The importance of data
Professional cyclists nowadays are nothing without data. Riders are surrounded by complete teams including technicians, soigneurs, cooks, dietitians, doctors and other professionals. Based on measurements and data analysis, they know exactly what is good for each rider and what is not. And that is definitely not the same for each cyclist, so it is specified for each individual. During a training all data is gathered such as heart rates, wattages, cadence and so forth. This is used to determine the optimal training program for each cyclist, but also to know the strengths and weaknesses of each cyclist, for example, a rider’s turning point and how long each rider stay on his or her limit. Data is also used to define the optimal diet per cyclist, this is even specified per stage in the Tour de France!
Talking about inventory management, data can support in several ways. First of all, data can be used to make strategical decisions, such as defining your warehouse locations based on the strategy, on customer areas, and on costs of transportation. This is really the foundation of the logistics blueprint.
Second, data can be used as basis for tactical decisions. An example is how the incremental margin analysis supports assortment decisions. If a product doesn’t make any money, what is the reason to keep it in your assortment? If there are no strategic reasons to keep it, then why not phasing it out? Another example is how data could support in deciding what to supply from stock and what to supply based upon customer orders only. The more data available, the more insights and the better decision making could take place.
Last but not least, data can be used for operational input such as the calculation of the optimal forecast. Here we look at historical data that can be used to determine a forecast, but it also requires information from the market that could be used as internal or external input for the forecast, such as promotions or future events, competitor prices and the weather forecast. All this information together should be combined to obtain the best results.