Data analytics is radically changing the nature of all supply chain jobs, a tech contributor for the procurement social network Procurious has predicted. Within a few years, professionals in these positions will be knowledge leaders for their entire organisation.

Science writer Megan Nichols identifies four ways in which data analytics is already transforming the procurement profession.

Firstly, data analytics improves the visibility of information hidden within the supply chain, helping users to detect and analyse more data than they would have been able to previously view. More customers increasingly require information on the practices that went into the production of their purchases as well as their country of origin. Data analytics can help to track products from one end of the supply chain to the other. Procurement professionals can also harness predictive data to source the best suppliers so that products can be brought more easily into compliance with ethical codes across the entire supply chain.

Secondly, with access to an unprecedented volume of supply chain data, risk assessments can be completed with greater ease. This allows professionals in procurement jobs to focus on immediate disruptions in the chain, to deal with them at the source before they become more complicated issues. The power of data analytics to anticipate and plan for disruptions, including severe weather or bad traffic conditions which can play havoc with product delivery, means that the whole process will be much smoother and more efficient.

Thirdly, the sheer volume and breadth of data that analytics technology will place in the hands of procurement and supply chain professionals will make them the future knowledge leaders for their entire organisation. This should facilitate data-driven cost reductions thanks to the invaluable knowledge of demand which data analytics can cull from social media.

Finally, thanks to the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices, sensors on store shelves not only measure how quickly products are selling but can automatically notify the manufacturer to tailor supplies delivered to individual stores.

The most important factor in all of this is that none of these changes requires the engagement of large teams of scientists. It simply requires a category manager and an average-sized team of six to ten people who know how to use the software and handle quantitative data. Procurement recruitment officers and anyone looking for supply chain jobs in the near future, be sure to keep abreast of all these technological developments.

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