Supply Chain Analytics: What It Is and Why It Matters

A strong supply chain analytics strategy drives better decisions.

Assemble a winning supply chain analytics team

Did you know…?

  • 78% of CSCOs are concerned about the impact of AI on the skill sets they pursue in new supply chain hires. 
  • 79% of CSCOs are developing training to drive adoption of advanced analytics. 

Download these job description templates that you can adapt for key roles on the supply chain analytics team as:

  • Ready-to-use job descriptions save you time and money.
  • Profiles of six key roles on the supply chain analytics team help you prioritize.
  • The roadmap of a winning supply chain analytics team supplies direction.

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    3 challenges to supply chain analytics success

    Excellence in supply chain management depends on a strong supply chain analytics strategy. Yet, for many organizations, successful supply chain analytics adoption faces many challenges:

    • Few organizations have the scalable data foundation needed to build supply chain analytics that accurately represent the supply chain.
    • Talent and skills relevant to supply chain analytics are limited.
    • A lack of clarity on the supply chain analytics business case can slow down adoption.
    In a recent survey, 74% of supply chain executives rated advanced analytics as one of their top two most important emerging technologies.
     Supply chain data analytics management

    3 steps to build strong supply chain analytics management

    To make better supply chain analytics management and organizational decisions, supply chain leaders responsible for data analytics strategy and adoption should:

    • Harvest accurate and comprehensive data, securing the technical and business skills needed to maximize its value.
    • Test a variety of supply chain data analytics techniques to understand which is most effective for mitigating business disruptions.
    • Invest in digital and real-time supply chain data analytics solutions.
    In a Gartner supply chain survey, 79% of respondents said that they have developed training programs to help their internal users with advanced analytics adoption

    Supply chain analytics insights you can use

    Gartner insights, advice, data and tools help supply chain leaders build a strong supply chain analytics strategy that improves supply chain management and organizational decision making.

    Drive Adoption of Supply Chain Analytics

    Analytics adoption requires readiness and commitment from the organization to use analytics as the primary driver of decision making. Learn 7 strategies proven to drive analytics adoption across the supply chain.

    Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 for 2023

    The Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 for 2023 identifies, celebrates and profiles companies demonstrating excellence in supply chain management amid global supply chain disruption. See who ranked highest for supply chain excellence this year.

    Checklist of Supply Chain Metrics

    Establishing KPIs for supply chain is critical and following a KPI roadmap can help. Use the checklist to select KPIs for supply chain planning, manufacturing and logistics.

    How to Build a Strong Supply Chain Analytics Strategy

    Mitigate disruption with a 6-step supply chain analytics strategy. Learn how supply chain executives can deploy a portfolio of analytics techniques to leverage during current events and future disruptions.

    What Supply Chain Data Will Look Like in 2025

    The need to mitigate supply chain risks and disruption is driving CSCOs to invest in digital connectivity. Learn how to evolve your supply chain data strategy for the future.

    Does Your Supply Chain Organization “Speak” Data?

    Lack of data literacy affecting customer service, cost control and demand planning? Learn how to improve data literacy among supply chain staff. Download report for more.

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    Gartner supply chain analytics case studies

    We meet with Gartner analysts on a regular basis to get a pulse of the market, hype vs. reality. With Gartner we get a lot of insight into what works and what doesn’t, drawn from extensive surveys of CSCOs and operators at the tactical level.

    Product Manager, Supply Chain Software Developer
    Case study

    Discover supply chain best practices from your peers

    During this on-demand panel discussion, you’ll hear from supply chain leaders on how they are continuing to lead during times of disruption. 

    Watch Panel Discussion: Lead Through Times of Disruption in Supply Chain to hear:

    • Real-life examples of how companies leveraged Gartner insights and tools to navigate disruption
    • Supply chain innovation and agility during times of disruption
    • How to address your most pressing supply chain challenges

    Gartner Supply Chain Planning Summit

    Join the world's most important gathering of supply chain and operations executives along with Gartner experts to think big and share your valuable insights.

    The Gartner Supply Chain Podcast

    The Gartner Supply Chain Podcast explores the latest ideas and innovations for driving sustainable supply chain success. Join your hosts Thomas O’Connor and Caroline Chumakov as they uncover strategic insights and tactical tips in conversation with global supply chain experts.

    Listen Now

    Supply chain analytics FAQs

    Supply chain analytics refers to gaining insight and extracting value from the large amounts of data associated with the procurement, processing, and distribution of goods. Supply chain analytics are important for companies to fully digitalize, build an autonomous supply chain and enable real-time decision making. Through connected data sources companies can quickly react to current and anticipated future disruptions.

    There are various types of supply chain analytics techniques that support individual supply chain functions or, for more mature organizations, end-to-end supply chain use cases. These are:

    • Descriptive analytics answer the question of what is happening or has happened in the supply chain (through mining, pattern analysis, visualization).

    • Diagnostic analytics clarify the “why” behind an event or an observation (through query, root-cause, what-if analysis).

    • Predictive analytics assist with identifying future scenarios (through causal forecasting, regression analysis, simulation).

    • Prescriptive analytics offer actionable recommendations or execute actions (through rule-based, heuristics, optimization).

    Supply chain analytics leaders have consistently pointed to talent and culture as top roadblocks to successful deployments. Specifically, they cite issues like the availability of analytics skills, cultural readiness and ability to take advantage of analytics insights to incorporate into decision making.

    To assess the performance of your supply chain analytics strategy, Gartner recommends:

    • Investigating what role supply chain analytics plays in business and supply chain strategies, and what key initiatives supply chain analytics can support (e.g., greater customer collaboration, more accurate demand forecasts, lower inventory costs).
    • Examining data governance and gauging the quality and availability of the data.
    • Creating an inventory of current supply chain analytics solutions and investigating technologies that could support supply chain analytics projects.
    • Auditing supply chain analytics skills and talking with both core and extended teams to uncover the availability of required supply chain and technical resources.
    • Performing a high-level, current-state assessment in order to gain and share an understanding and overall maturity level of supply chain analytics.
    • Defining the obstacles that exist in the supply chain today in order to prioritize the challenges that analytics must address (e.g., data availability, skill set shortage, lack of funding for new technology, cultural resistance).

    Financial improvements due to better decision making are the most instrumental metrics in demonstrating the success of analytics initiatives. These are the improvements discussed at board meetings, and they generate the most immediate benefits to stakeholders. Financial improvements can span growth in market share, growth in revenue, reduction in working capital and improvement in the return on assets (ROA). But it is sometimes challenging to point to hard financial benefits resulting from analytics initiatives. In these situations, analytics leaders should emphasize the fact that, at a minimum, analytics were a contributing factor to top- and bottom-line financial improvements.

    Support on supply chain analytics

    Gartner provides trusted insights and objective advice to help its 2,500+ supply chain leader clients build a strong supply chain analytics strategy.