Supply chain managers may find proprietary or purchased metrics-tracking software useful, but the most important factor in choosing an option is knowing what facts and trends are really worthwhile to monitor.
Fact-based management requires key performance indicators (KPIs) that give supply chain managers a true picture of what's going on. "Dashboards" extract the most pertinent and up-to-date metrics, allowing managers to grasp the current situation at a glance. Choosing the right metrics is critical, and it depends on your company's strategic goals. These quantitative performance metrics from the Supply-Chain Council serve as one example of a common and complete benchmarking set:
Dashboards allow managers to identify and focus on just a few of these metrics frequently enough to change course quickly and react when performance is not meeting desired levels. For that reason, they should present the performance indicators in real time and against goals.
Software that mines the wealth of data now recorded by supply chain systems is available from a number of vendors, including SAP, IBM Cognos and Microsoft. In addition, many companies still rely on spreadsheets or even whiteboards to give managers a snapshot of the current state of operations.
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