The Key Ingredients of a Robust Supply Chain Dashboard

The increasing complexity of modern supply chains demands better visibility into practically every stage of the process, from sourcing and production to warehousing and shipping. More visibility requires a lot more data. But when supply chain reporting is muddled or unorganized, crucial insights can get lost in the white noise of “big data.”

Creating a smarter supply chain isn’t just about gathering mountains of real-time shipping and tracking data. It’s about organizing that information in a way that unlocks real-time insights to drive strategic decision-making.

To do that, companies need to build a robust, customized dashboard that utilizes only the most relevant key performance indicators (KPIs). In doing so, they can maximize efficiency and visibility for daily, weekly, and quarterly reporting—and enable more intelligent business planning.

Industry-specific supply chain KPIs

Every company values distinct performance metrics specific to their industry. However, most organizations can center their supply chain dashboard around one of three core areas to identify and track their core KPIs as soon as possible.

  • The customer-focused dashboard. Service-focused KPIs center around customer satisfaction, as well as competitor and market awareness. Responsiveness is key. Core KPIs might include perfect order rate, order volume, and procurement indicators.
  • The product-focused dashboard. Holistic operational awareness is the goal. Product-focused dashboards zero in on supply chain flow and reliability to reduce costs across the board. Core KPIs can include cost per unit, labor efficiency, and warehouse and transportation costs by region.
  • The efficiency-focused dashboard. These dashboards try to weed out waste at every stage of the supply chain. Efficiency dashboards tend to require lean daily updates for “snapshots” of the supply chain, allowing managers to identify and anticipate costly future problems. As such, core KPIs may center around wait time, compliance, overproduction, and invoice audits.

Identifying a handful of core metrics first then slowly adding KPIs to the dashboard is the fastest way to achieve ROI. This is especially true when implementing a new transportation management system (TMS).

Essential KPIs and considerations for any manager

Industry-specific goals aside, most supply chain managers can increase visibility and accountability across multiple departments with the following dashboard KPIs:

  • Perfect order rate
  • Freight audit and payment (FAP) tracking
    Inventory turnover
  • Gross margin return on investment (GMROI)

Remember that KPIs are only useful when they drive positive organizational change. Focus on the metrics that matter, not “glamor” metrics that clutter dashboards with false positives and superfluous data.

Quarterly reports should include a wider variety of competitor and market-specific metrics since they’ll naturally pull from a larger data set. But less is often more, especially if reporting occurs on a weekly or even daily basis. Drowning in a flood of data will only create busy work that keeps managers from identifying strategic insights, so it’s important to simplify supply chain monitoring as much as possible to enable day-to-day reporting.

Building in a hierarchy

The ability to navigate the core KPIs of a supply chain dashboard is almost as vital as the data gathered. But bear in mind that not every supply chain manager is a data analytics specialist. If managers and other team members can’t glean useful information from the dashboard a glance, they will struggle to identify or respond to negative trends in a timely manner.

To combat this issue, dashboards should be organized based on importance, frequency of use, or essential quarterly goals. Grouping related KPIs can help segment potentially complicated dashboards into manageable snapshots, supporting comparison and reporting. Additionally, the best dashboards give users an immediate, easily scannable overview while allowing them to drill down into specific data visualizations as needed.

Powerful dashboards for purposeful reporting

With today’s real-time data and tracking tools, supply chain reporting can be more powerful than ever. However, companies too often overlook vital KPIs or waste valuable time tracking irrelevant data. The result: reporting without purpose—and important insights and opportunities going ignored.

We aim to change that. CTSI-Global’s industry-leading TMS and business intelligence solutions can transform an overwhelming flood of data into a core driver of business success. Using our suite of tracking and data analytics tools and our fully customizable, easy-to-navigate dashboards, companies of all sizes can mine their shipping, storage, and carrier data to fuel strategic decision-making—and rapid growth.

Build a better dashboard today. Contact us to get started.

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