How intelligent data will be the foundation of supply chains in 2022

If the last twelve months are anything to go by, it is imperative for companies to show agility and adaptability to face the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Written by Jason Pearce, Chief Technology Officer, APJMEA, IFS. First published at, January 26th 2021.

While these buzzwords are thrown around all too often, what has become evident is that data-driven insights that allow companies to obtain true visibility over their operations are the bedrock to make informed decisions when these obstacles arise.

As companies emerge from a prolonged period of uncertainty, how they perform over the next twelve months will be centred on finding operational efficiencies and their commitment to sustainability initiatives – tied to the following key trends:

Forward-thinking mining and manufacturing companies will embrace the power of intelligent data

While Australia’s mining and manufacturing companies may initially feel impeded by sustainability regulations and investor pressure, there are ways for them to both increase their efficiency as well as their compliance through investment in intelligent data.

Adoption of data-based technology and data-driven insights will allow these companies to monitor entire asset lines in real-time, providing the basis for long term organisational objectives that will increase their capabilities to deliver on sustainability targets, while boosting revenue and profitability.

While some companies may feel that their current ERP, EAM and scheduling optimisation systems allow them to make informed analytics-based decisions, what is clear is that system fragmentation is the single largest impediment to transformation and innovation for asset-intensive industries such as mining and manufacturing. Companies must understand the need for a centralised data infrastructure that allows them to have complete, aligned oversight across their processes in order to truly embrace the power of intelligent data.

Some improvement, but more pain to come for global supply chains

There has been signs of slow recovery in global supply chains in late 2021. Global freight expert DHL’s recent Export Barometer Report indicated that nearly two-thirds of local traders are expecting exports to rebound in the new year, and 59 per cent are predicting export revenue will return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022.

However, global supply chains will still be very fragmented for the foreseeable future. With recent news of AdBlue and Urea shortages affecting diesel fuel and food production prices respectively, it is clear that companies will need foresight to pre-emptively manage this.

Companies must adopt greater oversight on product lifecycle management, at every point of the supply chain, which has never been more disrupted. Insights drawn from intelligent data can allow companies to reap the benefits in the long run.

IDC predicts that manufacturers that are facing increased disruption will digitally transform and accelerate sustainable innovation to improve supply chain operations from concept to commerce, increasing revenue by 20 per cent in 2025.

Companies with centralized data will see the benefits in 2022’s road to recovery

Companies must recognize the importance of centralizing data for better visibility across their operations to stay competitive in a recovering marketplace.

While many companies believe they have the right foundation, too many incorporate complex and disparate systems that are inefficient in gaining real-time oversight of processes. Given the complexities of solutions available to companies today, processes must be streamlined and data centralized to optimize production, and reduce manual intervention.

Creating digital infrastructure that optimizes efficiencies – such as AI/ML applications, ERP, S&OP, EAM and MES – can achieve greater transparency, while driving new efficiencies that extend product and asset lifecycles, reduce waste and provide feedback mechanisms to support the circular economy, that can only benefit in the long run on the road to recovery.

After a tumultuous few years, 2022 will hopefully the turning point in the road to recovery. For companies to succeed, optimizing performance – through greater visibility over their processes, and harnessing the power of insights driven by intelligent data – will be crucial both today and tomorrow.

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