Sunday, November 13, 2011

Visualizing Supply Chain Ideas

As a Strategic Thinker I find that I am usually ready to start implementing an idea when others still need to understand it and be sold on it.  It's not always easy (and previously hasn't been inexpensive) to visualize Supply Chain data but being able to draw that picture is one of the best ways to share your ideas with others inside and outside of the Supply Chain expert community.  In SC that picture is often going to be a map (such as when working on network design, customer, manufacturing or warehouse locations, distribution data, etc.)  Fortunately there are some promising new mapping tools available that Supply Chain Managers may want to investigate.

The past few weeks I've been test driving BatchGeo and Google Earth (which is also available in a Pro version that offers some significant enhancements for the business user at a relatively cost) to visualize SC data.  Although they both have their limits they are useful for creating maps and presenting data in new ways.  There are quite a few other tools out there that I haven't tried yet (please post in the comments below if you've found any that have been useful for your analysis).

What I'm really interested in is a tool that would allow me to create visuals that portray data as it changes over time (such as the Gapminder tool that Hans Rosling has created for visualizing population and wealth data).  These are now available embedded within traditional Business Intelligence tools (which are expensive and often require a lengthy and costly implementation period).  Let me know if you've found any tools particularly useful for your analysis.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Next month's APICS Magazine features an article that talks about visually mapping supply networks (and then making improvements based on what you see). I'll share the name and urls of some cool applications I've used in a later post here.