Accenture Academy Blog
Ben Randall recently received a promotion to a supply chain analyst role at Salesorama, one of the world’s largest food retailers. However, he quickly discovers that he is inundated with data and does not know exactly how to convert all the data into useful knowledge.

In today’s business environment, Ben is not alone. Overnight, data seems to have gone from “scarce to superabundant” (Economist 2010) and has even been referred to as the new oil because “it’s valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used” (Forbes 2012).

Companies are working quickly to develop capabilities to manage this emerging resource. In fact, Rollin Ford, CIO of Walmart, recently said, “Every day I wake up and ask, ‘how can I flow data better, manage data better, analyze data better?’” (Economist 2010).

It is clear that today’s supply chains are becoming increasingly data driven and reliant on software systems to forecast demand and set inventory levels. While the surge in data availability is apparent, managers seem to still struggle with effectively utilizing the wealth of data to improve supply chain decision making. To interpret the data and systems outputs effectively and diagnose problems throughout the supply chain, managers may need to begin by going back to the basics. To effectively interpret data and forecasting and inventory management systems outputs, managers must master the fundamental concepts of statistics and probability.

Are you like Ben Randall—inundated with data, yet unsure of how to convert the data into useful information? In the Accenture Academy course Examining Statistics and Probability in Supply Chain (SC) Forecasting, you will explore how descriptive statistics, probability distributions, and particularly the normal distribution can help you interpret data and systems output. Through your improved interpretations, you can make more informed supply chain decisions. By mastering the basic statistics and probability concepts, you will be better able to utilize the wealth of data your company collects to make improved decisions that will enhance your company’s supply chain performance.

Reference List
“Data, Data Everywhere.” The Economist. February 25, 2010.

Rotella, Perry. “Is Data the New Oil?” Forbes, April 2, 2012.

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