Use Case

February 28, 2024

Supply Chain Analytics Use Case

Supply chain analytics allows enterprises to leverage logistics and other data to optimize key processes, predict demand, and make better decisions.

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No surprise, right? Managing supply chains is getting trickier. It's a challenge for businesses but also has great potential.

A recent study found that only about 22% of companies are really getting strategic about their supply chain networks. That's a bit of a wake-up call, isn't it?

Talking about data, the Logistic Sector is a data goldmine. Tons of it flows in daily, and guess whose job it is to track and report it to stakeholders like the supply chain manager? 

Yup, us data analysts!

Reporting isn't just about numbers and Charts; it's understanding what the supply chain manager wants.

Thankfully! In this use case, we'll help you figure out What are needs, wants, goals and objectives so we can give them the insights they crave.

Let's start by understanding the data.

About Dataset

Let’s Inspect our Superstore dataset. This dataset got all the deeds on sales – order IDs, order and shipping dates, shipping mode, customer names and where they're at, plus product info like category and name. And of course, we've got the numbers – sales amount, quantity, discounts, and profit. 

This data enables analysis of sales performance, profitability, and customer behavior to improve supply chain management decisions. Here are some sample Rows & Columns of the Superstore Dataset.

Order Details
Row ID Order ID Order Date Ship Date Ship Mode Customer ID Customer Name Segment Country/Reg City State/Province
1 US-2019-103800 1/3/2019 1/7/2019 Standard Class DP-13000 Darren Powers Consumer United States Houston Texas
2 US-2019-112326 1/4/2019 1/8/2019 Standard Class PO-19195 Phillina Ober Home Office United States Naperville Illinois
3 US-2019-112326 1/4/2019 1/8/2019 Standard Class PO-19195 Phillina Ober Home Office United States Naperville Illinois
4 US-2019-112326 1/4/2019 1/8/2019 Standard Class PO-19195 Phillina Ober Home Office United States Naperville Illinois
5 US-2019-141817 1/5/2019 1/12/2019 Standard Class MB-18085 Mick Brown Consumer United States Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Product Details
Postal Code Region Product ID Category Sub-Category Product Name
77095 Central OFF-PA-10000174 Office Supplies Paper Message Book, Wirebound, Four 5 1/2" X 4" Forms/Pg., 200 Dupl. Sets/Book
60540 Central OFF-BI-10004094 Office Supplies Binders GBC Standard Plastic Binding Systems Combs
60540 Central OFF-LA-10003223 Office Supplies Labels Avery 508
60540 Central OFF-ST-10002743 Office Supplies Storage SAFCO Boltless Steel Shelving
19143 East OFF-AR-10000348 Office Supplies Art Avery Hi-Liter EverBold Pen Style Fluorescent Highlighters, 4/Pack

Sales Data
Customer ID Customer Name Product ID Product Name Sales Quantity Discount Profit
DP-13000 Darren Powers OFF-PA-10000174 Message Book, Wirebound, Four 5 1/2" X 4" Forms/Pg., 200 Dupl. Sets/Book 16.448 2 0.2 5.5512
PO-19195 Phillina Ober OFF-BI-10004094 GBC Standard Plastic Binding Systems Combs 3.54 2 0.8 -5.487
PO-19195 Phillina Ober OFF-LA-10003223 Avery 508 11.784 3 0.2 4.2717
PO-19195 Phillina Ober OFF-ST-10002743 SAFCO Boltless Steel Shelving 272.736 3 0.2 -64.7748
MB-18085 Mick Brown OFF-AR-10003478 Avery Hi-Liter EverBold Pen Style Fluorescent Highlighters, 4/Pack 19.536 3 0.2 4.884

Each row in the dataset corresponds to an order made by a customer. We have the following features:

Order Shipment : 

Transaction Information
Field Type Description
Order ID String Unique identifier for each order.
Order Date Date Date when the order was placed.
Ship Date Date Date when the order was shipped.
Ship Mode String Mode of shipment chosen for the order.
Segment String Market segment the customer belongs to.
Region String Region where the order was placed.
City String City where the order was placed.
State/Province String State or province where the order was placed.
Postal Code Integer Postal code of the location where the order was placed.

Product : 

Transaction Information
Field Type Description
Product ID String Unique identifier for each product.
Category String Category of the product.
Sub-Category String Subcategory of the product.
Product Name String Name of the product.
Sales Integer Total sales amount for the order.
Quantity Integer Quantity of the product ordered.
Discount Integer Discount applied to the order.
Profit Integer Profit generated from the order.

Other Feature : 

Transaction Information
Field Type Description
Row ID String Identifier for each row in the dataset.
Customer ID String Unique identifier for each customer.
Customer Name String Name of the customer placing the order.

The SuperStore Dataset contains over 10194 orders and 13 of our Columns have String Data type, 4 of our Columns have Integers Data Type and 2 of the columns have Date Data Type.

How to Analyze Supply Chain Optimization and Performance Analysis?

To start with the analysis of chain optimization and its performance, it is necessary to follow the 4 factors of Data Analysis and that are : 

  • 1. Identify the users or stakeholders for the dashboard.
  • 2. Design Empathy Map to define Users' Goals and Challenges or pain points.
  • 3. Identify Metrics or KPIs Matter the Most.
  • 4. Understand the Objectives and Goals.
  • 5. Ask Business Questions

I know it looks a bit overwhelming that’s why in this article, we'll lay the foundation for a top-notch supply chain optimization analysis. 

