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Data Analytics

  • Swimming in the Shallows

    Overcome the great barriers to a data-driven supply chain
    • Elizabeth Rennie
    September/October 2016
    Because Mattel is an exceedingly seasonal business, as many as 80 percent of its products are modified annually. “We can’t just hope it all works out; we need a data-driven mentality that allows us to make better decisions and drive the right kind of improvement,” Gibbons says.......Read More
  • Amplified Availability

    Spare parts inventory simulations hone network operations
    • Margaret S. Wise
    • David K. Peterson
    • Vitali Volovoi
    July/August 2016
    Today’s communication networks, air traffic control systems, national electrical grids, unmanned aircraft systems, and numerous other industries depend on complex systems or systems of systems—that require a delicate balance of component functionalities to achieve a greater common objective. It makes sense that these highly engineered and intricate tools dictate a correspondingly sophisticated level of support.......Read More
  • Powering Your SKUs with Data

    Automated statistical analysis drives inventory management efforts
    • Thomas R. Willemain
    July/August 2016
    Supply chain and operations management professionals recognize the importance of inventory management to both customer satisfaction and cost control. They also understand the inherent tension between the goals of customer satisfaction and cost control: In short, doing better on one puts a strain on the other. Easing this tension relies on finding the optimal balance point where customer service goals can be met with the lowest possible inventory investment.......Read More
  • Zoom Out to Build Up Lean

    Tactics for boosting the time-honored methodology
    • Joyce Warnacut
    March/April 2016
    Countless articles in trade publications have bemoaned the lack of quantifiable results and diminishing returns derived from lean initiatives based on waste elimination. But few of these stories have suggested that having a micro-level focus on individual products and operations actually may be part of the problem. Perhaps it is time to look at the process from a macro level—a point of view that considers the variation to provide insights about which lean tools to use. ......Read More
  • Receding Tides

    Will big data overcome the buildup and find its place?
    • Richard E. Crandall
    July/August 2015
    In the March/April 2013 issue of APICS magazine, the “Relevant Research” department investigated recent developments in big data collection and related analytics. It was a look at the excitement surrounding the big data revolution and the potential for it to help solve many of today’s business, social, and environmental problems. Currently, big data is in the news constantly and certainly has become part of the supply chain and operations management lexicon. ......Read More
  • Better than Average

    • Jonathan Thatcher
    September/October 2014
    While looking at historic average demand is important, the average (mean) alone will not reveal variation in the system. Variation is key to a true understanding of past performance and future outcomes.......Read More
  • Advance Your Business

    Strategic thinking keeps you a step ahead
    • John Richardson
    • Eric Lail
    September/October 2014
    Strategic thinking is a critical business skill sought by organizations of all types and sizes, but particularly by those in highly competitive and fast-changing business landscapes. ......Read More
  • Getting Demand in Shape

    Use the right tools to maximize big data in your supply chain
    • Jack Hymanson
    May/June 2014
    There have been significant advancements recently to the study of data, its mining techniques, and the myriad ways in which smart analysis and application can provide new and valuable insights. At the core of demand and supply alignment is an organization’s ability to acquire, interpret, and use this information to improve visibility into the supply chain and support company profitability and growth—particularly during times of economic volatility. ......Read More
  • Know the Score—and How to Use It

    • Elizabeth Rennie
    Net promoter score is based on one very basic question: Would you recommend this company to a friend or colleague?......Read More
  • Skewed Results

    • Dave Turbide
    July/August 2013
    Big data overwhelms traditional database technology, tools, processing, and storage capabilities. To handle the growth of data, software and cloud facilities are being created alongside it. ......Read More
  • Mining and Monitoring Data for Greater Efficiency

    • Yves de Montcheuil
    Big data stands to transform today’s modern enterprises by helping companies run smoothly, monitor processes, and avoid major issues. Operations generate masses of data, whether taken from machinery, procurement, transport systems, or elsewhere around the business. ......Read More
  • Ticking the Boxes

    An age-old tool helps uncover sources of waste
    • Ron Crabtree
    May/June 2013
    For one tangible solution to a lack of good data, look no further than a tool from the quality engineer of yesteryear: the humble tally sheet. ......Read More
  • Big Problems, Small Technology

    Understanding your customers with big data
    • Jonathan Thatcher
    May/June 2013
    Big data can inspire organizations of any size. The result may not be big data in the strictest sense, but it can be a useful head start on business analytics that serves as a foundation for eventual big data adoption. ......Read More
  • The Big Data Revolution

    Investigating recent developments in collection and analytics
    • Richard E. Crandall
    March/April 2013
    It's estimated that more than 15 petabytes—about 15 million gigabytes—of new information is collected each day. Big data is here, but it is in the early stages of its life cycle. ......Read More
  • A Map to Leaner Operations

    Streamlining hiring processes with visual data tools
    • Ron Crabtree
    September/October 2012
    In the majority of operations, becoming leaner and faster than before directly increases competitiveness. This is the goal of every business, whether you work for a corporation or the government. ......Read More
  • The Value and Nature of Measurements

    • Denise Hansen
    Customers are only interested getting exactly what they requested and a good return on investment. Therefore, it is imperative to eliminate all processes and measurements that do not help us stay close to this target. ......Read More
  • Boosting Your Service and Innovation

    Using technology to enhance operations
    • Philip E. Quigley
    May/June 2012
    Social networking presents opportunities to supply chain and operations management professionals in at least two critical areas: getting reports from field service professionals about products and sharing ideas on how to improve products and services.......Read More
  • Can You DIG It?

    Unearthing quality data
    • Randall Schaefer
    November/December 2011
    I have introduced several companies to the concept of a data integrity group (DIG). This is a small team of people responsible for formatting engineering data so manufacturing staff can plan, manage, and measure parts and production.......Read More
  • Improve Your Choices

    The significance of decision support systems
    • Richard E. Crandall
    January/February 2011
    Decision support systems (DSS) aids with decision making that affect the allocation of resources among a variety of alternatives. A DSS can improve the quality of your decisions—if you design and use it correctly.......Read More
  • The Philosophy Behind Exploring Ideas

    In-depth Socratic questioning brings about process improvement
    • Ron Crabtree
    January/February 2011
    Creating a clear picture of an organization's state of operations is critical before improvements can be made to existing processes. But value stream mapping service processes is difficult when there is no physical thing to follow. ......Read More