Supply chains have always relied heavily on data. Whether it’s Fast Moving Consumer Goods, manufacturing, engineering, construction, biochemistry, farming, product design or recruitment, the supply chain in its various guises is critical, and it is information that keeps them moving along. Bad data equals an inefficient supply chain.

But the world of data itself has changed dramatically over the past decade. New methods of data storage, data analysis and data transfers have been developed, and there is so much more of it – around 2.5 quintillion bytes are produced every day. That’s quintillion, with 18 zeroes.

The sheer volume of data creates as much opportunity as it does threat, however. In handling so much information, businesses have to ensure they are secure and adherent to government data policies. Whether it’s the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, the UK’s Data Reform Bill or countless other stipulations outlined by authorities around the world, data handling has never been under quite so much scrutiny.

Tick those boxes though, and a door to a more informed, accurate and impactful business environment is unlocked, which is all the more critical in such turbulent times, with global supply chains having been disrupted by Brexit, Covid-19, and now the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

How exactly does data help supply chain professionals, though?


As demonstrated by the aforementioned market conditions, businesses must be able to react quickly and effectively for whatever might lay around the corner – data will inform those business-critical decisions. In manufacturing, for example, data can create efficiencies in production, output and equipment maintenance, helping businesses to control their costs and manage their expectations.


Nobody has a crystal ball, but with accurate and relevant data seeing into the future isn’t quite as impossible as it may seem. Being able to rely on past information for predictions of demand surges and supply shortages will give you a much better grasp on operations than firing shots in the dark. With more advanced analytics, businesses can even begin to predict a range of ‘what-if’ scenarios by creating models that are tailored to their specific requirements, and with the advancement of artificial intelligence these prediction models can me ongoing and reactive, giving you the best possible chance of keeping up with the market.


In more convoluted supply chains, by the time the product or service reaches its end user it can often end up resembling an entanglement of wires with no clues as to where one thing came from and where it went at any particular time. There is a growing demand for product provenance and increased transparency, so a clear and traceable supply chain is a must. Data that is accurately handled, stored and used allows businesses to do just that, while also enabling a raft of other new possibilities from the use of the Internet of Things to automated processes through artificial intelligence. Everything is more traceable and trackable when data is used to its full potential.

As a result of data’s growing influence, the skills supply chain teams will need will continue to adapt. To ensure you are growing your team with the right people for your business, and to unlock your business’ full potential, arrange to talk to one of our Supply Chain specialists by getting in touch.