Boosting Singapore’s supply chain: Key success factors

Singapore’s ever-growing supply chain industry is akin to a Michelin-star restaurant. Just like a renowned kitchen that demands the synchronisation of various chefs, a world-class supply chain requires seamless coordination of multiple stakeholders. These include suppliers and manufacturers, as well as distributors, regulatory bodies, and more, all working together to exceed customer expectations.

However, the connective thread binding these supply chain stakeholders isn’t culinary expertise; it is the troves of data that flow through a complicated web of operations that powers the supply chain.

As economic focus is increasingly tilting towards Southeast Asia, Singapore is making strides in solidifying its position as a pivotal force in the global logistics and supply chain arena, through the expansion of Tuas Port, and Changi Airport’s T5.

Standing at the forefront of supply chain excellence is just the beginning of a bigger journey. We are now faced with a question: How can we further enhance our supply chain resilience to navigate the uncharted disruptions ahead?

One way would be through the ability to use real-time data for collaborative and informed decision-making.

Navigating the deluge of data 

A 2021 Deloitte survey highlighted that procurement organisations cited quality of data and poor integration across applications as the top challenges for technological adoption. In particular, data quality has been a consistent pain point since 2013. It was cited 2.5 times more frequently than the average of all other barriers.

This underscores a significant, long-term business challenge: Data sources are growing in abundance and value, yet leaders are swamped with a deluge of data. The lack of relevant and effective data connectivity hampers the extraction of insights for business value, and the challenge is intensified as data management becomes increasingly complex due to data sprawl.

As organisations continue to navigate this dynamic landscape, leaders need to look towards a solution that enables enhanced visibility across their organisation.

A logical approach

Enter logical data warehousing — an architectural approach to data integration and accessibility. A logical data warehouse does not refer to a different type of data warehouse, rather it describes a particular method of handling and retrieving data within an organisation’s existing data landscape. Through data virtualisation, a logical data warehouse can help organise and access an organisation’s data, no matter where it comes from or how it’s stored, making it much easier to use and understand. 

Data virtualisation plays a critical role in enhancing an organisation’s supply chain operations. It provides comprehensive insights through real-time visibility across all their internal and external data sources.

There are multiple use cases where integrated real-time data comes into play. This includes tracking inventory levels and shipments in real-time, which significantly improves visibility into the company’s operations, processes, and performance.

Analysing historical supply chain data to identify patterns related to demand fluctuations and supplier performance empowers effective adaptation to evolving market conditions.

Integrated real-time data ensures that customers are provided with accurate information regarding product availability, delivery times, and tracking, leading to improved customer experiences. Businesses have visibility into costs associated with production, storage, and transportation.

Identifying risks such as delays, quality issues, excessive inventory, transportation inefficiencies, or external factors such as weather disruptions is instrumental in swiftly deploying mitigation strategies and protecting profit margins. 

Additionally, real-time data can help track the environmental impact of various supply chain elements, supporting organisations in their efforts to implement sustainable practices.

Elevating supply chain capabilities

In the bigger picture, much like how the kitchen serves as the heart of a restaurant, a logical data warehouse stands at the core of a well-functioning supply chain. The journey to sustaining an exceptional supply chain involves the collective effort of all involved. To this end, recognising the pivotal role of access to reliable, well-governed, and current data cannot be overstated; it’s instrumental in facilitating timely decision-making and ensuring the seamless operation of the entire supply chain.

While a logical data warehouse plays a pivotal role in the supply chain landscape, so do the professionals who run it. The foundation of an effective supply chain hinges on the synergy between well-managed data and highly skilled professionals.

Equipping proficient professionals to handle these systems is a priority, and Singapore has taken a proactive approach to enhance the pool of supply chain management specialists. The new training programmes and reference guides for training providers enable Singaporeans to keep up amidst the industry’s rigorous demands, giving them access to upskilling resources that align people’s growth with the ever-evolving technologies.