How Data Fabric Can Solve Supply Chain Challenges


The global supply chain problems that retailers across many markets experienced during and in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic have been well documented. Lockdowns, travel restrictions, lack of certain raw materials, and labor shortages affected manufacturing, transportation, and logistics. Kaycee Lai of Promethium discusses how data fabric can change the supply chain game.

Demand fluctuations and panic buying resulted in severe shortages of many products. At an organizational level, an incumbent lack of connectivity, siloed order, logistics, and inventory operations was exposed. Many retailers realized that a lack of visibility across supply chain ecosystems meant they were unable to view both inventory and order information for all products in all distribution centers and could not reallocate inventory dynamically, leading to potential revenue shortfall, compounding problems further.

The pandemic also saw consumers move towards online commerce via web, mobile, and applications. This resulted in retailers expanding their delivery service to include same-day and expedited options and enhanced in-store pick-up options. As a result of the fundamental challenges from the pandemic allied to the evolution of channels to market, many retail organizations have expedited their digital transformation efforts. 

Retail ecosystems are complex by nature, so to ensure supply chain optimization and solve operational challenges, retailers need complete visibility of their supply chains in order to identify specific issues and formulate a resolution strategy. 

Key to success in retail is making sure that stores have the right inventory at the right time – this is the crux of demand planning. The capability to access data from multiple sources scattered both inside and outside of the organization, often including hundreds or thousands of outlets, plus warehouses, distribution hubs and networks, suppliers, and logistics providers, in real-time, is critical. With data often dispersed across many sources and locations, retailers do not want to have to disrupt operations by having to “reinvent the wheel” and move vast swatches of data. It’s here that virtualizing data by deploying a data fabric model across an entire IT ecosystem can solve legacy supply chain challenges for retailers, resulting in multiple operational benefits.

What Is Data Fabric?

A data fabric is an enterprise data management architecture that helps businesses handle massive volumes and varieties of data at high velocity by providing a unified and scalable approach to data management. Building a virtualized data access layer using a data fabric connects the entirety of an organization’s data, regardless of source and location, along with all of the processes and platforms that might be connected to it. 

A data fabric provides a single source solution to find, verify and share data for all users. It can replace multiple solutions, meaning a reduction in costs for customers, and enables easy, rapid data virtualization that does not require data movement.

See More: How Better CX Can Solve Supply Chain Issues in Manufacturing

Operational Benefits

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