Lies, damned lies and statistics…the power of numbers

I have been meaning to write something about the power of numbers, as it relates to what we witnessed during the US Presidential election, of course sometimes life gets in the way of blogging. However after a great conversation today with Retail Insights, I decided why not, let me post something about numbers.

What is interesting about President Obama’s re-election, is the usage of data and numbers his campaign leaned on to get some micro targeting and laser focused for his campaign teams. They demonstrated the power of data and numbers, but more importantly the importance of the proper analytical manipulation. Of course there is also Nate Silver, who predicted every state correctly…again looking at mountains of data.  Finally much of this is also found in the famous book – Money Ball (yes there is also a movie about the topic). What does all mean? For me it is the convergence of greater and richer data…aka big data. With more powerful tools to understand the data. I have spoken about this in the past, the concept of visibility to me is not about “seeing more” but understanding what I am seeing better and faster. What we have witnessed recently is more examples of this.

Increasingly this relates to supply chains. As we look to optimize and better manage our supply chains, we are looking to access greater amounts of data, faster and extract the necessary learning better than our competitor. There is no supply chain where this is as vital as with retailers and CPG manufacturers. With the amount of data collected at store POS systems,via mobile and online, there is a constant flow of rich and at times overwhelming data. Those companies that can understand what this means, faster than their competitor, will be the one on top. But just like Nate Silver and Billy Beane, you must be smarter about the numbers – everyone has numbers. Everyone has statistics.

Of course, it is not all about the numbers and statistics. If Long Term Management Capital showed us anything, is that the best model the best data in the world cannot always predict the next blip on the radar. The same can be said of supply chains. Use your numbers, use your data, but also lean on your people for decisions.

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1 Comment

Filed under Supply Chain

One response to “Lies, damned lies and statistics…the power of numbers

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