Bad supply chain data isn’t the problem - here’s why

3 Minutes Read

We hear it all the time. “My supply chain data is a mess.” “Incomplete.” “All over the place.” “Overwhelming.” “Useless.” And it’s clear how it can feel that way. Data can’t live up to its potential unless you have the tools and time to manage it well. Unfortunately, most teams don’t have the resources available to have someone (or, for some businesses, several people) constantly focused on their supply chain data and making sure it’s rich enough to use. Which means that you need to find another way. The solution?

Find a platform that can handle your data that is run by people who can make sure that you have access to more data than you think.

Read more: Why more supply chain data isn't the answer

Data specialists at the ready

Getting a dedicated team of specialists to sort and manage your data can be an enormous game changer. Especially if you engage them in an ongoing managed service. As you have seen for yourself, the gaps in data that you get from providers can seem both daunting and frustrating. How can you effectively monitor your supply chain and make sure it’s running optimally when you don’t think you have enough data in the first place?

You may have heard the phrase “Garbage in-Garbage out” (or it’s grittier cousin that’s better for outside of work hours) when it comes to data. Heck, you might even have said something along those lines yourself. This well-known phrase amongst data experts can be pretty disheartening when you apply it to your own data circumstances. After all, how can you be making ‘data-driven decisions’ and ‘implementing AI insights’ or any of the data-led actions we’re supposed to do now, with useless, fragmented data?

The answer is you don’t.

But the better, more complete answer is that there is way more data available to you than you think. It just takes the right tools and the right team to open up those possibilities.

Data enhancement in action - how it works

Taking these ideas and applying it to something practical, let’s look at how this works for a specific problem. For example, say you want to use the baseline & benchmarking layer to audit your deliveries and make sure you’re being charged the right amount. One of the factors in that charge is weight, right? But that data isn’t always available in the way you’d want it to be. Which makes knowing for sure that you’ve been charged correctly feel like a leap of faith. So what do you do in that scenario?

This is when having someone keeping tabs on your data really shines. Rather than having to accept whatever you’re being told, you can have an expert dig deeper and make sure you have the truth. In the case of ensuring you’re being charged correctly based on weight, this is what it looks like when 7bridges approaches that problem:

First, we take invoices from your third-party logistics providers themselves, usually using their already existing end points. We work with them directly to get the granularity of data we need to make those assessments. In the case of weight, we use three different data points: billed weight, tracker weight and entered weight. 

While you may not see that data from your side, it often does exist. We may, for example, be able to pull it from your ERP, even if it doesn’t show up for you. For example, we can integrate directly with Netsuite and often find that data there.

Read more: 7bridges achieves Built for Netsuite status

But suppose that data is unavailable. What happens in those scenarios is we first turn to your recorded weight and take that as the truth. If you haven’t recorded a weight, we use an internal consistency amongst your products and their shipping rates. We can always look at billed weight and compare that to product items in that shipment and look for variances across that carrier. When we see something statistically different enough, that can trigger a dispute about the weight of the shipment. 

All of that to say, you have more (and better) data than you think you do. It’s just a matter of having the right resources in place to make it accessible. Plus a dash of creative problem-solving for figuring out how to get ahold of data you would normally struggle to see.

Keep it moving with the right platform

The work we do isn’t all manual either. Just like it would take an entire team on your side to do this, so would it take the same for us. Which definitely isn’t more helpful for anyone. So instead, we take in all of that invoice data, set up constraints that will help you get the outcomes you need and apply our AI and machine learning techniques to keep an eye on things. 

This means there is constant access to this data and that the calculations running in the background can be run all the time. Freeing up you and your team to focus on the things you do best and really make your supply chain shine.

Want to see what we can do for you and your weird data? Get in touch with one of our experts today.

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