The Digital Supply Chain Company

Using Data Analysis in Digital Supply Chain Strategies to Ensure Continuity

The Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has stressed supply chains on a global scale. In a recent forum of the MRO Problem Solvers, a collective of like-minded supply chain professionals looking to solve problems together and share best practices to help people along their digital transformation journey, SDI’s Director of Digital Transformation Strategy, John Delligatti, hosted a web discussion on the use of data analytics as part of an overall digital supply chain strategy to ensure continuity and operational viability, especially amid a supply chain disruption like the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the need for more efficient supply chains, overall, is top of mind, Delligatti stressed the importance of looking inward to analyze spend data to paint a better picture and create a more connected supply chain.


While three years’ worth of data is ideal for getting initial visibility into your digital supply chain strategy, organizations could pull 12 months of data as a starting point. First ensure that the data is standardized with fields like description, part number, manufacturer name, etc. At this point, the data doesn’t provide you with anything beyond this information.

We recommend bucketing spend into categories as a place to start recognizing trends beyond what is visible at a cursory level. Visualization and analytical tools like ZEUS allow procurement professionals to get a picture of their connected supply chain in a way they may not have seen before, providing an interesting perspective on current spend and past trends. This allows you to ask specific questions as to who your top PPE providers are, identify secondary and tertiary suppliers for critical categories like sanitation/janitorial suppliers, and ask which suppliers you have negotiated contracts with.

This helps you identify where to go if your main suppliers are experiencing disruptions in their supply. It also allows you to ask questions around your inventory within those categories, especially in identifying critical spares, keeping in mind that critical may need to be re-defined.


Once you’ve identified your critical spares there are other opportunities to look at inventory as part of your digital supply chain strategy. Many companies look at inventory management from just one point of view, but an effective inventory management system and connected supply chain looks at all possible areas to help cut costs and improve efficiencies.

Taking a look at inventory data to see where to consolidate slow moving, high dollar parts that are shared across multiple facilities allows procurement organizations to be more agile to benefit the business overall in the ability to transfer excess items to another location where it is still utilized, or in conducting root cause analysis on the highest turn inventory items.


Organizations can use the analysis on their spend profiles to predict what they will use in the coming 12 months and plan for supply continuity. Delligatti explains that the issue with a standard min/max solution is that without constant and consistent review, the risks of stock-outs and overstocking of materials is high. 

A connected supply chain takes advantage of forecast modeling and intelligent inventory management programs to plan and prevent disturbances in the supply chain. As part of an overall digital supply chain strategy, by predictively planning the next purchase and constantly re-evaluating key criteria to ensure that the parts will be available when they are needed, forecast modeling helps organizations use spend data to predict future usage and help prevent future disruption in supply, especially for those critical spares.

Data analytics and categorization for MRO can be nuanced and takes expertise in the field. Any digital supply chain strategy is only supported by the technology that enables the people and proven process. Given the application of the right tools, actionable insights can be derived in a very short time frame, once data is standardized. The webinar is designed to help you look at data in a way to plan for and prevent supply chain disruptions. SDI offers a range of other services that can streamline and secure your supply chain. Contact us to learn more.

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