Research conducted by Bloomberg Businessweek Research Services (BBRS) in 2012 and released earlier this year found that the demand by corporate executives for analytical tools providing better supply chain forecasting and planning is expected to increase to 80 percent by 2014.
Further, the research indicates that the need for greater collaboration between end customers and suppliers using analytical-type tools will increase to 78 percent by next year.
The survey involved 318 “director-level” or above executives in midsize to large companies around the world. Most of the executives surveyed are directly involved with purchasing and supply chain issues impacting their companies.
The survey also found that what was termed “sales and operations planning” in these midsize to large companies will likely increase to 77 percent by 2014 and that the need for analytical tools that help provide “warehouse management” will increase to 75 percent in that time.
“We are seeing these trends in the many market segments we work with,” says Leah Runge, marketing manager for AFFLINK’s eLev8 process. “More school districts, hospitals, hotels, and government entities are looking for tools that allow distributors and their customers to select the right products for the right facility at the right cost.”
While there are different types of analytical tools, Runge says they typically refer to software or, more recently, Web-based computer systems that not only help end customers make more accurate buying decisions “but help synchronize the efforts of all parties — manufacturers, distributors, and end customers — involved in meeting a customer's needs.”
Coinciding with the growing need for analytical tools that help end-users make more accurate forecasts, the BBRS study also found that 73 percent of the executives polled say they will upgrade or replace their current supply chain analytical tools within the next two years.
“Purchasing and supply chain management are becoming more complex and challenging,” says Runge. “Analytical tools are increasingly necessary to help managers meet these challenges [and] make accurate buying decisions with the most up-to-date information, which also can help cut operating costs.”