Analytics for Supply Chain Agility and Insight

Data drives understanding and decision making in the well-designed supply chain, and analytics is the vehicle for transforming data into insight. Spinnaker has a long history of helping companies improve end to end performance by using thoughtfully applied analytics to enhance everything from inventory performance and capacity utilization to data quality itself. Embedding analytic techniques in the ongoing management of the supply chain promotes true agility and well-understood decision making.

Spinnaker takes an analytics-driven approach to supply chain assessment and re-engineering. Consistently, we find that analytics worth doing for diagnostic purposes have a continuing role to play in assuring sustained supply chain performance. This is especially true in the area of metrics and performance indicators, where carefully-design measures of supply chain effectiveness not only help determine level of success but help interpret and localize where continuous improvement is possible. Spinnaker uses a variety of tools and methods to bring analytic excellence within reach of every organization.


Supply Chain Segmentation & Parameter Tuning

Reporting & Business Intelligence

Data Quality & Governance

Analytics Scalability

& Repeatability

Scorecards & Dashboards

Supply Chain Segmentation & Parameter Tuning

Most companies have fairly common processes across their product set and customer bases, but that does not mean all products and customers are created equal. Under the covers of the shared process are key distinctions, categories, and values that dictate how individual products and customers are considered in planning, sourcing, production, and fulfillment.


When doing supply chain assessments, Spinnaker routinely analyzes product and/or customer activity in an A-B-C style of assessment. The details of the analysis may vary, but it generally leads to key insights about production, inventory, and fulfillment performance at both ends of the activity spectrum. Spinnaker helps companies leverage these insights to move away from one-size-fits-all processes to more tailored supply chain rules without collapsing under the weight of individual analysis of each SKU or customer.


One frequent example is inventory and service tuning, where products and customers are categorized and the “sweet spot” for inventory deployment is optimized at each intersection. Another is bucketing setup-intensive products based on their manufacturing footprint, and optimizing lot sizes at the low volume end of the spectrum for the ideal tradeoff of working capital vs. capacity productivity.


Common topics for Spinnaker-assisted supply chain “tune ups” include:

  • A-B-C segmentation for service differentiation and production/inventory strategies

  • Make-to-stock vs. Make-to-order policies

  • Production run sizing / lot sizing

  • Procurement Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) and order multiples

  • Safety stock targets for finished goods and/or raw materials

  • Labor balancing & shift optimization

  • Cost-to-serve analysis and price/margin alignment

Reporting & Business Intelligence

Transactional and decision support applications often lack the scope and flexibility to give you satisfactory, complete reporting on a standalone basis. Many reporting requirements involve matching up data from separate sources, or need a historical comparison context (“plan vs. actual”) that just aren’t readily feasible in any single system of record.

Reporting, business intelligence, data warehouse, and analytics pursuits are all deeply interrelated. Spinnaker has expertise in architecting and instantiating reporting environments that usefully merge data from multiple sources and over time into valuable repositories that lend themselves to both standard reports and ad hoc mining for insights. We also bring deep supply chain knowledge to help you define reporting and monitoring frameworks that effectively expose true supply chain performance and guide issue resolution and root cause analysis.

Spinnaker services to support your BI and reporting needs include:

  • BI/BW Architecture and Data Design

  • Design of Supply Chain Alerts and Real Time Metrics

  • Report Design, Specification, & Development

  • Operational Data Stores and Data Staging

  • Data Conditioning

  • Integration Architecture and Design

Data Quality & Governance

Your supply chain solution is only as good as the information that feeds it. “Data issues” are among the chief reasons why supply chain projects, especially those involving technology adoption, struggle. Supply chain systems set a high bar for data quality because both transactional and master data need to be pristine to plan correctly.

A common “gotcha” of manual systems is that the people working each link in the food chain constantly scrub the data they receive to make it useful for their purposes. Not only does this not add value, it becomes a liability when you try to automate those processes. The delays and distortions caused by serial human intervention cannot be remediated until systems can process their data directly and cleanly.

This is where our Data Governance practice can help. Our experts work with your business and technical teams to define required information and measures of quality, then put processes in place to monitor compliance and detect issues. We help you develop a clear understand of what effective data management and governance looks like, interpret your internal level of maturity, and implement comprehensive practices to manage data quality, considering:

  • Data management and governance processes

  • Technology and reporting support

  • Business rules for data validation and suitability to task

  • Organizational roles and responsibilities

  • Defining KPI’s to define compliance and diagnose issues


Spinnaker aligns to the CMMI Data Maturity Model as a robust framework for data quality assurance:

Analytics Scalability & Repeatability

Many well-intentioned and well thought out analyses reveal useful insights that have potential to positively affect supply chain operations and capability. Frequently however, these require a very high level of effort to prepare and consolidate data, interrogate the analysis with various “what if” questions, and to feed the results back into processes and systems that must use them. The expenditure of time and resources that wraps around the underlying analytic observations makes it very difficult to incorporate useful outputs into an ongoing, operational process.

Many exploratory analyses are conducted using Excel. It’s an excellent and flexible tool, but it is also hard to use operationally where multiple data sources must be captured, conditioned, and consolidated. It does not scale sufficiently for some analytic problems, and the problem of formula and worksheet “drift” is daunting.

Spinnaker works with technology partners such as Alteryx to let practitioners work computationally with tools aligned to their Excel competencies while eliminating scaling constraints and adding extensive capabilities for reliable integration with diverse data sources. Spinnaker consultants can not only help companies with advanced analytic techniques, but can help make them production-ready. Key formulas can be encapsulated and standardized, data cleansing and prep can be automated and in-line, and results exposed in a variety of standard and user-driven settings such as Tableau.

Scorecards & Dashboards

It’s commonly said you get the results your measurements incentivize. It’s no accident that Metrics is one of Spinnaker’s “5 Lenses” of total supply chain performance. Measures of performance can be the glue that synchronizes behavior across the company, or they can be sources of conflict and internal de-optimization.

Spinnaker’s approach to defining metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) focuses resolutely on three key questions:

  • Are your measurements clearly driven by your business objectives?

  • Are your measures designed carefully to drive desired behavior?

  • Do your metrics provide insight about what’s likely to happen in future, not just noting what’s already in the rear view mirror?

Many companies suffer from inadequate measures of key supply chain operating questions, but many others get lost in metrics overload. Spinnaker helps companies navigate the efficient spot in the middle where the important stuff is exposed but duplication is eliminated.

The data required for useful measurement is often at the intersection of disjoint sources, and Spinnaker brings extensive expertise in data management to its metrics definition services. Dashboards and KPIs must be approached from the top down. A corporate scorecard that addresses both inventory and service is instantly impaired if it is parceled out into the organization such that sales is only measured on service and operations only on inventory. Spinnaker helps companies not just define metrics but put them to work in management processes that drive alignment and shared balancing of company objectives.

Our technology partnerships with leading supply chain and analytics application providers let us streamline the capture, processing, and visualization of your KPIs.