How many kinds of data and data sources in Supply Chain Management (SCM)?

Published by Ngoc Tran on

One of the main components to monitor your supply chain (SC) performance project is its related data and information. There is a huge amount of data across each node of the whole supply chain, so it is essential to know which data each node obtains and needs in order to measure and improve the SC performance. That’s what this blog is going to discuss with you now, so…let’s get started!

Different types of data in SCM – What kinds of supply chain data are being used?

The figure below outlines several important data across different nodes during the whole supply chain. Although the data is based on a manufacturer supply chain, it is always possible to adapt it to other kinds of industries.

Figure 1. A proposed framework of next generation supply chain management using big data analytics (S.Biswas and J.Sen, 2016)

Another example of data in SCM is called a “Taxonomy of supply chain data” by M.Seyadan and F.Mafakheri (2020) shown as in figure 2. It can be seen that this diagram is more related to the supply chain of a retailer.

Predictive big data analytic for supply chain demand forecasting - figure 2
Figure 2. Predictive big data analytic for supply chain demand forecasting: methods, applications, and research opportunities (M.Seyedan and F.Mafakheri, 2020)

These data can be generated real-time, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or yearly, depending on what you want to know. You can communicate these data across departments, via database systems (e.g. ERP), email, physical documents, meeting, audio (e.g. telephone), and so on. Noted that there are sub-components of some of the data. For example:

  • Demand data contains forecasting, number of orders, etc.
  • Staff data contains personal information, wages, skill training, etc.
  • Finance data containers pricing, costs, revenue, exchange rate, tax payment, etc.

Therefore, you can always come up with more data details that suits for your situation: what do you want to know, measure/monitor, improve, eliminate, or replace? Based on these data, you can set KPIs in order to monitor your supply chain performance. KPIs vary from your general goal (e.g. company’s vision) or departmental goals (e.g. finance, logistics, etc.) to your project (e.g. how to reduce rejection rate). You can find a framework of intelligent supply chain performance indicators (KPIs) in figure 3.  Another example of KPI of a dry port supply chain is via this link. More details will be discussed in the next post 😉

Intelligent supply chain performance measurement in industry 4.0 -figure3
Figure 3. Intelligent supply chain performance measurement in Industry 4.0 (Y.xie et al, 2020)

Two types of data source – How do we collect supply chain data?

  • Internal: data within the business IT system and database (e.g. ERP*, RFID**)
  • External:
    • From social media: DataSift provides purchasable streams of social media data
    • From search engine: Google Search API, Sematic Web (WS), Linked Open Data
    • From Open Data sources: Eurostat which offers free statistics about regions and countries for commercial and non-commercial users. Another one is European Union Open Data Portal.
    • From Closed Data sources: Factual is one of the biggest firms producing an independent location technology platform which helps make sense of global human movement. Microsoft Azure Data Market is also an option of cloud computing infrastructure. is a service platform specializing on Business Data management.

I guess it would be enough information by now…take your time to digest and share your thoughts with others. Stay safe and see you next time!

*ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning

**RFID – Radio Frequency Identification 

Sources used in this article:

Series of posts “Supply chain performance measurement”

1 Comment

bcrc · 30 November 2021 at 6:09 pm

The author created a good overview of data in a supply chain; especially the table with KPIs is very informative and to the point.

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