Though many distributors won’t directly benefit from Big Data, they can learn lessons from these large collections of data sets and apply them to their business.
A post on the Enterra Insights blog discusses how Big Data is being used today to make predictions in areas ranging from consumer buying habits to natural disasters.
Netflix mined its data, for example, to determine what its first major production would be. The video streaming service chose “House of Cards” because its star, its director and the British version of the show were already very popular among its customers. Likewise, Target used algorithms to analyze consumer habits and predict with high accuracy which customers were pregnant. With this data, Target is able to target its direct mail marketing materials featuring baby products to these customers.
So, there’s clearly potential for big rewards in Big Data. But it’s not particularly relevant for small to medium-sized distributors because they’re not managing huge amounts of data. However, some of the same concepts apply, especially when it comes to managing the business with historical information that ERP distribution software tracks. The NetSuite solution, for example, is able to track purchase history for specific items.
For instance, by tracking similar items that other customers have purchased, the ERP distribution software can recommend additional products, just as e-commerce sites like Amazon do. Such functionalities are vital to increasing sales and boosting customer service.
While smaller companies don’t track millions of records of information, they do need to manage related information about their customers and products.
Other Big Data applications highlighted in the Enterra Insights post include General Electric’s use of the “industrial Internet” to optimize its equipment for maximum efficiency. Its gas turbines produce one quarter of the electricity used worldwide. If 1 percent of fuel can be saved through more efficient production, that’s a total of $4.5 billion in savings. “The collection and analysis of real-time data is one way that GE can help find that 1 percent improvement,” the post says.
Source: Enterra Insights, June 2013