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Big data analytics: optimizing operations

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Blog by: Cedric Mullier

Big data analytics: optimizing operations

Global operations means global supply chains. Meanwhile, the integration of complex technology into almost every professional task means the risk of downtime and the threat of fraud are greater than ever. These areas all fall under the jurisdiction of the COO. As a result, the intricacy and importance of the COO’s role, and as a result, their influence, is at an all-time high.

How do leading COOs use analytics to drive superior operations within their organizations?

Awesome opportunities lie in real-time supply planning. Picture for instance an airline. If one of their engines has a minor issue which requires repair, analytics tools are available that help visualize the fastest delivery route for the required engine part based on stock inventory and weather forecasts. With this kind of real-time intelligence aiding decision-making, the plane will not need to stay on the ground for long, and will not create overall delays at an airport. All in all resulting in substantial savings all around, not to mention avoiding at least some customer inconvenience and annoyance!

Beyond one-off crises, analytics is being utilized for more long-term supply chain integration and optimization. 360-degree tracking of all customer and supplier data in a single space allows for improvements across the board, from inventory management through to forecasting.
At production plants, predictive maintenance tools are helping prevent technology failures. By tracking a combination of how a machine is faring, how it has held up before and when it was last repaired, operations is able to schedule maintenance in the most optimal manner possible and significantly reduce asset downtime – and perhaps even eradicate it. The days of illegible maintenance scheduling on white boards are long-gone.

And our favorite example: picture a zoo! The number of visitors relies very much on the weather. By combining datasets of weather forecasts, historical visitors and consumption of food and beverages, the number of visitors can be predicted, and operations can adapt opening times and features accordingly to maximize efficiency and profitability.

Last but by no means least, analytics can assist in preventing fraud, also the domain of the COO. It can help uncover fraud and allow companies to take action before damages and losses are incurred, by analyzing data across multiple sources in order to detect fraudulent activity, be it welfare payments, financials services, healthcare, insurance, retail, credit cards, taxes, identity theft, insider trading and money laundering.

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