Supply Chain Management Dashboards Growing

There’s nothing necessarily new about dashboards – software that serves as a control panels for enterprise applications and provides high-level views of a variety of performance and data-intensive information. But what’s clear is their growing importance for supply chain managers.

Dashboards got their start as windows into business intelligence (BI) applications. But like the applications they supported, the dashboards were generally too specialized to be of interest to supply chain managers and executives tasked with ensuring operations were running smoothly. Of course, over time, specialty vendors have been adding dashboard applications to their enterprise suites.

Until recently, dashboard solutions haven’t provided the capabilities supply chain managers need. In an online survey conducted by ec-bp.org, the overwhelming majority of respondents, or 86.3 percent, said supply chain management (SCM) solutions should have native dashboard user interfaces that unify supply chain metrics, data and information. Respondents were given the opportunity to expand on their views, and comments ranged from dashboards “saves time and makes you work smarter,” to “measuring KPI and tracking milestones are an important part of determining the health of a supply chain,” to the idea that dashboards reduce the need for integration into separate data warehouse or analytic platforms.”

Vendors offering supply chain solutions are adding dashboards to their suites. SAP, for example, provides dashboard capabilities in its SAP BusinessObjects Supply Chain Performance Management application. One customer, Coca-Cola North America, is now using the application in its North American region, according to a press release issued by  ITC Infotech, a global IT services and solutions company, which worked with SAP consulting to help Coca-Cola implement the solution.