Step 1: Identify the users or stakeholders for the analysis.

Define the User or stakeholder  who will use the supply chain data story. In our case, We’ll use a Supply Chain Manager. Recognizing their diverse needs, challenges, and priorities becomes the cornerstone for tailoring an effective data story. 

User Persona : Supply Chain Manager

  • Optimizing supply chain processes to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
  • Managing inventory levels to meet customer demand while minimizing holding costs.
  • Ensuring timely delivery of products to customers.
  • Collaborating with suppliers and logistics partners to streamline operations.
  • Access to comprehensive supply chain data for analysis and decision-making.
  • Tools for inventory management and demand forecasting.
  • Regular updates on inventory levels, order fulfillment, and delivery performance.
  • Balancing inventory levels to avoid stockouts while minimizing holding costs.
  • Addressing disruptions in the supply chain, such as delays or shortages.
  • Ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and quality standards.

Since, we have defined the User Persona & have mapped the needs, challenges and responsibilities. Our Next step will be to design an Empathy Map which will map the pain points of the user.

Step 2: Design Empathy Map

To truly connect with the experiences and expectations of Supply Chain Manager, the creation of an empathy map is invaluable. This visual tool allows for a deeper understanding of the emotions, aspirations, and pain points of users. 

By empathizing with their perspectives, we can design a data story that not only meets functional requirements but also resonates with the human elements of their roles.

Step 3: Identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)

The heartbeat of any analysis lies in KPI’s and their Metrics. It's crucial to identify the KPIs that matter most to achieving the defined objectives and by focusing on the most relevant metrics, organizations can gain actionable insights into their supply chain operations. 

KPI Name Definition
Profit Margin by Ship Mode Percentage of profit generated compared to sales for each mode of shipment.
Year-over-Year Growth in Same-Day Shipments Percentage change in sales and profit for same-day shipments compared to the previous year.
Lost Sales Opportunities in Underperforming Regions Estimated revenue lost due to underperformance in same-day shipments in 2023.
Category Contribution to Regional Performance Percentage of total profit contributed by each product category in the South region in 2023.
Profitability of Technology Subcategory in Same-Day Shipments Average profit margin and sales growth rate for the Technology subcategory in the South region for same-day shipments in 2023.

Step 4: Understand the Goals & Objectives of User

Now, on the basis of Empathy Map and KPI’s, we need to define our goals and objectives of the Users. So, that it will align with the data story functionalities to ensure decision making. Here are the Key Objectives & Goals : 

Objective : To enhance supply chain efficiency and profitability by analyzing sales, profit, and shipment data to optimize shipping methods, improve same-day delivery performance, maximize regional impact, and optimize technology subcategory performance.

Goals : To Improve supply chain efficiency and reduce costs, enhance customer satisfaction through timely delivery and product availability, strengthen relationships with suppliers and logistics partners and mitigate risks and uncertainties in the supply chain.

Based on the defined goals & objectives, your next step will be to provide actionable insights to make a mark on Business Decisions.

Actionable Insight: Refrain from shipping machines via same-day delivery mode due to their profitability constraints. Allocate machines to more cost-effective shipping methods to mitigate losses and improve overall profitability within the same-day.

Step 5 : Ask Business Questions

Beyond KPI’s, organizations must engage in business-driven inquiry. This involves asking strategic questions that directly align with overarching business objectives. 

Q1) What Are the Sales And Profit By Ship Mode?

Metrics: Total sales amount, total profit generated

Key Analysis: Calculate total sales and profit for each mode of shipment (e.g., standard, express, same-day) to determine the most profitable and efficient shipping methods.

Q2) How Are Sales And Profit Performing Yearly On Same-Day Ship Mode?

Metrics: Yearly sales, yearly profit

Key Analysis: Evaluate the yearly performance of sales and profit specifically for same-day shipments to identify trends and potential areas for improvement in same-day delivery services.

Q3) Which Region Is Not Performing On Same-Day Mode In 2023?

Metrics: Same-day shipment performance by region

Key Analysis: Identify the region that is underperforming in terms of same-day shipments in 2023 based on metrics such as sales, profit, and delivery efficiency.

Q4) What Is Category Wise Impact In South Region In Year 2023?

Metrics: Sales and profit by product category

Key Analysis: Analyze the impact of different product categories on sales and profit in the South region during 2023 to understand which categories contribute the most to performance in the region.

Q5) Technology Subcategory Profit And Sales In South Region Same Day 2023?

Metrics: Sales, profit (by category and subcategory by Region)

Key Analysis: Dive deeper into the performance of the Technology subcategory specifically for same-day shipments in the South region in 2023 to understand the factors influencing its profitability and sales within the same-day delivery segment.

Explore Supply Chain Analytics Data Story Here👇

Slideshow Demo
Supply Chain Analysis Project

By framing this data story in alignment with business goals, organizations can get deeper insights that drive impactful decisions.


By combining a user-centric approach with data-driven insights and strategic inquiries, organizations can navigate the complexities of their supply chains with confidence and agility. The end goal is not just efficiency but the creation of a supply chain that adapts, evolves, and serves as a strategic asset in a competitive marketplace.

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