Driving Data-Driven Innovation in the Supply Chain

May 27, 2022

It is no news that today’s global supply chain is faced with unprecedented challenges, and data-driven innovation may just be the only way forward. Having said that, what exactly is this “data” we are talking about? How can retailers and logistics companies benefit from these data insights? What role does logistics data play in achieving business objectives? 

In the latest episode of our “Unpacking E-Commerce Logistics” series,we sat down with George Loiterton – Head of NSW Supply Chain, Retail & Agriculture at Telstra to discuss all things related to data-driven innovation in the supply chain. Leveraging his years of experience in online retail, coupled with his expertise in innovation, technology, and supply chain, George addressed the aforementioned questions and more during the session.

Join thousands of e-commerce logistics leaders
Sign up for free to access unlimited data insights!

Unpacking Big Data In Supply Chain 

Big data has been around for 10 or 15 years now, starting with the appearance of social media to the collection and use of data over the Internet. However, big data in businesses today is much more complicated as it goes beyond text and information, extending into other areas like photos and video as well. Companies thus have to ensure that they can keep up with the fast development of big data and learn how to use it efficiently for business improvement and optimization. Any companies that can embrace this approach, will undoubtedly be the future leaders in the industry, according to George.

Key Focus Areas for Retail and Logistics Companies

In George’s view, companies that are pursuing data-driven innovations should focus on the following areas: 

  1. Internal efficiency and productivity improvement are one of the main emphasis areas. Besides, they may also gain insights into customers and target those customers.

  2. Supply chain visibility is the second important area because apart from internal structure, companies have to observe what’s going on outside.

  3. The other factor that companies should focus on is demand forecasting. Besides, they should also focus on their warehouse, inventory management, and asset usage. Companies should understand and make informed decisions based on all of this data.

  4. Next, businesses must focus on their team and employees. Besides, they can find ways to enhance and share best practices, increase compliance, and improve workplace safety. 

  5. Finally, sustainability is a topic that is becoming increasingly important for all organizations.

Challenges In Supply Chain Visibility

One of the most pressing issues in the supply chain logistics business is supply chain visibility. In fact, obviously, we all know how to place an order on eBay and how to track our own item on our phones. However, it’s not easy to open up the phone and look at those specific applications when you’re working with thousands of suppliers and things in bulk. So this is one of the main concerns that companies have to work with to increase their productivity.

The second challenge is tracking logistics and transportation providers. In fact, products can travel across countries and continents in containers or on freight lines. And the main problem of many logistics companies is to bring all those different suppliers together and obtain a clear picture of where the stock is, when it’ll arrive, and maybe where the bottlenecks are? As a result, organizations are pursuing a variety of approaches to tackle issues. According to George, Telstra is attempting to bring together a number of different providers to assist with the coordination of that information. This is a critical component for companies looking to improve their efficiency.

To deal with these challenges, it takes the combined efforts of many various players in the supply chain. In fact, a company can not do it on its own because it’s a network of thousands of different suppliers that need to be brought together in that data. So George suggested starting small, with one of the major suppliers or important merchants with whom you’re working. This allows companies to understand and work out how they can access that data. Focusing on those specific areas might improve your efficiency.

Data-Driven Innovation Strategies for Organizations

Data-driven innovation, or DDI, is all about acquiring and utilizing the data in the right manner. AI, or automated intelligence, is one of the primary methods firms use to make use of data. According to George, about 10% of the attention is on AI or machine learning and the next 20% is focused on the platform itself; this involves working on cloud infrastructure, security and the two-factor authentication to give employers access to those dashboards and data insights. Last but not least, embedding these processes into the organizations (or culture change) accounts for the remaining 70% of the success factor of data-driven innovations. 

Applications of Data-Driven Innovation

These days, many firms are focused on efficiency over everything else. Deliveries, for example, would be one of the important sectors. Obviously, with the rise of Cobalt, deliveries to consumers at their homes have expanded dramatically. And there was clearly a significant increase in online buying. So, delivery firms need to find a way to become more efficient and optimize their routes. For example, you could potentially use a lot of different drivers to throw a bunch of different batches of where products need to go. It will find out what goes where and to which truck, and then figuring out how to be more efficient.

Other areas include not only revenue but also fraud management. According to Goerge, companies can begin to pick up consumers who phone into their firm. Is it because they will conduct fraud or that they will become victims of fraud? As such, they may start to construct some patterns and pattern matching utilizing big data to understand what’s going on with the consumer base. Besides, this can assist detecting customer tendencies and behaviors, as well as recognizing what they’re looking at on a Web page. As a result, forecasting demand might be more effective.

For the full discussion, check out the video below. You wouldn’t want to miss it! 

About George Loiterton

George Loiterton is a global business leader and entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in online retail & ICT. As General Manager of Telstra’s NSW Supply Chain, Logistics and Retail group, he is responsible for delivering a broad portfolio of technology services to Australian businesses. George is strongly focused on how technology and people can improve business outcomes. Prior to joining Telstra, George was co-founder of an online homewares retailer and has worked in services companies across Singapore and London.

About Unpacking E-Commerce Logistics Series

Unpacking E-Commerce Logistics brings together some of the best experts in the e-commerce logistics and supply chain space to unpack key concepts from a variety of trending topics, ranging from the use of Artificial Intelligence in the industry to embracing hyperlocal delivery in the e-commerce world. An integral part of this series are our 30-minute long Fireside Chats where we ask our thought leaders questions about not just the topic at hand, but also their career paths, challenges they have faced, and even their future plans.

For more exclusive reports, insights, and interviews on the latest updates in e-commerce and logistics, follow us on LinkedIn or join our community as a member.

Share this with your network

Also worth your time

Track your parcel here