2018 Supply Chain Prediction: Putting Big Data to Work

The supply chain industry is hardly alone in supporting the global push for Big Data technologies. Nearly every industry, from telecommunications to energy to healthcare, has been steadily accumulating detailed, relevant information on their products and clients with the intention of one day incorporating it into their future offerings.

But for 2018, we anticipate that Big Data-driven services are finally going to move out of the fringes and into the spotlight as a staple of both the manufacturing world and consumers’ everyday lives.


Fulfilling a Decade of Promises

Big Data used to be the hot buzzword in tech circles. Much like IoT and cloud-based technology is today, the term “Big Data” was looked upon as synonymous with talk of the future’s infinite possibilities. But, like most trends, years of talk about what it could bring to the marketplace has begun to wear on analysts — and mentioning it today doesn’t produce the same level of enthusiasm it once did.

In other words, Big Data has long entered the realm of standardized terminology among the industrial community’s inner circles — something accepted, but largely taken for granted.

Data & Analytics Expert Marcus Borboa, speaking to KD Nuggets, puts it this way: “In 2017, Big Data is definitely no longer a buzzword, and we are increasingly less likely to use the term big data. We [just] call it data.”

But despite its saturated omnipresence, that doesn’t mean the outlook for Big Data is any less exciting. And this year, all roads seem to be pointing toward some industries — including EDX’s own supply chain industry — finally tapping into Big Data’s potential.

“In 2018, intelligence and insight will change the way supply chains are managed, moving them from reactive to responsive at last substantially,” says Jim Lawton chief operating officer at Rethink Robotics while speaking to Forbes. “This breakthrough will come in large part thanks to further automation of data gathering and their analysis made possible by advances in software-driven equipment. With the ability to collect information about both supply and demand, these smart machines will accelerate the ability of supply chains to move more quickly, accurately, and frequently.”

A Means to an End

On its own, Big Data doesn’t accomplish much. Instead of being a value unto itself, Big Data is best looked at not as an end product, but as a complementary asset that is only as useful as the platform it supports. It is in how such information is implemented into a company’s offerings to maximize consumer convenience, improve product efficiency, and minimize risk where an such an investment begins to show true value .

And as technological trends — such as those recently revealed at CES — continue to move toward increased automation and integration, it appears that manufacturers are finally ready to introduce products worthy of such advanced analytics.

Our own BOM Monitoring Solution is a fantastic example. Over the last decade through our Big Data warehouse Partstat, EDX has accumulated over 8 billion rows of historical data on over 26 million individual electrical components, semiconductors, and peripheral products (with more being added every day). But this information is only valuable to our customers if we have an offering that takes advantage of what this data can tell us.

That’s what makes an EDX BOM Monitoring Solution so special. As our Big Data pool is constantly updated by over 2,000 suppliers worldwide, we now have the capacity to not only monitor current electronic component inventory, but predict when components are ready to begin the transition toward obsolescence. Combine that with the addition of our human element that can interpret data and confirm obsolescence on behalf of product manufacturers, and we have a service that is prepared to be a vital part of OEMs’ supply chain strategies for years to come.

Compare that service to what many manufacturers are forced to cope with on their own. Partstat is not the only a Big Data source in the field of electronic components, but it is the only one that can maximize Big Data’s potential without an OEM draining substantial financial and personnel resources interpreting what such detailed information means. It’s the addition of industry experts that can analyze and interpret the information — not the information itself — that makes our Big Data resource such a valuable asset.

A Trend All Industries Can Appreciate

But EDX’s BOM Monitoring Solution is just a single example in a single industry. No matter where you look in 2018, industries seem primed to take advantage of Big Data’s potential like never before. The automotive industry is on the cusp of introducing self-driving cars to the world, the sports industry is already well on its way to revolutionizing how consumers can monitor and optimize their physical fitness routines, healthcare professionals are making strides in predicting and treating life-altering illnesses like never before, and robotic startups are closer than ever before to realizing every baby boomer’s dream of owning their very own Rosey.

Proper analysis and interpretation of Big Data is what makes all of this possible — and it’s going to make this year a true sight to behold.

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