Retail Supply Chain KPIs: Valuable Insights to Collaboration

I recently had the opportunity to interview Remi Dyon, Business Intelligence Product Manager, Symphony RetailAI on the importance of giving retail management the ability to accurately track business intelligence (BI) and gain critical business insights. As Remi indicates in this Q&A, with the right supply chain KPIs, the challenge of having a clear view into BI becomes, instead, an enabler of efficiency, improved supplier collaboration – and ultimately – happier customers.

Remi DyonRemi Dyon, Business Intelligence Product Manager, has more than 10 years’ experience in the extended retail industry and is recognized as the Symphony RetailAI technology business intelligence leader. Remi currently manages the development of the Symphony RetailAI analytical platform (for mobile and desktop) from specs to development, QA and implementation (technologies: Stormbase, Node.js, jQuery Mobile, Fusion Charts, Cordova, HTML5, JavaScript, Java, H2, Oracle, PL/SQL).

This blog covers a few key points:

• Hurdles that prevent retailers from making informed business decisions
• The need for predictive KPIs based on timely and accurate data
• How supply chain KPIs must aggregate data across the entire retail organization including all supplier partners
• The importance for retailers to be able to develop their own KPIs into their data management system

There are a lot of companies struggling with performance and having a true understanding of their consumers and where to focus. What are some of the issues you see based on your experience working with customers on business intelligence analytics?

I see time as a major impediment. Everyone is concerned about strategy and making the best decisions for the business, but retailers are challenged to make fast decisions and that can only be done well when you have time and accurate information – which so many retailers lack. They’re missing the facts and decisions are being made by a gut feel.

There is no question that there is a real need for predictive KPIs as well as the ability to customize and fit for individual needs. If you tell a retail customer you have real-time data and visibility they don’t perk up much as this is not new in the market. But, if you talk about tools that enable self-leadership, tools that promote business discussions to a new level using data, facts and insights, then you get attention. Relevant data needs to find you, not vice versa.

What is the most important element of a good business intelligence tool?

The need for quick technology that is scalable. Business intelligence technology (like in-memory processing where calculation time is measured in seconds) must provide fast implementation for rapid results accessing an enormous amount of data in real time without any question.

Can you share with us some examples of customers you’ve work with that have seen real results?

I’ve been working with a Tier One retailer with more than 3,000 outlets in Europe for both food and non-food industries. With 50+ distribution centers and over 2,000 suppliers, it is critical to have analytics in place to support effective performance and collaboration, especially in terms of supplier performance for on-time delivery and quantities. It’s essential to process huge amounts of data in a matter of seconds and to smoothly integrate with many other systems as well.

Tell us more about the valuable insights in this recent use case.

We implemented a tool with the ability to integrate orders, receipts and inventory, and analyze data to provide supply chain KPIs. All of this data came from SR Retail Data Management platform integrated with the SR Replenishment Insights.

Orders and receipts for each supplier and each distribution center can be evaluated for individual suppliers’ service performance in terms of quantity, quality and punctuality. It is crucial to have a reliable and solid tool that cannot be questioned by the suppliers, centralizing contract inputs, raw data recovery and penalties, and connecting them all to one reporting tool.

How does this tool support visibility and collaboration for supplier partners?

We replaced a tool that was not powerful enough to process the massive amount of supplier data. Now all orders can be analyzed in their entirety. As a result, the performance indicators are available for all suppliers, which allows both for a better management of the performance and for the invoicing of a larger number of penalties.

Now users can be strategists and, enabled with instant insights to the business, make proactive decisions by analyzing the activity forecast to anticipate shortages or overload of warehouses. This provides a better visibility at all levels of the company. Additionally, users can create custom queries and access different indicators in real time via a unique and user-friendly interface.

As I mentioned earlier, scalability and the need for quick technology is key. So good to note, the performance key indicator data for the service cost levels, including the logistics, the supplier performance and the stock performance levels, are processed in only a few seconds, which allows for a complete on-demand analysis.

Another benefit is that the project has been developed in collaboration with the customer’s IT department. We have trained a few of their resources on using our proprietary software development kit. So now they are autonomous and can add more KPIs and are more efficient in being able to answer the needs of the business.

Overall key benefits in this specific use case are:

  • A unified dashboard measuring and displaying the performance of 2,000+ suppliers and 57 distribution centers
  • A more accurate overview of the inventory management, in real time
  • Collaboration with the suppliers: sharing of KPIs for performance enhancement
  • Better assessment of penalties for all suppliers and improved invoice management, which allows for a significant rise of the penalties invoiced each month

Learn more about SR Supply Chain Insights.