best to organize your dashboard so that it works for you rather than against you:
Supply chain KPIs you should consider
KPIs are key performance indicators that measure the health of your supply chain. They’re used by supply chain managers to track the performance of the supply chain, monitor and improve supply chain performance, identify problems in the system, set targets and measure progress.
So what are KPIs? Most importantly, they should be measurable and actionable. It’s also important that they align with organizational goals and objectives so you can make better business decisions based on data.
Here are some examples:
On-time in-full percentage (OTIF)
Measures how often orders arrive on time and in full, as a percentage of total orders. Calculated as:
OTIF = (Total orders - Problem orders) / Total Orders
Tells you how many times a company has sold its products or services over a specific period (usually one year). Calculated as:
Inventory Turnover Ratio = Cost Of Goods Sold ÷ Average Inventory
Cash to cash cycle time
Tells you how long the lag is between when you pay for the materials inside a product to when you sell that product. Calculated as:
Cach to cash cycle = Average(Materials payment date - Customer order payment date)
Have a system in place to collect the data needed for your supply chain KPIs
How do you know what data you need? This is where having an experienced team on board can be invaluable, as they know where all of this data lives and can help you collect it in one place. You may also consider using software that collects data directly from suppliers or partners as well as internal systems like ERP/MRP and warehouse management systems (WMS).
To gather data and run your analysis, you should try to avoid exporting CSVs from those systems for analysis purposes. Instead, pick a flow that will automatically pull data from the system of record into a place you can analyze it. Apps like Cascade can help, with direct connections to most databases.
Find a software solution to build your supply chain dashboard
With your organizational goals and strategy in mind, it's time to select a software solution that will help you build out your supply chain dashboard. There are a few options on the market:
- Excel or Google Sheets - Spreadsheets work well for simple analysis,
- Tableau or Power BI - while data visualization platforms have the ability to pull and display KPIs, they're often limited in their ability to distill large amounts of information down to a few key metrics. If
- Cascade.io data apps - Cascade offers a powerful yet simple solution for custom dashboards in the form of a data app.
You can build a data app that looks like this:
How to send key supply chain metrics to your team
Once you have your dashboard solution, you'll want to ensure that your team has the most recent, most relevant information possible.
- If you're using a spreadsheet to send data, you'll want to share that spreadsheet with the relevant team members. Keep in mind that those team members may have edit access to your spreadsheet and may break it.
- If you're using a data app to send data to your team, you can set the data app on a schedule so that it pulls the most recent data every time. You can also use Cascade's automated email system to send data to your team automatically.
- A Cascade data app is the only way to ensure you never miss an important metric.
Cascade.io data apps allow for automatic data delivery of supply chain metrics
Cascade.io data apps are easy to use, customizable and secure. They allow you to access your supply chain metrics on an interactive dashboard, allowing you to monitor your supply chain in real-time. These tools also offer webhooks and automation capabilities that allow users to create custom apps or integrate their current applications with Cascade’s data platform.
Cascade’s data apps are scalable and can be used by both large enterprises with complex global networks and small companies who want visibility into their business processes without having to invest heavily in IT infrastructure.
Supply chain KPIs are a great way to get insight into how your business is doing. And having an easy way to consume these numbers, like in a supply chain dashboard, can be invaluable for you and your team. With Cascade.io data apps, you can build dashboards that automatically pull metrics from various sources and send key supply chain metrics to the right people on your team with automatic alerts.