Big data is now central to supply chain management.

As much as I rarely jump on the latest buzzword bandwagons (as I find them to be a waste of time), big data is an important emerging topic in supply chain.

The amount of data continues to grow – we are definitely in an information overload society! In addition, complexity and unstructured data (which doesn’t fit into traditional databases such as email and photos) are increasing at a fast pace. Big data is a powerful tool in navigating these waters.

The supply chain is also gaining complexity at an alarming rate and so managers and executives need improved tools for effective decision-making. There are countless uses of big data in supply chain – some of the most prevalent include: supply chain management, demand planning, supplier information, customer marketplace trends, etc.

For example, Sales & Operations planning is one of the best uses of big data. Aligning demand with supply requires excellence in information sharing. As the data and supply chain become more complex, big data is more critical in uncovering relevant and useful data quicker so that the S&OP participants have access to relevant data to identify areas for focus and to make more objective, data-driven decisions.

S&OP has the potential to significant impact margins, cash flow and revenues – how can you ignore it?