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How to use Data to improve efficiency in your Distribution Network

By Kang’ethe Njoroge | 24 April 2019 | Published on Money Series Africa

 

NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 23 – Nowadays, a distribution strategy is part of the DNA of many companies and a correct channel management strategy is vital for the success of your product.

 

In the past few years there have been two main areas that have greatly affected industries.

 

The first, the pace of technological change and the second, the developments in supply chain thinking.

 

In today’s highly competitive market and rising consumer expectations, it’s crucial that your distribution channel works as resourcefully as possible.

 

Advances in technology, has provided manufacturers with a wealth of information to enable them to boost efficiency and drive results, with the main advantage being data.

 

Data is a very powerful asset for any size of business. Owners are fast realizing the value of data in optimizing their business, and are very keen to obtain everything they can from the vast oceans of information they and their customers generate.

 

Businesses need to be able to draw precious insights from the wealth of information they sit on, and turn those into practical, actionable strategies.

 

That means, implementing intelligent analytical tools and sophisticated algorithms that can transform raw data into a plan to streamline operations, improve accuracy, speed up delivery, cut overheads, and identify new opportunities.

 

When it comes to improving the productivity of your distribution chain, knowledge is power.

 

Being able to use the data you generate every day to your advantage throughout your operations will create a more efficient, responsive operation.

 

From IT systems that manage your entire FMCG supply chain from the manufacturer, through to distribution and onto the merchant and/or retailer, these numerous sources can help you move from analyzing what happened yesterday to predicting what will happen tomorrow.

 

Whether you want to achieve successful lean manufacturing, tighten your just-in-time accuracy, or improve self-service customer tracking, proper traceability is something all our distribution chains require. Improving traceability goes hand in hand with reducing risk too.

 

Data management is central to keeping track of your product throughout the chain, from the factory to the shelf. If data is properly recorded and accessible to every link in the chain, managers can touch base with their product at every stage, helping maximize efficiency, address problems quickly, and improve customer satisfaction.

 

Creating a strong data flow, built around resilient component systems is key, and many software vendors can help their prospective users to design these new business structures, benefiting from their experience and knowledge of other businesses overcoming the same challenges.

 

As well as furnishing businesses with the ability to track orders and deliveries more effectively, companies can use data to better understand their customers’ needs, and get ahead of demand to make your customers’ experiences as smooth as possible.

 

Being prepared is critical to effective distribution management, and the more you know, the better prepared you can be. Smart business intelligence platforms are increasingly able to produce precise, actionable forecasts to help you manage inventory, minimize disruption, and plan for “what if” scenarios a year or even two years down the line.

 

By examining data generated by past events, you can be proactive and take a strategic approach, instead of reacting to events as they happen.

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